I have used all of the email list providers. All of them: Aweber, MailChimp, ConstantContact, and many others.
Each of them has their benefits, but the fact is that none of them have done a satisfactory job for me.
The problems I’ve had with email list providers
- The signup forms they provide to put on your website are clunky, don’t work, or are ugly
- The cost is too high (I paid nearly $300 PER MONTH with Aweber–that’s ludicrous when you consider that I didn’t even like the service)
- It’s too expensive for a new site to get started
- Many email providers make it difficult to import new lists without requiring those on the list to re-opt-in
- Poor deliverability (getting sent to junk mail)
- Stats are not easily understandable
Who I’m Using Now
The Income School email list is powered by Mad Mimi (yes, that’s an affiliate link, but it’s also who I trust with the most important asset my business has–my customer list). I heard about it through the recommendation of another blogger and I’ve been extremely impressed with it so far.
Their site is easy to use and well-designed, they have reasonable prices that are WAY cheaper than Aweber, and customer support gets an A+ from me.
If you’re just creating your first email list, you’ll be happy to know that Mad Mimi has a really generous free plan to get you started.
What About MailChimp?
MailChimp is a good provider of email lists for new blogs. Although I have seen some bad reports about their deliverability (emails being sent to spam), I haven’t personally had those problems.
The main reason I don’t use MailChimp is because they charge too much for larger lists. I’m an advocate of getting an email provider you can grow with, so I’d recommend Mad Mimi since their free program is excellent as well.
What About Aweber?
I have used Aweber for a long time (I believe more than 2 years now). There are three reasons I’m leaving Aweber (1) They sometimes treat customers poorly. I have seen more than a few bloggers get their lists DELETED by Aweber when Aweber believed they were violating the terms of service. (2) Aweber costs WAY too much. Did I mention my nearly $350 bill that they send me EVERY MONTH!?!?! (3) The website is clunky and difficult to use.
What About Constant Contact?
I have found the deliverability at Constant Contact to be less than optimal. They do a great job with smaller customer lists for local companies, but I didn’t have much success with a larger list. I received many complaints from my customers that they weren’t getting my messages.
There is one reason I like Constant Contact, though. They don’t hassle you about importing a list, and they make it easier to use a list that doesn’t require users to double opt-in (enter email on your website and then also click an activation link in your message).
Are There Others I Should Consider?
There is one option I’ve considered but have not yet tried. It requires quite a bit of technical expertise to be able to set it up, but it basically allows you to send emails for an incredibly cheap price. Amazon has a service called Amazon SES. It allows you to send thousands of emails for just a few pennies, but there is no user interface to send your emails from, get stats, etc. You’ll need some other software to actually write the emails and get stats.
If you’re interested in trying this and have lots of technical skill, you can download Sendy to use with Amazon SES. This solution requires some technical skills to set up, but will make your $400 Aweber bill evaporate to just about $15. Sounds awesome and I’m eager to try it out.
But until I can actually spend some time with Sendy and Amazon SES, I’d stick with Mad Mimi.