Even with the emergence in popularity of social media tools, blogs, and videos, newsletters (print or email) is still one of the most popular ways for organizations to communicate with supporters and members of the community.
To make sure that your newsletter is reaching the right audience with the right content, being able to segment the type of supporters, members is important. I chose Vertical Response as my tool for the challenge for the following key reasons:
- Great Nonprofit Pricing Program. 10,000 emails free per month, say feature and functionality as the paid version, plus additional nonprofit discount for emails over the 10,000 amount.
- The company has been in business a long time, they have a record of high deliverability rates and robust segmentation functionality to help you organize different campaigns to a variety of different audiences.
- Ability to track social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), events, and Surveys in one tool.
You can also check out my summary of the newsletter challenge and vote for Team Jane!
Vertical Response’s user interface is relatively easy to navigate. When you log in you can set up Vertical Response to manage your social media channels, organize events and send out surveys. This can be helpful for small nonprofit that does not have the time or the resource to find different tools and would like to be able to use one tool to track and manage the various different channels.
Creating List and Form:
When creating a opt-in form on the web. Vertical Response can autogenerate the sign-up block and allow you choose if you want detailed sign up block or simplified one. This gives you the ability to have multiple sign-up blocks for the same form, which means I can have a detailed one for my website but a simplified one for my facebook page. :)
When creating emails, Vertical Response allows you to between email wizard, which requires no knowledge of HTML; Email Canvas, with WISWIG editor and html access; or you can import your own templates through the Freeform HTML option. For this challenge, I decided to try out the Email Wizard option.
What is nice about choosing an existing template is you don’t have to have in-house graphics design expertise or in-depth knowledge of HTML. Be sure to choose a template that is fully editable if you want to be able to delete some of the existing features. Similar to Mailchimp, Vertical Response offers multiple language support for the emails I was able to change the header and footer of my email from french to english relatively easily.
This is probably the biggest strengths to Vertical Response, being able to create new segments from multiple lists, multiple email campaigns and even other segments means you can design very targeted emails to various audiences and be able to track the effectiveness of your campaigns. Not sure which subject line is more effective? you can create a A/B test to randomly split your list into two, by comparing the open and click through rate of the two sub lists will help you to improve the effectiveness of your emails.
MailChimp is probably the king of integration, Vertical Response falls short but does integrate with Salesforce, Dynamics CRM and Intuit. I have not had the chance to test out the integration yet but will likely do so in a couple for weeks for the upcoming challenges. If you have quite a few systems that needs to talk to each other, MailChimp is going to be a better candidate,however, if you are already using one of the systems that Vertical Response integrates with and you prefer the segmentation functionality of VR,
Although Vertical Response can be a very robust and powerful tool when it comes to mailing list management, I did find some downsides:
Users are not able to unsubscribe from specific lists. Vertical Response mentioned this is a feature that will be improved on very soon. It is a huge flaw for any organization that have multiple sign-up lists. Not allowing users to be able to manage what lists they want to unsubscribe from is problematic.
The user interface for the sign-up box could be improved, and we could use better looking templates. I feel like Vertical Response has a solid system and with some improved graphics it will be a great tool for any organization.
Would you like to see it in action? check out my video review below:
Resources you might find useful:
- Tierney’s test drive with MailChimp
- Six ideas for segmenting your lists
- The GIANT newsletter tools comparison chart
- Platformation’s review on newsletter tools. (Noorin’s video)
- Best practices for writing email newsletters by Groundwire
Have you used Vertical Response? What was your experience? Do you have any insights, tips, or things to watch out for that you can share? Share your thoughts on Twitter (#janevstierney), Facebook, below in the comments or send us an email.