Whoa. Apologies for the lapse in content here. Life has been crazy (in good ways!) and I’ve neglected something that I tell all of my clients to keep consistant: your blog! That being said, this is the first post in the “Freemium Fridays” series highlighting apps and services that use this model:
Freemium (via Wikipedia):
A business model by which a product or service (typically a digital offering such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but a premium is charged for advanced features, functionality, or virtual goods.
The “Freemium” business model has grown exponetially over the past two years and is extremely useful for both the business and the consumer. Every Friday I’ll be highlighting a tool/application that’s using this model and is free for small businesses to test out on a base level. The goals with these tools are to increase your web presence, customer loyalty, and of course the return on your investment (which in this case is your time).
The first service using the “freemium” business model to highlight is one of my favorites, MailChimp. MailChimp is a great email marketing service that allows you to send up to 12,000 emails a month to your customers FOR FREE! Crazy, considering a comparable plan with their competitor Constant Contact is over $50 per month.
MailChimp’s attitude and funny quips makes their service not only cost-effective, but actually fun to use. Their ready-built templates give any individual with a bit of computer savvy the opportunity to create attractive and effective email marketing campaigns. Linking up your accounts also enables deep integration with your existing social media campaigns, creating a dynamic viral effect outside of just “forwarding” emails. The ability to schedule emails make it very easy for a small
business to develop a year-round strategy, sit down for a few hours, and knock out the entire year’s email marketing campaign.
The only downside is their threshold for spam is very low. It’s a positive because spamming your email list will stress relationships with your customers, but you’ll find out many times instead of unsubscribing people will click “spam”, regardless if they actually signed up to receive emails. Once reaching this threshold, MailChimp requires you to prove that you’ve acquired email addresses in the proper manner and delete any you’ve pulled in the wrong way. Too many threshold limits and your account is canceled. Bummer.
What does MailChimp think about the freemium business model? Read here their update on how it’s going for them.
Now a question I receive all of the time:”How do I grow my email marketing list? Can I just pull email addresses from all of my Facebook friends?”. My short answer: NO! Your list must be grown organically or purchased from an email list company (which I don’t suggest, no bueno).
My long answer: Stealing email addresses from Facebook will reach your spam limit VERY quick. All of your marketing promotions should be integrated into one strategic year-round plan. Your storefront should have a physical signup list. Facebook and your website should host email signup forms. Give people incentive to sign up in the first place: contests, discounts, and promotions work well… but there’s one thing that’s overlooked often: GREAT CONTENT! Getting people genuinely excited to receive your emails create the best customers of all.
Once your list has grown and you start sending out e-blasts, what should your focus be? Well, that’s different for every business. In general your email campaign should encourage social media interaction, which encourages web site visits, which ALL encourage the accomplishment of your strategic goal. To get help developing and executing an internet marketing plan, fill out the form below to get in contact with me:
[forms emailsubject=’Hey Joe, Could You Help Me Out?’ submit=’Thanks for contacting me! I’ll reply shortly.’ emailto=’firstname.lastname@example.org’][form_item input=’text-input’ label=’Your Name’ required=’true’ validation=’1′] [form_item input=’text-input’ label=’Your Email’ required=’true’ validation=’2′] [form_item input=’text-area’ label=’What Can I Help You With?’ validation=’1′] [/forms]