Category Archives: Internet Marketing

How to Choose an Email Marketing Service

email list
There are numerous email marketing providers out there which can help you create emails, send them out and measure your results. Some of the most popular include AWeber, MailChimp and GetResponse. However, to ensure the success of your email marketing efforts, you need to choose a provider that is a good fit for your business.
Here are some of the things you need to consider when choosing an email service provider:
1. Features
You need to find an email service provider which comes with comprehensive features for your marketing campaigns. Some of the features you need to look out for include mobile optimization, social media integration, A/B testing, autoresponders, drag and drop editors, inbox preview and email analytics. In addition, you need to look for a service that will grow with your business. As your mailing list and business expand, there should be an option for upgrading your plans.
2. Pricing
Though features are important, it is also important to consider the fees involved. Be sure to choose a plan which fits into your budget. Most providers will charge you a monthly fee based on the number of subscribers on your mailing list. However, if you are only sending a few emails to a small list, you can make use of free plans from providers such as MailChimp. If you don’t want to make a monthly payment, look for a provider that offers a pay-as-you-go option. This means that you will only be required to pay for what you use.
3. Image hosting
Placing relevant and quality images in your content can be a very effective strategy for capturing the attention of your subscribers. Therefore, you need to look for a service provider that allows image hosting. While some allow unlimited image hosting, others have a limit. The charges vary based on the number of MBs required. Be sure to choose a provider that offers an affordable hosting plan.
4. Ease of use
Be sure to choose an email service provider that has a user-friendly interface. For instance, most providers offer ready-made templates which allow you to create your emails easily without any need for coding. This will make your work much easier and allow you to spend more time on crafting your marketing messages. The good news is that most email service providers offer a free trial period within which you can test the usability of the interface.
5. Support
At one time or another, you will need some assistance from your email service provider. Therefore, be sure to choose a provider that offers excellent customer service 24/7. Preferably, support should be available via email, live chat and telephone. One of the best ways to ascertain the reliability of their support is by reading reviews from previous users. This will give you an idea of what you are getting into. It would also be advisable to go for a service provider that offers informative videos and tutorials.

GetResponse vs Mailchimp: Which is Better?

Mailchimp vs Getresponse

MailChimp and GetResponse are the two of the most popular email service providers (ESPs) in the market. Though they are similar in many ways, each has its own unique features. Here is a comparison of these two ESPs:

Interface

MailChimp and GetResponse come with very different user interfaces. MailChimp uses a ‘big and bold’ approach which involves presenting data, stats and menus in big fonts. It also comes with a ‘wizard’ which can help you modify the appearance of your interface. However, GetResponse comes with a more conventional interface which makes use of drop-down menus. Since things are moderately sized, you don’t have to scroll much in order to see particular data or features.

Pricing

Getresponse pricing

GetResponse bases it pricing on the list size. The plans range from $15 per month for 1,000 subscribers to $450 per month for 100,000 subscribers. However, customers who choose to take an annual plan receive an 18% discount.

mailchimp pricingOn the other hand, MailChimp has three plans; Entrepreneur, Growing business and High volume sender. If you have 2,000 subscribers or less, the first two plans allow you to send up to 12,000 emails monthly at no cost. However, you will be required to pay a small monthly fee to send unlimited emails. The high volume sender plan is more costly and designed for large companies that send millions of emails per month.

Support

Both email service providers offer great support via live chat, phone and email. In addition, you can watch video tutorials and find quick answers to different frequently asked questions (FAQs) on different topics. However, GetResponse goes a step further to offer support in different international languages including French, Chinese, Italian, English, German, Russian and Polish. In addition, GetResponse hosts regular webinars which participants can attend at no cost.

Email analytics

MailChimp and GetResponse come with a wide variety of tools which allow you to track stats such as unsubscribes, clickthroughs and open rates. Monitoring such stats will give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t, thus giving you an idea of how to improve your marketing campaigns. The great thing about GetResponse though is that it automatically creates segments of people who took certain actions. This makes it easy for you to send follow-up offers or reminders to the appropriate contacts.

Split testing

Split testing involves trying out different variations of your email to find out which is the best performing. With MailChimp, you can only split-test two versions of your email. However, GetResponse allows you to split-test as many as 5 versions of your email. In addition, you can compare several variables including day of week, time of day, subject line and content.

