How to manage your mailers
Mar 03 2014
A chimp at hand
Now, a company with a cheekylooking chimp in a cap may not inspire much confidence, but MailChimp (mailchimp.com) in fact happens to be one of the easiest webbased email marketing services to use. MailChimp even allows you to organise your audience into groups to send specific mailers to specific groups. There are tools to craft your newsletters — or campaigns, as MailChimp calls them — even though templates are limited in the free version. Blog owners will like the RSStoemail module that automatically sends out a newsletter when the blog is updated. If you want to integrate a subscribe form into your site, that can be easily done with MailChimp, plus there are Facebook and WordPress integrations. Other features include subscriber management and profiles, multiuser accounts, analytics and tracking, autoresponders, timezonespecific delivery and plenty more. And should you want to work from an Android or iOS platform, there are apps for that. MailChimp’s free tier is good for up to 2,000 email accounts and 12,000 emails per month. This is more than generous for many small businesses, and an upgrade of $10 a month expands your limit by another 500 email IDs and unlimited mails.
Mad Mimi (madmimi.com) has a free plan that gives you up to 2,500 contacts and 12,500 emails. But there’s a catch: you get no support (though you do get access to the help pages). But then Mad Mimi has a brilliant interface, such that even technologically challenged users will find it a breeze to create audience lists and compose newsletters.
The Mad Mimi composer lets you choose from a variety of themes or create your own. Drag and drop images and use some very intuitive text and formatting buttons to get things exactly how you need in your newsletter. You can’t use custom HTML or create a textonly newsletter in the free version, however. Go to the Audience tab in the dashboard to start add email contacts. It is possible to create multiple lists, and Mad Mimi also maintains an automatic signups list. Other features include web forms for your website, multiuser accounts, analytics, RSStoemail, social networking links, integration with webbased services like Survey Monkey, Freshbooks, Etsy, Zoho, and a subscription manager. You can turn these addins and more on and off from the Add Things page.
Do it yourself
For techsavvy webmasters and mistresses who want a more hands on solution, the free and open source newsletter manager phpList (phplist.com) is the perfect answer. Try out a demo at phplist.com/demo first. You can either download and install it on your web server or opt for a plan hosted on phplist.com (free for up to 300 messages per month). Though there are definite advantages to having your own mailing list manager, it isn’t recommended to try this unless you have some experience in administering websites and working with PHP and HTML. Of course, we’ve just scratched the surface with these options. There are excellent paid services available, such as Campaign Monitor, iContact, Aweber and Campayn. zz
(The author is a freelance