I’ve tried a number of different email newsletter programs. The leader seems to be Constant Contact followed by iContact and Mailchimp. Although I have a lot of clients who already use Constant Contact, my personal favorite is Mailchimp. Why? Because it is smart and easy to use. Now, when I say easy to use, I mean it is easier to use than most email marketing programs. You still have to know something about design and working with templates. What I like about Mailchimp is they’ve made it easy to import and update your list and create a simple, yet attractive looking email campaign. The reporting systems and Social Media plugins also make Mailchimp the leader in my experience. Their website design and function is also…way better than its competitors.
Mailchimp also has a free version! No really…it is free. If you have less than 500 emails in your database, use Mailchimp as much as you want! It is 100% free! If you go over the 500 email list (hopefully you will over time!) then the fees are similar to Constant Contact or iContact. $20-40 a month is typical. I recommend not doing the monthly plans with any email system unless you plan on using it every month. If it is every quarter or even 6x a year, go with the “Pay as you Go” plan. Mailchimp has that feature, and it is pretty inexpensive (cheaper than the monthly service in most cases).
Although I am endorsing Mailchimp, that does not mean it is a perfect program. There are little bugs and quirks if you don’t know HTML. For example, when you cut and paste things, the text sometimes gets messed up. This is not Mailchimp’s fault but just the nature of the beast. They use what is called a “wysiwyg” editor which stands for “What You See Is What You Get.” That wysiwyg converts your simple text editor into HTML. That is where you will sometimes see some formating problems. To avoid this, hire your web designer to create and send a custom CSS email just for your company. In other words, if you are not real web-savvy, I’d definitely get help creating and sending email blast. Email marketing campaigns should have the same or similar branding message and design as your other marketing materials. A lot of people think email marketing is cheap. It is inexpensive compared to a Direct Mail campaign, but you should still spend some time and money making it look sharp and useful!
Another email tool I’d recommend is: MyEmma. MyEmma is a MUST for someone who wants a custom email marketing campaign. This is for serious email marketers.