Mobile responsiveness

Nowadays, more and more people are accessing emails using their smartphones. Both MailChimp and GetResponse allow you to create emails which are optimized for mobile devices. However, the great thing about GetResponse is you can preview the mobile version in real time as you create your email. MailChimp also allows you to preview the mobile version, although after a few clicks.

Templates

Both email service providers come with a wide range of quality templates which make it easy for you to create great-looking emails. Most of the templates can be easily customized to achieve the result you desire. However, you don’t have to use the ready- made templates provided. Both MailChimp and GetResponse give you the option of creating your own template using HTML code

Landing page creation

The landing page creator is a feature that is only available in GetResponse. In 10 minutes or less, you can use the drag and drop editor to build and publish high converting squeeze pages, video pages and sales pages. You can choose from a wide range of inbuilt web forms, mobile-ready templates and optimization tools. However, to enjoy unlimited functionality, you will need to pay for the full featured add-on.

Conclusion

Though both email service providers come with amazing features, GetResponse is clearly the better option. With its unique features such as the landing page creator, split-testing functionality and user-friendly interface, it offers much more value for your money. In addition, GetResponse offers 30-day trial period within which you are allowed to test all the features, unlike MailChimp where some features cannot be tested.

Fantastic Tools for Online Polls

ReviewsPolls are very useful tools for collecting opinions about anything. For a company, this could be opinions about a new product, proposed changes to management or new HR regulations. Therefore, polls and surveys offer a great opportunity for engaging and getting feedback from customers, employees and suppliers. Here are some awesome tools that you can use to create your own polls:

Here are some amazing tools for creating online polls:

Survey Monkey

This is the world’s most popular online survey tool. You can use it to create survey questionnaires and polls to gather information about anything from employee opinions to customer satisfaction. Survey Monkey comes with a library of certified templates and sample survey questions. You can easily create a survey, distribute your questionnaires online, and then collect responses for analysis. The basic version of Survey Monkey is free, while there are three other paid versions.

Constant Contact

Just like Survey Monkey, Constant Contact comes with templates and pre-written questions which allow you to create a poll or survey quickly. You can easily customize your poll or survey using your fonts, colors or logos, and then share a link on your blog, site or social media networks. Constant Contact allows you to keep track of the responses in real time, as well as generate easy to read reports of your analysis. This tool is great for companies which would want to get immediate feedback from their customers or employees.

Question Pro

Question Pro is a tool that boasts clients such as Samsung, Toyota, Siemens and Hyatt. It comes with dozens of color themes which allow you to create great looking surveys and questionnaires. In addition, you can choose from more than 30 question types. Question Pro lets you reach your target audience via email, pop up and exit surveys, embedding on your site, or posting on different social networks. You can analyze your findings easily using features like segmentation tools, text analytics, pivot tables, trend analysis and real-time summary.

Poll Everywhere

This is a fun and user-friendly polling app which allows you to get a response in real time from your audience, whether they are using mobile devices or computers. Once you have created a poll, you can send your audience codes which they can enter on their browsers or text back. The results are displayed in real time as the responses are submitted. You can share the results on Twitter and Facebook, or embed a link on your site. In addition, you can download your results as an Excel, PDF, screenshot or CSV document. Poll Everywhere also allows you to show your results on PowerPoint slides for presentation. Poll Everywhere comes with a free account which allows you to create polls for a limited number of people, as well as paid plans which vary depending on the number of respondents being targeted.

PollSnack

PollSnack is a very flexible and easy to use survey tool. It comes with widgets which allow you to customize the appearance of your questionnaires. PollSnack supports multiple languages and allows you to save your data securely indefinitely. This tool is idea for employers who want to carry out a personality quiz of prospects or marketers that wish to conduct a customer satisfaction survey.

Conclusion

What poll and survey apps do you prefer? Please share with us in the comments section below.

Must-Have Screen Capture Tools

ecommerce nicheProviding screenshots can be a very effective way of delivering information, whether in a tutorial or presentation. There are several free tools available online that can help you capture, manipulate and share screenshots from your computer:

1. FastStone Capture

FastStone Capture is not only lightweight but also very responsive. Designed for Windows, it can capture multi-level menus, as well as multiple regions and windows. In addition, you can configure it to automatically upload screenshots to an FTP server, embed them on a PowerPoint or Word presentation, or send them by email. This app can also be configured to automatically prompt for a caption for your screenshots. FastStone Capture supports audio input and also comes with a color picker to enable color sampling.

