Publetariat Dispatch: Email Service Roundup

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author LJ Sellers offers an overview of popular email blast services.

 

Maintaining an email newsletter list and sending out professional,  attractive emails is critical for nearly anyone who likes to stay in  contact with a group, whether it’s a book club or fan base. Many  providers offer this service, and a few offer it either free or for  pennies on the email, making it an affordable option even for Christmas  newsletters.

Until recently I used Vertical Response, then realized I needed to  change when I discovered it didn’t offer an autoresponder. When I signed  up for the service years ago, I had never heard the term and didn’t  know what I would be missing. As clarification: an autoresponder is an  automatic email that goes out when someone signs up for the newsletter  through a signup form, usually on a website. I’m also not impressed with  VR’s signup form, which is small and funky. The signup form and  autoresponder are not likely important to anyone sending out personal  emails, but they are critical to writers or small businesses building an  email list, so I’ve decided to switch providers.

Overall, most of the providers offer:

  • a variety of nice design templates
  • list management tools and list segmentation
  • RSS ability to feed blogs directly into a newsletter
  • a sign-up function for your website
  • tracking and analytic information

One significant difference is that MailChimp and Vertical Response  are the only two (in my survey) that offer a pay-as-you-go option; the  others all charge a monthly service fee. Mail Chimp and YMLP (Your  Mailing List Provider) also offer a free monthly plan, which could be  great for anyone with a small list, but the free plans don’t usually  include autoresponders.

Here’s a brief guide to six services and their distinctive features and prices:
MailChimp

  • Monthly plan or pay as you go
  • Free for up to 2000 subscribers and 1200 emails a month (but no autoresponder)
  • Monthly unlimited plans start at $10 for 500 or fewer
  • Phone support during the week
  • Signup forms for websites and autoresponders with paid accounts

AWeber

  • $19 a month for unlimited emails (first month is $1)
  • Great looking signup forms for websites and autoresponders
  • Customer support
  • Performance tracking

Vertical Response

  • Monthly plan or pay as you go
  • Monthly: $10 per month for 500 or less
  • Free trial (first 100 emails free)
  • Offers surveys and direct-mail postcards
  • Signup forms but no autoresponders

YMLP

  • Free version available (maximum of 1000 emails per month)
  • Pro version starts at $3.75/month (for 2500 emails per month); Pro Plus starts at $5/month
  • Can include attachments
  • Social media integration
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Unlimited autoresponders

Constant Contact

  • Monthly plan: $15 for 500 or fewer
  • Free 60-day trial
  • Lots of customer support/phone, e-mail, library, videos
  • Event marketing
  • Connections with social media
  • Built-in autoresponder

iContact

  • $10 month for 500 or fewer
  • $29 for 2500 subscribers
  • 30-day free trial
  • Offers survey services/features
  • Integration with Google Analytics
  • Signup forms and autoresponders

I’ve decided to go with MailChimp because I need a pay-as-you-go  option for my infrequent, but 1000+ mailings. I also need a good signup form  with an autoresponder for my website. The free version of MailChimp is  also a good option for book club leaders or anyone sending out a small  monthly mailing. Even if you’re not running a business or building a  list of readers/fans, these services offer a fun way to send attractive  emails to any group of people.

What service do you use? Are you happy with it?

 

This is a reprint from L.J. Sellersblog.

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