You know how sometimes the same questions come up over and over again? Just recently ‘Mailchimp is costing me too much – how can I save some money?’ has been one of mine.
Before I go any further, I’m not taking a pop at Mailchimp in particular, in fact I suspect this is because they have changed their target audience in recent years rather than it being much more expensive than other platforms. Those small businesses who signed up back when Mailchimp offered one of the best free plans out there are finding it’s a little pricey a few years down the line. Occasionally I see ‘Convertkit is costing me too much – how can I save some money?’ too!
It makes good business sense to review your costs regularly to see if you’re getting a return, so it’s not a bad question to ask. So, what should you do?
Look at your strategy first
Your email marketing platform is one of the best investments you could make in digital marketing. Done right and consistently, your email marketing is likely to be very profitable compared to other channels, because your messages are going direct to the inboxes of people who have chosen to hear from you. Unlike social media, there’s no algorithm and you own that list of emails. So no third-party platform can suddenly change your reach or decide ‘live video is now hot’ when all your content is in an entirely different format.
I believe that your email platform should almost always pay for itself. So if you’re finding your email marketing platform is expensive, look at your overall strategy first.
- Are you making enough offers? Or are you just sending out content? (See Has that got a ‘buy now’ button? and How to close more sales with email marketing)
- Is your email marketing aligned with your business goals? Over time it’s easy for the focus of your email marketing to drift to just getting names on the list and emailing them regularly. E.g. you sell socks but have lost focus and drifted towards writing about underwear in general…and your subscribers signed up because they are sock lovers. Maybe you need to look at some more exciting ways to tell them about your socks? (Including a ‘buy socks now’ button, of course!)
- Are you trying all the fun or imaginative stuff on social media, leaving your email marketing as the poor relation? Why not try getting them to work together as a single strategy or campaign?
Check your stats
Check the reports provided by your email marketing platform, because they could reveal a number of problems that need very different solutions:
- Your email content could be great, but if few people open your emails because the subject lines are boring or spammy-looking, then that’s something you can fix.
- If you have a respectably-sized list but not many people opening your emails, that could be because you haven’t emailed them regularly, the emails are going to spam folders, or they no longer have a need for what you sell e.g. you offer job-hunting support and they have already found a new job. You could try a re-engagement campaign or just delete anyone who hasn’t opened your email in the last six months or a year. Beware of deleting people who don’t buy from you but refer you to others, though.
- Maybe you’ve only sent three emails in six months, but have been so wrapped up in other things you hadn’t really noticed until now? Setting aside a day to write up some content ahead of time can make a huge difference here. As can putting together a content calendar so you remove the barrier to knowing what to write about. Setting up an automated email sequence for new subscribers so you build that relationship with them early can be a huge time-saver, too.
Let your stats guide you to getting more bang from your email marketing buck.
If you do need to move email marketing platforms after all…
It’s possible you may need to move after all. Platforms sometimes move the goal-posts so they aren’t such a good fit for your business, or they add features that you don’t use but still need to pay for. Or sometimes we are dazzled by all the features and buy into a tool more complex than we actually need. Before you do this, try:
- Talking to the support team at that platform – they may have a ‘light’ plan that they don’t advertise much.
- Looking at your business strategy as a whole – if you can’t justify the cost of your email marketing platform is your profit margin too low? Do you need to raise your prices or cut your costs? It may be time to move to another platform, but making that decision based on cost alone can be a false economy if you have a business problem, because you’ll take that business problem with you to the next platform. Where it will continue to cost you money.
- Taking a look at my guide on how to move to a new email marketing platform.
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