One of the things that you have probably heard before, and one that you will hear blogger’s say is the money is in your email list. This is often followed by a highly recommended email marketing software or service.
Aweber is probably the most mentioned and talked about service in the blog world. I am not quite sure why that happens to be the case. Maybe because it’s fairly easy to use. It could be the features, and it could be the recurring commission that they pay affiliates for recommending them.
There is nothing wrong with Aweber. I have no complaints, and I am sure it works great for a lot of blogger’s and non-blogger’s alike.
The thing is though that all these folks that push it, or one of similar nature neglect to realize is that they are generally targeting new users that are looking to get started with email marketing service software. These people usually do not have a list at all yet and are just getting started.
The problem with recommending Aweber right off the bat is it is going to cost $19 per month minimum. That is for 500 or less subscribers. Now granted they do offer a $1 for the first month deal to check it out, but after that, you are going to pay $19 per month whether you have 1, 10, 100, or 500 subscribers. The next level 501-2500 will cost $29 per month. Assuming you were to use it for an entire year at the lowest level that is $19 per month X 11 months = $209 + $1 (first month) = $210 for a full year. You do get a slight price break if you pay an entire year in advance, but it doesn’t save you very much.
$19 per month is probably more than most people are paying for hosting. I don’t know too many people that are excited about spending that much just to get started when they don’t even have any subscribers yet.
Most people starting out are lucky to get a handful of subscribers in the first couple of months. I personally don’t think it’s financially efficient to spend $19 per month from the start especially when most starter sites are on a tight budget.
If you have a profitable successful business already or money to spend, then by all means check Aweber out.
Otherwise here are a few tips for those of you that want to start an email subscription/newsletter, but don’t have a lot of extra money to spend.
The following will allow you to start an email newsletter, marketing, or campaign for free.
MailChimp – FREE
2000 Subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month.
There are a few limitations with free accounts such as no auto responder, and the MailChimp logo will appear at the bottom of the message you send. For free this is a great service packed with plenty of features.
MailChimp recently upgraded, which made it much easier to use.
BenchmarkEmail – FREE
Unlimited Subscribers and send up to 10,000 emails per month.
Like MailChimp, free accounts have some limitations. Images that you upload and add to your messages are limited to 10 MB’s total storage space. This is usually more than enough, and you can always remove some of the older ones that you are no longer using if necessary to free up space.
You can’t import an email list if you already have one. Sign ups have to occur on your website with a sign up opt in/form. You do however, have the ability to export your list once it grows later.
Free accounts do include an auto responder with BenchmarkEmail.
One time fee/purchase, and then free or very cheap route. (A little more technical.)
Purchase Sendy (Newsletter/Email Marketing) Software for a one-time price of $59. You install it in your web hosting account just like WordPress or any other CMS system. You can have an unlimited amount of subscribers, lists, auto-responders, campaigns, etc., etc. along with some pretty nice stats too.
You could then configure it to send through Amazon or Mandrill (by MailChimp) with SPF and DKIM authenticated email headers to achieve a high deliverability rate. That sounds a little complicated I know, but believe me it is pretty easy.
If you have a lot of subscribers on your list or send out a lot of email this can save you a ton of money.
Sendy with Amazon AWS (Amazon Web Service) / Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) will cost you $0.10 per 1000 email you send. 10,000 would cost you $1.00, 50,000 would cost $5.00, and 100,000 would be $10.00. A fraction of the price it would cost with the other popular online email marketing services out there.
Sendy with Mandrill (by MailChimp) gives you 12,000 free email sends per month. So it’s possible you can actually use Sendy with Mandrill completely free. If you go over 12,000 it will cost $0.20 per 1000 additional email sends. 50,000 would cost $7.60, and 100,000 would be $17.60.
Mandrill is a little easier to set up and configure than Amazon SES, and if you send 12,000 or less it would be free. If you happen to have a large email list and you send out a lot of newsletters and updates, then Amazon might be the cheaper route.
Using Sendy with either Amazon or Mandrill would pay for itself in the first 3-4 months since Sendy does cost $59. After that, you could either send newsletters to your subscribers for free to maybe at most a few of dollars per month.
Starting a newsletter or email marketing campaign on a budget.
What I would do if I were just getting started would be to sign up for a MailChimp or BenchmarkEmail free account. Put a sign up form on your website and start building your email list. Send your newsletters, updates, etc. with either of these services until you outgrow the free plan.
Once you reach that point either commit to a paid plan if you are happy with them. Or else move to and use Aweber. All you would need to do is export your email list, and import it into Aweber.
If you wanted to save some money and can handle a few more technical details you could go the Sendy Amazon/Mandrill route by simply importing your list as well.