2. Snipping Tool

Snipping Tool is the ideal screen capture tool for anyone that is comfortable with basic functionality. It allows you to capture the entire screen, user-specified areas or individual windows. This tool also comes with basic editing functionality which allows you to write and highlight on your screen captures. Though it lacks the advanced features of other tools, Snipping Tool is at least better than the ‘print screen and paste’ style of screen capture.

3. Snagit

Snagit not only allows you to capture still images from your screen, but also video frames. It comes with a customizable profile system which lets you create profiles for a wide range of capture techniques. For instance, if you want to a menu to be activated before a screen capture is generated, you can create a profile to suit that purpose. Snagit also comes with an inbuilt editor which can be useful for adding basic effects and annotating your screenshots. In addition, it has a screenshot organizer which lets you arrange your shots based on name or date.

4. Jing

Jing is a free service that allows you to capture still images, animation and videos from your computer. To capture all these, all you need to do is highlight any region or window on your screen, create a textbox and add a relevant caption. Jing allows you to record everything from narrated tutorials to basic mouse movements on your computer. However, the videos cannot exceed 5 minutes in length.  Once you have edited your videos or screenshots, you can then embed them on your site or share them via social media and email. The downside of Jing is that it does not support features such as auto-save, scrolling windows, hot keys and delayed capture.

5. Skitch

This screen capture tool from Evernote comes with a simple and user-friendly interface. Once you have captured your screenshots, Skitch allows you to annotate it, as well as draw sketches and shapes on it. You can not only share your screenshots on Skitch, but also on your own .Mac, Flickr and FTP account. Skitch can be accessed from a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Besides the tools mentioned above, you could also try others such as Websnapr, Screenshot Captor, Screenpresso, ScreenDash, ScreenhunterRumshot and KingKong Capture.

 

Guidelines for Protecting Your Online Privacy

Wordpress securityIn this day and age, people are not only accessing the internet on their laptops and desktops, but also using tablets, smartphones and other portable devices. Unfortunately, the increasing use of the internet has also resulted in more cases of cyber crime. As a result, it is very important to find ways of protecting yourself as you use the internet. Here are some great tips for safeguarding your online privacy:

1. Hide your IP address

Your IP address can be viewed as your fingerprint which you leave everywhere you go online. When visiting other websites, someone can easily track you through your IP address. Therefore, if you want to conceal your identity when browsing, you could think of using web proxies such as Tor or HideMyAss. These proxies allow you to hide your prints regardless of which site you visit. Another advantage of using such proxies is that you can easily access which have been blocked by your internet service provider.

2. Switch on private browsing

Many sites capture IP addresses of computers using technologies such as cookies, with the intention of gathering information about the online activities of visitors. This enables them to understand the behaviors of their visitors, and thus offer more personalized and optimized services. However, some dubious sites will even sell such ‘digital profiles’ to third parties for marketing research, often without the consent of the individual. Due to such privacy violations, leading web browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer have included a ‘private browsing’ option in their features. This prevents other sites from storing cookies, as well as accessing temporary internet files and browsing history in your computer or mobile device. Switching to the ‘private browsing’ mode is therefore one of the most effective ways of protecting your privacy online.

3. Stay updated on privacy policies

Many sites have privacy policies where they mention what kind of information they will collect from visitors and how it will be used. Since such policies are usually long documents with a lot of technical terms, many people tend to ignore them. This is a mistake that can prove to be detrimental in the long run. The fact that a site has a privacy policy does not guarantee your protection. In some cases, the policy is just a disclaimer that will protect the site in case the user’s privacy is violated. Therefore, it is very important to read and understand privacy policies, especially on sites where you buy products from and any other site you are thinking of joining. In addition, you should stay updated on any changes in the privacy policy.

4. Beware of open Wi-Fi hotspots

Wi-Fi hotspots have become very popular with internet users all over the world. However, the problem with such hotspots is that they don’t have any encryption. This means anyone within your zone can easily intercept the information you are transmitting online such as emails, bank accounts and passwords. The situation can be made even direr if all your online accounts use the same password. The best way of protecting yourself from hackers is to avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi connections in public spots such as libraries, hotels and cafes. If you have to use such facilities, be sure to turn off file sharing on your computer or device. Avoid visiting sites which will require you to login. If you must use emails, be sure to encrypt them with TSL (Transport Layer Security) or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).

These are just a few guidelines for protecting your online privacy. What measures do you use to safeguard yourself? Let us know in the comments section below.