Ah technology. It’s such a great thing, but sometimes can be frustrating to figure out what exactly we need and then how to use it. Let’s explore some of your options when it comes to email marketing and hopefully things will become a bit clearer.
As your mailing list grows, it should quickly become apparent to that you don’t want to try to manage it manually. Not only will it become a significant administrative burden, but sending emails with more than a dozen or so recipients can greatly increase the likelihood that your autoresponder messages will be marked as spam, and never reach your intended audience.
An autoresponder service can help accomplish the dual goals of freeing you up to work on other important tasks within your company, and making sure your email messages reach their targets. Here is a summary of a few of the leading services, and the pros and cons of each.
Aweber (www.aweber.com) is one of the leading services for automating the process of building your mailing lists, and sending emails to everyone on your list.
• Aweber has a very reliable delivery mechanism.
• Aweber offers strong support for autoresponder series, including conditional moving of subscribers from one list to another. For example, if someone buys the product you’re promoting with a particular autoresponder series, you can configure Aweber to move them from that autoresponder series to a different one immediately after their purchase (after all, you don’t want to continue promoting the product after they’ve already purchased it).
• Aweber does not offer a free trial (although it does offer the first month of service for just $1, with a money back guarantee).
• They have changed their interface a lot recently and many complain that it has become more difficult to
arpReach (www.arpreach.com), formerly known as AutoresponsePlus, takes a somewhat different approach to the other major services in that it offers downloadable software that you pay for once, rather than an online service that you pay for each month.
• One-time cost; there are no monthly fees, and your initial license fee is not tied to the number of addresses on your list or the number of messages you send.
• Full control over your list with the ability to import subscribers as you’d like.
• The arpReach software must be installed on your web server, but you can pay one of their recommended installers to install it for you.
• arpReach is currently not compatible with GoDaddy hosting services.
Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com) has rapidly become one of the most recognizable services for email marketing, and has a strong customer base that includes some very large companies.
• Constant Contact allows you to run social media campaigns to supplement your email marketing efforts.
• A free 60 day trial is available for a mailing list of up to 100 names.
• Potentially more expensive than other services as your list grows.
iContact (www.icontact.com), formerly known as Intellicontact, provides email marketing support services as well as higher value advisory and strategy services.
• A large number of highly stylized email templates.
• The ability to create custom messages with the proprietary MessageBuilder and MessageCoder applications.
• Only larger customers with Premier Accounts can use Google Analytics and split testing features.
If you’re looking for your first autoresponder service or software, the best approach is to try a few of the ones on this list before making a commitment.
Next up, we’ll be talking about the difference between autoresponder and broadcast messages. Both have their benefits, so let’s take a closer look at that.