Email Newsletter Services: Top 5 Roundup

With this post, we welcome author LJ Sellers as a Publetariat Contributor.

I did some research into the top five providers of email newsletter/contact services and decided to share the information. They all offer design and list management tools, a sign-up function for your website, and usually a free trial. The pricing doesn’t vary much, but there are important differences in services. Three offer a pay-as-you-go option for people like me with small lists who plan to use the service infrequently, and only two offer RSS services. Here’s a brief guide:

Vertical Response

  • monthly plan or pay as you go
  • PAYG: .015 per email for lists under 1000 ($7.50 for 500)
  • monthly: $10 per month for 500 or less
  • discounts on monthly plans if you buy 6 or 12 months at a time
  • free trial (first 100 emails free)
  • tracking, segmentation, and ROI reporting
  • free customer support
  • offers surveys and direct-mail postcards

Constant Contact

  • monthly plan only, no pay as you go
  • monthly plan: $15 for 500 or fewer
  • free 60-day trial
  • lots of customer support/phone, e-mail, library, videos
  • reporting details (who opened, what links clicked)
  • direct download from Microsoft outlook

iContact

  • $9.95 month for 500 or fewer
  • 15-day free trial
  • RSS features for blogs
  • offers survey services/features
  • offers lots of e-mail marketing information

Vista Print

  • $14.99 a month for 500 or fewer
  • also offers per-mail options (.03 per-email for 500 or fewer)
  • one-month free trial
  • reporting tools
  • set-up limited to Internet Explorer or FireFox browsers
  • can be integrated with Vista Print website (if you have one)

Mail Chimp

  • monthly plan or pay as you go
  • monthly plan: $10 for 500 or fewer
  • PAYG: .03 per email for small batches (uses a prepaid credit system)
  • RSS to email list
  • no call center phone support
  • offers Mail Chimp Expert, service that will do all the work for you
  • lots of marketing tools: segmentation, analytics (many of which I don’t understand)

I decided to go with Vertical Response because I need a pay-as-you-go option for infrequent mailings. Vista Print offers that option, but it’s more expensive, and Mail Chimp (will little customer support) is not for beginners like me. If you know what you’re doing and need RSS feeds, then Mail Chimp is probably a great option. Vertical Response also had direct-mail post cards, which I might use someday, and also has a good reputation in the writing community.

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

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