If you’ve READ MY PREVIOUS POST – you’ll now understand why it’s so important to have a mailing list in your business. If you’ve not yet read that post, and if you don’t have a mailing list, I’d urge you to go read it now and then come back here, because you’ll need to understand why a mailing list is so important for your business, before you dive in to this post to learn about where you can start a mailing list for your small business for free.
In the early days, weeks, months of your online business journey you may well be working with a teeny tiny budget, and any savings you can make anywhere are a bonus, right? So the ability to be able to set up a mailing list for FREE is great.
There are many, many mailing list platforms out there to choose from. I recommend three to my ladies – and they’re based on my experiences of using each of them myself.
I want to start with a caution. I’d err against using a mailing list inside some of the domain buying platforms like GoDaddy or 123-reg. Those platforms are geared specifically to purchasing domain names and mailboxes, and whilst you can build websites and have mailing lists inside them, they’re not as good as the standalone mailing list providers, or the all in one, higher priced website building platforms like Kartra, click funnels or infusionsoft for example that have mailing lists built in.
If you buy a domain, purchase a mailbox and build a website with a platform like Godaddy and then you have your mailing list there too, you might find it’s not as effective as the software designed specifically for mailing lists that I’m recommending here.
I speak from experience on this, and I also know some of the ladies in my group coaching have had issues with, and are not having fun with mailing lists they are using inside domain providers like Godaddy and 123-reg.
Ok. So the three platforms I’m going to recommend you check for your mailing list provider are Mailchimp, Klaviyo and Kartra, and I’ll talk about each of these places in turn below.
Mailchimp is a very well known mailing list provider, that you can sign up to for free. You can build a list of 1000 subscribers before you have to start paying for more.
Mailchimp has been around a long time. It’s stable and effective, and not overly difficult to set up and start using.
I used Mailchimp when I first started my business building journey in the online space, and it was a great starting point for me.
Mailchimp integrates well with a number of platforms including WordPress, if you have your website hosted there.
There’s a lot you can do with Mailchimp.
You can create campaigns (Newsletters), you can upload files (if for example you’re giving a free downloadable away as part of your opt in), you can even build landing pages and website pages inside the platform.
Lots of my ladies signed up for Mailchimp when they were first starting out (and still use it), especially if their shop was on Etsy (because you can’t build opt-ins or have a mailing list, or set up landing pages etc inside Etsy).
There’s a lot you can do in Mailchimp for free, but to start using your mailing list more effectively by setting up automated email sequences for example, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid account, but even that won’t break the bank.
Klaviyo is a great mailing list provider. Their interface is very user friendly, if a little more complex to learn than Mailchimp.
Klaviyo is a great mailing list to use if you’ve got an e-commerce store on Shopify, because it integrates directly inside Shopify, whereas Mailchimp does not.
I would not recommend Mailchimp if you use Shopify.
Inside Klaviyo you can do many of the things you can do inside Mailchimp (although perhaps not quite as much as you can in Mailchimp).
Klaviyo has the ability to send campaigns/Newsletters, you can set up automated email sequences (paid for level of Klaviyo), and you can design opt-ins to embed in your Shopify store to encourage people to sign up to your list.
There’s a whole lot more you can do with Klaviyo, and you can sign up for free, up to a certain number of subscribers.
Both Mailchimp and Klaviyo are worth checking out if you’re just starting your mailing list, to see if they will align well with your business, and also whether they’ll integrate directly with your website, ecommerce or marketplace platform (except Etsy – you won’t be able to integrate there).
Kartra is the ‘all in one’ platform that I use. It’s different to godaddy and 123reg, because Kartra IS NOT a domain buying/mailbox buying platform. It’s specifically a website builder with a mailing list integration.
It requires money down straight away to use (around £75 a month).
Kartra has great capabilities, not only with the website builder, but with the mailing list element too.
I can create and schedule newsletters using their drag and drop template builder, I can add tags and segments to people who join my list based on the actions they took that got them on my list in the first place.
I can set up sequences of emails to maintain contact with people on my list, again based on the actions they take inside my business.
There’s only ever any point in using Kartra as your mailing list provider if you’re using it as a platform for your website, your products, services, memberships and trainings too.
Kartra is no good for e-commerce (if you’re selling a lot of products), but it is great if – like me – you have a small selection of highly targeted products and services to present to your audience.
Those are my top three mailing list platform recommendations. I’ve used them all.
One more point to finish.
Please do not use a free email address (gmail, aol, yahoo etc) for your business email address. Mailing list providers do not like you doing that, and trying to go that route may significantly impact the reach of the emails you send. You’re a business. You need a proper email address that you purchase from a provider like 123-reg or godaddy. Note you can ONLY buy a mailbox if you own a domain name that the mailbox will be attached to. So I had to purchase the domain femaleentrepreneurschool.com before I could attach the mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next blog post I’ll share how to drive people to your mailing list from your social platforms/podcasts/blogs etc., to build your subscriber base. Stay tuned!