Friday, 19 September 2008 12:27
Are you interested in spreading your message to current and prospective customers? If you don't have an email list, it's time to evaluate implementing one. If you do have an email list but don't use Constant Contact, it's time to evaluate Constant Contact.
Constant Contact provides hundreds of easy to use and customize email templates and tools for managing your email lists.
Do you use Outlook or another email client to send out email blasts? If so, you should know that if enough people mark your email as spam, your entire domain could end up on a blacklist. This means that all mail coming from @yourwebsite.com could be routed directly to your customers' junk folder.
Constant Contact has recently launched some features that make the services offered even better.
You can now add new contacts to your email list without opening your web browser and logging in to the Constant Contact website. Download the Desktop Widget and all you have to do is select your list from a drop down menu, enter the email address you would like to add and click add.
The widget uses the Yahoo Widget framework so you will need to download Yahoo Widgets. Unfortunately, Yahoo has decided to bundle countless useless widgets with the framework. After you install you can remove these. To delete a widget, move your cursor over the widget in the sidebar, right-click (or option-click) and click delete.
Once you have installed the Yahoo Widget framework, you can download the Constant Contact Widget. Make sure Yahoo Widgets is running and then double-click the file you just downloaded. Select 'Use Widget' from the dialog box. This should install the widget on the Yahoo Widgets toolbar.
Click the Constant Contact icon on the Yahoo Widgets toolbar, this will open the widget. Right-click on the widget and click 'Widget Preferences...'. Enter your Constant Contact username and password. The drop down box containing list names should now be populated with your lists. Click the list you would like to add an email address to, enter the email address and click 'Add'. It takes a couple of seconds so be patient.
Oh yeah, if you want to see the same instructions I just gave you in a convoluted video, check this out.
Constant Contact now has the ability to store and share past email newsletters on the web. This allows people to view previous issues of your newsletter before subscribing or see issues they may have missed after subscribing.
To use this feature, login to your Constant Contact account. Click the 'Emails' tab. You will see a link for 'Archive', click it. You can edit the archive homepage by clicking the corresponding link. The editing process works much like the process for using an email template.
On the archive screen you will now see a link that says 'Archive your sent emails'. Click it. Click the box next to the emails you would like to make available on your archive page and click 'Archive Selected Emails'. Anytime you add new emails to be archived, make sure you add links to these through the archive homepage. When you are in the archive homepage editor scroll down until you see the link block. Click 'edit'. Here you can add or remove links to emails you have designated as archived.
Once you click the button to publish your archive homepage, Constant Contact will display a URL for this page. You can now place links to this page within your website.
While this is a very convenient easy to use feature, one thing to keep in mind is that since these pages are actually hosted on the Constant Contact website, and not your own site,you will not receive any credit towards search engine optimization from these pages. Maybe Constant Contact is working on an API that will allow us to incorporate these pages on our site with some server-side scripting. Here's to hoping!
You can now setup timed autoreponders for new subscribers. When a client signs up for your newsletter, you can immediately send them a thank you letter. In one week you can send them a 'New Customer Special Offer'! In two weeks you can send an automated follow-up. This is really the best improvement out of the bunch.
To use this feature you will have to log into your Constant Contact account. Click the emails tab and click the link for autoresponder. The process for creating an autoresponder is very similar to creating an email. If you need assistance with this, get at me!