How many times have you heard the sentence “Money is in the list?” If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard that sentence over and over again. The thing is, whethere or not you are making money from your blog, having an email list is important. It’s another way to connect with your readers and get a bit more personal.
Let’s forget for a moment all the reasons why you need an email list, and what can you do with it. Let’s focus on one thing today. And that’s how to actually get started with an email list.
MadMimi Review: Really Simple and Beautiful Emails
When I first joined IBA (by the way, have you joined International Bloggers Association yet?) I wrote a post for them about creating your email list with MailChimp. At the time, I was using MailChimp and I was satisfied with it. However, at the time I was still just gathering emails and not actually sending out emails (aside from the automatic updates also known as RSS feeds).
As a blogger I also signed up for a few email newsletters from other bloggers as well. And I noticed something. Whenever I would get a newsletter from someone using MadMimi I enjoyed it more than when I received a newsletter from MailChimp. This may sound shallow but when it comes to these things, I am a visual person. Maybe it’s my professional flaw but I respond better to things that look pleasant to the eye.
I’d be lying if I said that was the only reason. I’ve noticed a few other things too. One of my blogging friends (actually a rising blogging star) Brittany Bullen had a sign up form in her sidebar that allowed her to be more targeted with her newsletter. In her sidebar, she gives you the option to sign up for the whole deal, or just the categories that interest you.
To be honest, I thought that was brilliant. When I started to investigate the possibility of having the same thing, I came across a roadblock. While MailChimp allows you to have different segments, I haven’t found an easy way to integrate those into the sign up form. I remember Brittany mentioned that she uses Wufoo form builder to set up her form like that. While I am familiar with Wufoo forms, it seemed like too many steps to achieve something simple. Quite frankly it gave me a headache.
So the inner voice kept nagging me to give MadMimi a go. And so I did. I signed up for it, and after some playing around with it, I haven’t looked back. (Except for today when I went to their site to get some info for this post!)
Creating an email list in MadMimi is super simple. Building a form is simple as well. It’s a drag and drop interface and a no-brainer. The kicker? I can create different lists (in this case I wanted a list for people who want the newsletter, and lists based on categories: family, producitivity, blogging tips, recipes). I created those lists and MadMimi allows me to add those to my newsletter sign up form without needing to integrate an external service like Wufoo. All I had to do was import the category feeds and I was good to go.
When you look at the feature comparison between MadMimi and Mailchimp there is a subtle difference between the two. Both offer free and paid accounts. When you are still a small scale blogger that free plan can be a life saver.
Let’s compare the free accounts:
- 2500 contacts
- 12500 emails
- Facebook and WordPress integration
- 2000 contacts
- 12000 emails
- Facebook and WordPress integration
So in the free account, MadMimi gives you slightly more than MailChimp. Once your list grows MadMimi wins out in terms of pricing: Once you reach 10000 subscribers MadMimi costs $42/month while Mailchimp will set you back by $75/month.
50000 subscribers with MadMimi costs $199/month while Mailchimp will set you back by $240/month.
One thing that is a minor annoyance with MadMimi, you can’t send a final Welcome email, like you can with MailChimp, and at a first glance you can’t offer direct downloads to freebies with MadMimi like you can with MailChimp.
However, there is an easy workaround: When you design your form in MadMimi and go to Advanced tab, you can set up your Activation page to point to a page on your blog where users will get redirected to after they have confirmed they do indeed want to be on your email list. And you can use that page to give them access to that freebie you promised them. Besides, if you play it smart, you can also use it to tell them what they can expect from your email and use it to direct them to other interesting parts of your blog.
Watch the video for a quick overview how to get started with MadMimi:
Video not working? Watch it here