First of all, if you are using an email marketing system already, you're likely in great shape. From my perspective, 90% of the benefit comes from using one at all, so don't worry that you suddenly have switch if you happen to be using a different solution. The 1/2 dozen or so that I am familar with are all mature and include the primary features we all need:
- Easy ways to add contacts like signup forms, upload, and just type them in
- Insight into who opens the emails and clicks on links (services do this differently and the data doesn't always tell the whole story -- but it's useful nonetheless)
- HTML templates to help you create a polished email message
I have been using Constant Contact for a few years and it has worked quite well for me. I have no real complaints, but recently I ran into a few limitations that sent me off to check out other options. The short story ('cause I'd like to spare you the long story) is that I am now using MailChimp. Here are a few of the reasons:
1) Here's a big one -- it's FREE for a list of up to 2,000 and a total of up to 12,000 emails per month
2) I can create multiple auto-responder streams. In Constant Contact, if I wanted a person who requested one of my ebooks to get a series of emails afterward, I could do that. But what if a new subscriber didn't want the ebook, or requested something different that I wanted to correspond with a different auto-responder series? In Constant Contact, I was S.O.L. In MailChimp I can set up distinct lists and create (or not create) distinct auto-responder messages for each list.
3) It has powerful list-segmenting tools too. Want to re-send an email to just those who failed to open your prior message? Easy. Want your next email to only go to subscribers who joined within the last 30 days? Easy. Constant Contact: if you offer that feature, it wasn't easy to find.
4) Integrations. MailChimp is a more open platform that can connect with a list of other programs. This worked out great for integration with my CRM system.
So there you have it! You can check them out at www.mailchimp.com. If you need help, just give me a call.