When it comes to newsletters, the first word I hear is MailChimp. It is quite powerfull application that helps you to manage e-mail marketing effectively.
There are other alternatives like Aweber, Constant Contact, Drip, GetResponse, Benchmark, SendinBlue, iContact and many more. None of them, however, are customised specifically for the Czech market. Unless your team speaks and operates in English, you might have to look into a Czech solution instead. So are there any?
Yes, however, the e-mail marketing in Czech still seems to be in early stage and the market is not flooded with many solutions. One of the project supporting the growth is Mailing 2020, yearly conference since 2016. If you are super serious about e-mail marketing, I suggest you look through the list of speakers and follow their works.
In terms of market share (only percieved value), there are two major players: Ecomail and SmartMailing. Other solutions exists too such as Mailkit (CZ) and then Sendy (using AWS SES, EN), Mautic (EN) which require a bit more work to set up. You can find some tutorials in Czech for Sendy/Mautic from Petr Novák. It seems that newsletters (“odběr novinek”) is a tools used in Czech by rather medium or large businesses, but with expansion of those tools, small businesses are or will be catching up shortly.
I had an opportunity to assist a small business in Czech with their e-mail marketing strategy refresh. I was shocked how cumbersome some processes were and lacked any automation. These include: e-mail addresses managed and stored in Word documents, duplicated data, out-dated design, no reports or visibility over the past campaigns, manual subscription management and more.
Afterter reviewing the setup, I looked into the market for a system that would bring more efficiency and transparency. The first choice would have been MailChimp, but due to the language barrier of the customer, this was not an option. Ecomail and SmartMailling looked promissing and ticked the language box. Based on the needs of business, the Ecomail was chosen. It provided simple interface with template editor, easy contacts manager, lower pricing and had good reviews. Due to the nature of business and its irregularity when it comes to contacting potential customers, I suggested to use the credit system rather than subscription model. The customer support was excelent, though the documentation could cover more content to start with.
Along the way, there were some surprises in regards to GDPR and how the newsletters supposed to be used without violation of law. Any contacts loaded to the system have to be already subscribed to your newsletter, which means you have to use other channels to faciliate the subscription process. Very common solution is to get the subscribers from your website, but what if you collected (legally) hundreds of contacts you wish to approach? You have to contact them somehow in order to gain their permission for receiving your offers. Individual call, e-mail, letter, IM message is the correct way but not necesarily efficient. How would you automate it? Leave me a message on LinkedIn or e-mail.
So, to set up the system properly is one thing, but to teach the customer how to use it is another. I would suggest to create visual workflow, which customer can come back to (screen recordings). Also, Ecomail has automation section which I highly recommend to play with. Unfortunately, forget about bulk managing your contacts in Ecomail. These features are not there and you have to use import process to overwrite certain data. You should be using custom fields, rather than labels, because these cannot be removed (only by Ecomail admin through customer care request). Do not forget also to refresh/review your contact database regularly, ideally by creating a campaign to confirm the interest of your recipients. You can automate this process too, but we leave this for some other time.
If you want to learn more about e-mail marketing, I suggest you to read E-mail marketing: Velký test doručitelnosti (CZ) from Daniel Nytra. Another short comparison is at Včeliště. Alternatively, you can always contact me with your queries, ideas and tips.