Your email service provider (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, iContact, AWeber, etc.) probably allows you to set up several different types of email campaigns. Let’s examine the different types of campaigns, and figure out when you should use each:
1. Regular Email Campaigns
This is what you usually think of when you think of a mass email. You write the email, select the segment of your list that you want it to go to, and schedule it to send.
When You Should Use It: Any time you have a one-off event that you want to promote, such as a station concert or a major promotion.
When You Shouldn’t Use It: For regularly repeated emails, such as your weekly newsletter. Writing is a lot of work, so you want to spend your time writing content that lives on your website, not in emails. Use an RSS-to-Email campaign to automate your newsletter instead.
2. RSS-to-Email Campaigns
An RSS feed is a way to pull content from your website and use it in other places. Many email service providers can pull the latest content from your website’s RSS feed and automatically format it into an email newsletter and send it out. For example, let’s say your website is built in WordPress, and you assign your blogposts to categories like “Morning Show” and “Contests.” You could set up one RSS-to-email campaign to automatically send out a morning show email every day, and another to send out contests once a week.
When You Should Use It: When you are regularly creating content on your website that you want sent out as it is published. As a best practice, categorize your website content, segment your email list and set up different up different RSS-to-email campaigns for different content categories to ensure your listeners are only getting the emails that are relevant to them.
When You Shouldn’t Use It: For one-off events that need extra promotion (use a regular campaign), or when you have great older content that you want to recycle (use an autoresponder campaign).
Like RSS-to-Email campaigns, autoresponder campaigns are automatically sent out, making your life easier. However, they are not automatically created. You will need to write each email, decide which segment of your list will receive it, and then decide what “triggers” the email to be sent.
The most common trigger is that somebody fills out the form to sign up for your email list. You may want a form submission to trigger an email to be sent immediately, as well as another email a week later, and another two weeks after that, and so on. In this way, you can automatically “drip out” content to your list.
However, your email service provider may be able to send emails based on other triggers as well. For example, you could ask people for their birthdate when they sign up for your email list, and then set up an autoresponder campaign to automatically send people an email on their birthday. You can set up autoresponders to be triggered on specific dates, such as birthdays. You can also trigger emails when people click on a particular link on your website (this may require some extra coding).
When You Should Use It: To recycle your best older content, like your Kurt Cobain or 2Pac interviews, or your legendary April Fool’s Day prank from yesteryear. Automate birthday emails. Drip out content to potential advertisers to nurture your relationship with them.
When You Shouldn’t Use It: To send out your latest content (use RSS-to-Email) or for one-off events like station concerts or major contests (use a regular campaign).