Friday, October 16, 2015

An Overview Of Email List Service Providers

An email list as an integral tool for building your brand and your following. It's vitally important that you choose the right email service provider though, since that will impact how and when you email. Here's an excerpt from my Social Media Promotion For Musicians book that contains an overview of the more popular email service providers available.

Email List image

"When I wanted to send one of my first email newsletters to a list of only about 1200 (which seemed large at the time but is really tiny in grand scheme of email lists), I was astounded to find that my Internet Service Provider (ISP) wouldn't allow me to send to more than 100 addresses simultaneously from my business account. That meant that I had to split my list up into 12 batches, which made the job take a lot longer than it should have. After a number of calls to my Internet service provider at the time, I discovered that just about every ISP limits the number of email addresses that can be attached to an email in an attempt to keep spam in check, yet I knew that there were companies that sent emails to millions of addresses at a time every day. How did they do it?

That’s when I found out about Email Service Providers or ESPs. ESPs have an agreement with the various Internet service providers to make sure that their customers aren’t what we would consider spammers. While the odd few may push up against those boundaries, ESPs go to great lengths to make sure that you don’t fall into that category by constant checking spam reports and large email address imports, then making you personally verify that your lists are opt-in and not purchased or just skimmed from a forum.

That said, the only limit to how many addresses you can send to hinges on how much money you want to spend, since almost all ESPs work on the same principle - the greater the number of email addresses, the more it costs.

Here’s a list of email service providers to investigate. Each has their pros and cons, so it’s best to check every one out thoroughly before you commit. Since most of them also have free 30 day trials, you can try before you buy to see if a particular service is what you’re looking for.

TIP: Some email list providers are free if you only have a few hundred addresses. Even with a volume that low, it's so much easier to use an ESP than your own email client. Try it. You'll wonder how you ever got along without one.

As stated above, all of them have a nice selection of professional-looking email templates, but how they’re customized is slightly different, so be sure to check that out. Of course, if you already have a web designer that can design a good looking HTML newsletter, the templates won’t matter as much to you as the other features.

These are only just a sampling of the popular ESPs available, and you can also find a number of email list review sites that will give you a ranking and allow you to easily compare services. 

TIP: Even if you compare ESP features carefully, the best way to really find out which one will serve your needs is to use it for a bit first with the free trial they all offer."

I currently use GetResponse myself after trying out just about every one that's listed above. It has the right combination of features for me, but may not fit for you. Like most other services, whatever you feel has the best combination of services and ease of use is what you should use.

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