For some time now I have been thinking about starting a newsletter for my own blog. I wanted to offer my own readers and visitors the same type of opportunities MakeUseOf does. You may ask yourself, why would someone running a blog want to run a newsletter also? There are many reasons to run a newsletter.
One of the major reasons is to keep in better contact with your readers. You can offer extra benefits to your readers such as highlighting popular articles and even offer content not regularly shared on the blog.
You can also use a newsletter to consolidate all of your most recent posts into one email update. This way your readers will not only get the extras, but they can also get post updates less often so their email box is not inundated by emails every time you update your blog.
Two issues come up with many bloggers. One, many blogs are not big enough to need a paid newsletter service. Two, many bloggers lack the time and the design know-how to spend on designing and sending a newsletter on a regular basis. I believe I have found the solution to both issues in an email marketing tool called Mad Mimi.
Mad Mimi proposes to be the easy answer for the email marketer. Let me show you how easy it is to manage what they call “promotions” (basically the newsletter you send out) and your “audience” (your email lists).
Sign Up With Mad Mimi
Signing up is easy. Hit the yellow sign up button at the far right of the top row of links. You’ll notice right off the bat that there are some paid plans. Scroll to the bottom of the list and sign up for the free plan (up to 100 subscribers).
If you want to upgrade later, you can. Next just fill in the fields on the sign up page.
Once you are done here, the next job is to begin to compose your first promotion or newsletter.
Don’t worry, Mad Mimi makes the design process really simple. Besides, I’m getting ready to walk you through the design of my own first newsletter just to prove how simple it really is.
Design A Promotion (Newsletter)
Check out the promotion design page. Mad Mimi makes it as simple as clicking, dragging and typing.
All you really need to do is upload some pictures via the right sidebar, chose the layout of each section, type your text, and drag an uploaded picture from the right sidebar to the boxes provided in the layout (also notice the Themes tab next to the Images tab which allows you to choose different preset schemes for the promotion).
Super simple, huh? If you still want to move something around, you can just drag and drop it. The banner should be close to the suggested 590 pixels but mine wasn’t exact and Mad Mimi will adjust it for you. Make sure it’s close for best results though.
When done here, name it and click the Continue button.
Set Up Your Audience (Mailing List)
The next job is to add email addresses to send the newsletter to. I tested it by entering some of my own email addresses to see how it would come out.
Hitting continue should email the newsletter to the addresses you entered (put a comma after each address).
Create A Signup Form
Now is the easy task of setting up the form to put on your website allowing visitors to sign up for your email list. Click the Webform tab to begin the process. This job is as easy as naming it and choosing whether or not to ask visitors for their names along with their email addresses. Then just grab the code.
This is how the sign up form looks:
And this is what a direct link to my promotion looks like: http://mim.io/81bf3.
You can also add links to your social media profiles which will not only add the links to your newsletter, but it will also make it easy to share a link to each promotion on those profiles. Clicking the Plus sign near the upper right will allow you to add more paid features should you choose to upgrade.
As a comparison with other email marketing tools, you may be familiar with another newsletter service called MailChimp which is free for up to 500 subscribers. Mad Mimi is only free for up to 100 subscribers but its ease of use makes it a good choice for smaller sites. Check out Mad Mimi and see if it’s the option to suit your needs.
What newsletter/promotion service or email marketing tools do you use and why? Please share your favourites in the comments.