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Social media like Twitter and Facebook seem to have taken the place of email to communicate with an audience. However, social media cannot be relied on to display information or notifications to our audience. Email is great for this purpose, and is just another way to assure that your message is being heard. It may seem simple to setup a newsletter list. All that is needed is a website form, and a database to store emails. But how do you send an email to everybody at once?
Three Common Options to Send Email
There are three common options to send emails to mailing lists.
- Bulk mailing software: Send email from a program on any computer. Emails sent will use your email provider and address. However, it may not be possible to send many emails from free email providers. Gmail limit the amount of email that can be sent daily (eg. 100).
- Website servers: Send email from hosted server, such as your website server. However, this depends on whether it is permitted by the server host. Often, this is not permitted in order to prevent the sending of spam email (from compromised websites). Email providers such as Outlook and Gmail may also block email from website hosts.
- Email marketing services: Send email from a dedicated email server, like using the postal service. Email services are monitored for spam activity, and are trusted by email providers such as Outlook and Gmail. Email services also provide marketing and analytics tools, so it is possible to confirm emails are read. Website forms and database storage is provided by these services for you.
Email marketing services are the best option for reliably sending email. There are two types of services: transactional email and bulk email. Transactional email is sent when a user on your website takes action, like registering to the website and receiving a verification email. Bulk email is used for newsletters and marketing, which is the main topic of this post.
The 'King' of Marketing Email
Mailchimp is often considered the king of marketing services and the most feature-rich. It is however the most expensive option available, and is only included here for comparison. Mailchimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails monthly. However, a registered business address (or P.O Box) is required due to the CAN-SPAM Act, which is shown to subscribers. This may be an additional cost for freelancers who have to buy an address. After the free limit, the email-to-subscriber cost ratio is extremely expensive. The monthly cost of unlimited emails for up to only 500 subscribers is $10, or $30 for up to 2,500 subscribers. For Pay As You Go, 1,000 emails is $30.
Affordable Email Marketing Services
Every service here offers similar marketing and analytics features to each other, and Mailchimp. There are different workflows and finer details that you will need to research for your marketing campaign. Here, cost affordability is the highest priority, especially for startups and freelancers. Payment plans are usually monthly, but may have Pay As You Go (PAYG). Like Mailchimp, the cost of these services are relative to the number of email subscribers, or emails sent monthly. For startups and freelancers, the PAYG payment option may be cheaper.
Email Octopus is perhaps the rival king in email marketing. There is a free plan up to 2,500 subscribers. After which, monthly plans start at $19/mo for up to 10,000 subscribers and there are no PAYG options.
Sendinblue is free up to 9,000 emails for unlimited subscribers, with a daily sending limit. Monthly plans start at $25 after that, for up to 40,000 emails, and no daily sending limit. There is no PAYG option.
MooSend is free for 3 months, for up to 5,000 subscribers and unlimited emails. For new startups, there is a free account for 6 months. Afterwards, it is $10/mo for up to 5,000 subscribers. For PAYG, 1,000 emails costs $3, or 40,000 emails costs $150.
PhpList is free for up to 300 emails monthly and unlimited subscribers. There are no PAYG options, only monthly, which starts at $1. The $1/mo plan allows the sending of up to 9,000 emails for up to 3,000 subscribers. For $5, there is an option for up to 2,000 emails/mo and unlimited subscribers.
Mailchimp’s competitors are affordable, flexible, and provides enough functionality to start creating and sending emails. Mailchimp has a far higher cost which does not seem warranted. MooSend in particular seems to be the best, providing a clean interface and a freelancer-friendly PAYG payment plan.