Email lists worth listing
Hello everyone! I recently got a question on LSNTAP’s Help Desk about email list providers, so I started looking into it. There seem to be a lot of options out there (see this list on Mashable if the list below isn’t long enough for you!) Whether you want to send out a newsletter or facilitate discussions and whether you want to reach 20 people or 2,000, there’s a provider out there for you! Here’s a run-down of some of the best I found.
Mailman is what LSNTAP uses to manage our LSTech and other email lists. It’s free and web-based, making it easy to manage and use. Mailman supports multiple list administrators and comes with built-in archiving; however, one complaint I’ve heard is that there is no reporting feature. See a full list of features on their website.
MailChimp is another service which I’ve heard great things about. Unlike Mailman, it does have some great reporting features, which integrate to allow “segmentation,” or choosing which members of your list to send to based on their past activity, location, or a “member rating.” MailChimp also supports multiple list administrators with different levels of access and can integrate with Google Analytics. Overall, it seems to be very user-friendly. See a full list of features on their website. Unlike Mailman, MailChimp isn’t free – unless you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers and send fewer than 12,000 emails per month. If that seems pretty do-able, then great! If you’ll need more emails or more subscribers, it’ll only cost you $10-$15 per month.
Note: MailChimp and Mailman are the only providers that I have any direct experience with, and of the two, I’d recommend MailChimp. Keep reading for more.
Zoho Mail is a web-based mail service designed for businesses. It handles not only email lists, but also your regular email, calendars, chat, and more. Prices range from free (for five users and limited capabilities) to $36 per user per year. If this sounds like something you’re looking for, check out the full list of features and prices on their website.
L-Soft, and particularly LISTSERV Email List Management Software is the original email list manager. It supports several different types of lists (newsletters, announcement lists, moderated and unmoderated lists), automatically archives content, offers a template gallery for emails, and includes support for RSS feeds. It’s not cheap, though – a “perpetual license” will cost you anywhere between $2,500 and $25,000, depending on your needs. For a full list of features and pricing, see their website.
AMailSender.com allows you, through a series of different services, to send personalized emails (it supports mail merging) to an unlimited number of addresses and track who opens the emails, clicks links, or loads images. It also has a “verify” feature which will check that the addresses on your list are still functional. Each of its services must be purchased separately, for prices ranging from $39 to $299. See a full list of prices and products on their website.
AWeber.com is a versatile service particularly tailored to sending newsletters. It offers a variety of templates as well as sign-up forms, RSS support, autoresponses, and detailed statistics on your list. It also supports subscriber segmenting – that is, you can target subscribers based on their past actions. See a full list of features on their website. AWeber will run you $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers, though the first month is only $1. Pricing information is available on their website as well.
Campaign Monitor is a great choice if you want something full-featured and aren’t afraid of doing a bit of coding. Campaign Monitor allows you to easily design your own email templates, supports RSS, keeps very detailed statistics, links to social media, supports subscriber segmentation and unlimited lists… the list goes on. There are far too many features to list; see the full listing on their website. All of this isn’t terribly expensive, either: plans start at a 500 subscriber/2,500 emails per month limit for $9 a month.
Constant Contact is another solid, relatively simple-to-use choice. You can customize your email templates and drag-and-drop to add content, integrate with social media, and keep track of results, all with what seems to be a pretty easy user interface. Check out all the features on their website. Pricing starts at $10.50/month for nonprofits with up to 500 contacts, although you can try it free for two months and up to 100 contacts.
FeedBlitz is a service that monitors blogs and RSS feeds and converts them into email digests, delivered regularly to subscribers’ inboxes. It’s compatible with a number of blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and FeedBurner. If you’ve already got a great blog and just need to get it into the hands of people who need it, this is a great way to do so! Pricing for 100-499 email subscribers is $9.98/month.
Graphic Mail links together SMS (text messaging), email, and social media. Like many of the other services discussed, Graphic Mail offers a variety of templates for emails, as well as a platform for sending mass texts, building mobile sites, and integrating with social media. They offer free email marketing of up to 10,000 emails per month for nonprofits; adding the other services would cost around $30 per month for 10,000 subscribers.
GetResponse is focused mostly on email marketing and by all accounts, does a great job of it. It features autoresponders that allow you to customize offers, email subscribers on their birthdays, and more; has easy-to-use email and landing page creators; integrates with social media; and tracks everything with detailed analytics. Check out all their features on their website. Pricing begins at $15/month for 1,000 subscribers, plus they’ll take 50 percent off for nonprofits.
Some of these services (where noted) offer nonprofit discounts; I couldn’t find any comparable services on TechSoup’s website. If anyone knows of a service with nonprofit discount or just a good one that I didn’t mention, please tell us in the comments section!