If you’re going to build a list to market to, you’re going to need some way of collecting them.

The days of manually collecting email address and sending an email out to a “group” through your email account is over. It’s just not effective.  Many email programs limit the amount of names you can send to, causing you to need to send more than one email.  Very time consuming, and companies like Google and Yahoo tend to automatically spam mass emails. Not to mention, how can you track your effectiveness or open rates?

Over the last few years I have used three different companies to create opt-in forms, run my email campaigns and track the results – Emma, Constant Contact, AWeber and my good friend, RyLee Madison, just shared Mail Chimp with me, a company she uses to keep her fans up to date on all the happenings in and around Nashville.

Emma is based in Nashville, TN and is the most expensive out of the gate, but with good reason.  Emma creates your email program from scratch, there is no need to pick from hundreds of “templates”, they will create a custom template for you that matches your online identity.  Because it’s a hands on company, their customer service and relationship building is top shelf.

www.MyEmma.com

Constant Contact is an extremely cost effective email program offering a lot of design options for both emails and surveys.  Their site offers great training, both online and through local seminars… always a great networking event!  I’ve used this company for the last few years and have loved the ease of putting together email campaigns, but I’ve run into a few issues with the lack of auto responder capabilities and as my business grows so does the list of companies I support and the opt-in page displays all those newsletters and it is starting to looking confusing.

www.constantcontact.com

Aweber is an autoresponders dream.  You can create as many follow up messages as you’d like, as well as regular email campaigns.  It costs about the same as Constant Contact, but Aweber has high security on it’s opt-in lists, so it’s been a bit of a challenge to move contact’s from other programs because as they are added, automatic messages go out asking them to approve their inclusion.  I’m losing a few names, but I’m assuming that these people were not opening the email anyway.  Aweber doesn’t offer as many templates, but it does offer html options, so you can create a campaign that mirrors the look of your website.  It also offers a variety of eye catching opt-in designs which works great with capture pages and blogs.

www.aweber.com

Over all I’ve had great experiences with these programs, but have found Aweber to work with my business with the most ease.  I’d also like to mention that Aweber has a great affiliate program, so you can make a little money when people purchase this service through your link.

I’ve never used Mail Chimp, but I’ve heard great things about it, and it’s FREE up to a list of 1000 and 6000 emails a month.  You don’t even have to provide a credit card to use the service, so it’s well worth checking out.

www.mailchimp.com

If you’re happy with your email marketing campaign provider, I’d love it if you’d share a little bit about it.

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