Although much has been made of RSS subscribers as blogs grow, the fact of the matter remains that only a small percentage of internet users subscribe to anything via RSS. Email marketing will always be a strong performing promotional initiative online, just like we will always get offers delivered to regular real-life mailboxes.
The reason is simple. Direct response marketing works.
I’ve worked with several email marketing providers over the years, and choosing the right company or system will be based on your marketing goals, customers and your business model. All of these solutions are best for smaller businesses, because larger business will usually require a custom solution.
All of these email marketing solutions offer:
- FREE trials to help you determine if they are the right product for your needs
- Built-in CAN-Spam compliance tools
For Simple Email Marketing Needs
Most providers either charge on a monthly or per-email basis. But if you have a small list that is geared more towards client retention or education, the return on investment for ongoing fees may be difficult to justify.
TemplateZone’s High Impact Email Basic and Professional are the perfect solution. The one-time cost is easily justifiable and the program walks users through the campaign creation process step-by-step. It also plays nice with Microsoft Office, so you can mail merge. With templates and drag and drop file creation, this is one of the easiest tools to use.
Check with your ISP’s (internet service provider) terms if you plan on sending more than 250 emails a day. All ISP’s have some restrictions on how many emails you can send at one time/one hour/one day to ensure you aren’t spamming.
For Intermediate Email Marketing Needs
I’ve written before about how much I like Constant Contact. They charge customers based on how large your email subscriber list is, so it’s a very affordable solution in which what you pay is commensurate with what you’re likely receiving in profits. Plus, until you have over 100 subscribers, you won’t pay a thing.
Constant Contact’s product is super-easy to use, and I actually prefer their response tracking and reporting over that which I get from my current provider. Additionally, they have an extensive free tutorial section on their site, which has beginner to advanced level tips for optimizing your campaigns for the best possible results.
For Advanced Email Marketing Needs
When your needs have grown beyond sending newsletters, then consider the following two companies. Both of them are slightly different but highly recommended and respected in the industry.
AWeber is a combination of regular email marketing and autoresponder services. An autoresponder is simply a delivery system that automatically delivers emails on a schedule or based on a customer action, such as when a new subscription launches a pre-written series of emails.
Although a little more challenging to learn and set up, using autoresponders is a seriously cost-effective and time-saving way to keep in touch with clients, because most of the delivery is automated. AWeber has all of the niceties of Constant Contact (including the swanky reporting) along with unlimited delivery of emails, autoresponders, and whatever you want to send.
Since some of the biggest names in internet marketing use AWeber, I can unquestionably recommend it. If they offered an integrated shopping cart such as Professional Cart Solutions below, I’d be mighty tempted to use them, too!
Professional Cart Solutions
I love Professional Cart Solutions, and I use their products on my own sites. Not only is it a full-blown email marketing and autoresponder service, but there is also a shopping cart feature that allows individuals to sell their own products and services and the entire transaction is handled automatically – including follow up emails to customers.
As an added bonus, their cart also has a built in affiliate program – so that it is easy to set up a process to have other people sell your stuff. The only drawback I’ve found with this company is that if I want to track specific click-throughs in emails, I have to do that on my own by using redirects or a service like TinyURL.
Again, setting up the emails and autoresponders with Professional Cart Solutions and AWeber is a little more work than the first two solutions, but the added functionality makes it worth it to save so much time further down the road. This service is also the one with the most scalability, meaning that as I grow my business, I know that whatever I need to do can be done with Professional Cart Solutions.