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.

Awesome Tools for Creating a Facebook Timeline Cover

FAcebookThe cover photo is the most visible element of your timeline. Since it is the first thing people see, you need to ensure that it sends a strong message about you or your brand. However, once in a while, you might find yourself without a photo which is ready to use. Here are some tools that can help you create a professional Facebook timeline cover:

Cover photo finder

The cover photo finder is an ideal source for professional images which are perfectly sized to for the Facebook timeline. You will find thousands of free images on the site, from model photos to attractive sceneries. This tool is very simple to use. All you need to do is download the photo to your computer, and then upload it directly on Facebook. No cropping or resizing is required.

Aviary Editor

In case you have your own cover photo but would want to edit or resize it, Aviary Editor can come in very handy. This app allows you to customize different elements of your images including saturation, brightness and warmth. Once you have downloaded this tool, you can then upload the image you want to edit. The navigation system has slider which can be used to alter the different elements. When editing is done, you can then export the file and upload it on Facebook.

Timeline image tool

Timeline image tool is very easy to use app that allows you to create and upload icon images on your timeline. You can upload your own photos, create customized icons or pick from a wide array of pre-designed icon images. To use this tool, go to your Facebook page and choose icon photos. You can then upload your own images, modify the text and customize the background color.

Pic Scatter

This tool helps you create a custom timeline cover photo using your previously uploaded photos. The photos could be picked from photos of friends, your photo album or photos you like. Your cover photo will appear as a collection of scattered photos. Pic Scatter comes with effects such as glow, gray, pink, vintage and sepia. The only downside is that the photos come with a Pic Scatter watermark.

CoverCanvas

CoverCanvas is the ideal tool for anyone that wants to show originality and creativity on Facebook timeline profile photo. You can create your own cover, change the background, or choose from one of the many covers in the site gallery.

Free Facebook Covers

If you want high quality Facebook covers, look no further. Free Facebook Covers offers a wide range of tailor made and attractive images. Each image in the site is verified before being uploaded. The best thing about these images is that they are not used as advertising space by Free Facebook Covers.

Facecoverz

This another amazing source of a wide selection of Facebook covers. Facecoverz has thousands of images which are divided into different categories. This collection is updated on a daily basis, thus giving you even more options

Other tools you could use to create your Facebook timelien cover include Face it Pages, fcoverphotos, facebooktimelinebanner and coverjunction.

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.

Awesome Editing Tools for Freelance Writers

FreelancingEditing is a very important part of the writing process. This will ensure that your content is free from any mistakes before publishing. However, if you write a lot, editing can be a very frustrating and time-consuming task. If you can afford it, you could consider hiring the services of a professional editor. However, the good news is that you can also download great editing software online.

Here are some of the best editing tools for freelance writers and bloggers:

1. ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid helps you turn good writing into great writing by eliminating errors and enhancing readability. This tool not only shows you what should be improved, but also offers suggestions of how it can be improved. ProWritingAid will give you a comprehensive analysis on things such as writing style, sentence length, consistency, overused words, redundancies, clichés and plagiarism. It comes with a free version which allows you to generate a maximum of 19 reports for not more than 3000 words. You can then upgrade to the Premium or Premium+ plans to enjoy more features.

2. After the Deadline

This is a language checker that is useful for contextual spell checking, intelligent grammar checking and advanced style checking. After the Deadline uses natural language and artificial intelligence processing to detect writing mistakes and offer great suggestions. This makes it easier for bloggers and writers to avoid similar mistakes in future. After the Deadline tool is available as an extension, add-on or plugin for platforms such as Google Chrome, Firefox, bbPress, WordPress and OpenOffice.org Writer.

3. HemingwayApp

HemingwayApp analyses your copy based on the number of adverbs, readability, the number of times the passive voice is used, and the number of complex words. All you need to do is compose or copy and paste your content on the site. Dense and complicated sentences will be highlighted in red, while long sentences will appear in yellow. Adverbs will be shown in blue, while phrases in the passive voice will be marked green. HemingwayApp comes with a paid desktop version which can be used offline.

4. Cliché Finder

Almost every writer uses clichés in their content, sometimes even unconsciously. Some of the most common include ‘now or never, ‘the tip of the iceberg’, ‘leave no stone unturned’, ‘paints a grim picture’, ‘few and far between’ and ‘wreak havoc’. However, using too many of such clichés can make you appear incompetent as a writer and put off your readers. Cliché Finder is a cool too which can help you find and get rid of clichés in your writing. All you need to do is paste your content in the space provided and click the ‘Find Cliches’ tab. All the clichés will be highlighted in red, thus giving you the chance of deleting the phrases or rewriting them in a better way.

Conclusion

Though all the editing tools above can be useful for writers, you need to remember that the final decision is yours. You need to decide whether the corrections or suggestions offered for your content are necessary. If not, you can just ignore them. Do you know of any other free and downloadable editing tools for writers? Feel free to share with us in the comments section below.