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You’ve Got (e)Mail! (Part 2, E-Newsletter Software)

October 4, 2010

Email Newsletters  - Part 2 (choosing your software)E-NEWSLETTER SOFTWARE:

E-newsletters can be a great way to keep you audience up to date, and many casting directors and agents appreciate a monthly update in this format. Last week we looked at the basics of the do’s and don’t of e-newsletters, if you missed it, find it here.

The process of creating and managing email lists has the potential to be headache inducing, but can be handled easily and quickly via a third party company. There are many to choose from, so I’ve done some research and here are some of the most popular to get your started.

Constantcontact.com: Very quick and easy to set-up and use. You can customize your emails, or choose from a variety of professional looking templates.  Easy to add ‘Sign Up’ links and a variety of button designs to add to your Mothership, blog and social networking pages. Really attentive and professional customer support. For an extra $5 per month, you can create a page within the Constant Contact site to archive your last 100 emails and then add a link from your site so your audience can skim through previous newsletters.

Icontact.com: Another easy to use system, with cost plans catering to small or mass mail outs – Obama used it in his election campaign!  They provide complete email design customization, or over 300 easy to use templates.  Icontact are known for their spam vetting service – they’ll check your campaigns and advise you of any terms or content that might not pass your recipients spam filter.  They provide detailed tracking, allowing you to see who opened your emails as well as new subscribers and how many people forwarded your emails. Easily add and customize ‘subscribe’ widgets to your pages. (The widgets are the open fields that allow users to enter their email address, or other contact info, and hit send to be added to your subscribers list)

Mailchimp.com: This service has two immediate factors going for it: the cute chimp mascot and that they offer a very generous free service.  You can store up to 500 subscribers, send up to 3,000 emails per month and your previous emails are archived automatically – all for nix.  The other two things I like about Mailchimp are the design-creation interface and the easy ability to send notifications of your campaigns to Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.  Unlike the other sites mentioned, they don’t offer standard templates, but instead a mini WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. This means that you can easily customize your email so it’s a unique match to your brand.  They offer tracking and a great auto-responder service, that allows you to send automatic emails for birthdays, or seasonally or if you’re going to be unavailable and want to schedule a campaign to launch on a future date.

Reverbnation: Is a service specifically for musicians – although I see no reason why actors and other artists can’t use it too. They offer a huge range of great marketing tools for both performers and labels and management. Their email service is called ‘FanReach’.  There are two levels; a free, basic level for smaller mailings, and a pro account for mass campaigns.  Features include; tagging contacts into groups so you can create campaigns for specific age brackets or locations, easy integration of content like show schedules, store links, audio files, press clippings, and more. If you’re not computer savvy, they provide a simple email editor to customize colors, add photos, and add links etc. If you are a bit of an expert, then FanReach supports most HTML.

There are many other options, so if you’re using a site/system that is treating you well – leave us a comment below and share with your fellow thespians!  Leave us a link to your latest e-newsletter, get a bit of buzz and offer an example to help others, earning some Karma points in the process!

A Necessary Note Regarding Traditional Emailing:

I have to mention this as it’s a pet-peeve of mine, and this still happens all too frequently. There will be times when you will email your contact lists from your personal email account. Do not display people’s names and emails address’ in the TO field. It’s very unprofessional and it breaches people’s privacy. PLEASE take advantage of the BCC function when doing this. BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy. Address’ you add to BCC field will not be seen by other recipients on the email.  You have to add at least one address in the TO: field, so add your own email, and the email will be sent back to you as well. This is a very easy oversight that can seriously upset important contacts in your list – and it’s completely avoidable :)

Next week I want to start tackling personal websites – do you need one, and if so, what’s the best way of getting one!

Until then – keep sharing!

“With malice toward none; with charity for all.”

(Abraham Lincoln)

Image by Ferran. via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

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