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which email marketing service should I use? icontact, aweber, get response

Discussion in 'General Business' started by jingCo, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. #1
    I am contemplating an email marketing service. I don't want to host my own because their IPs are white listed.

    I'll probably send out 3 to 4 emails a year and don't foresee sending more than 6 /year in the next 3 years. And I need something to integrate well with my ecommerce and provide the proper stats.

    what do you guys recommend? I'm thinking of iContact because of their lower cost but I want something scalable for the future and don't want to go through the double opt for the second time.
     
    jingCo, Jun 7, 2008 IP
  2. pwebbiz

    pwebbiz Peon

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    #2
    Hey,

    The most commonly used is Aweber - I'm told they have excellent service. GetRespose is a great runner up. I know there is some controversey over a change in aweber pricing so make sure you look out for that.

    Personally I use http://unselfishcontactor.com and love it. Few people use it, but it's incredibly reliable.
     
    pwebbiz, Jun 7, 2008 IP
  3. mentos

    mentos Notable Member

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    #3
    Go for aweber.
    Its most reliable company i ever used
     
    mentos, Jun 8, 2008 IP
  4. You

    You Banned

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    #4
    iContact is pretty good. I think their UI is better than both aweber and webresponse. The only problem is that iContact is much more expensive in terms of how big your list is going to be. They start lower than aweber and gr, but when you increase, it gets more expensive, and it's still limited (I think both aweber and gr have unlimited contacts).

    You should try iContact's free trial to see if you like it. I think it lasts 14 days, but when it's over, 2 days later they offer to extend your trial another 14 days :)
     
    You, Jun 8, 2008 IP
  5. locdev

    locdev Active Member

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    #5
    just some words against servicies or why your own hosted solution is better:
    so with a service:
    1. You need to follow their rules. e.g. send confirmation emails, remove old non active contacts etc...
    2. They all are "shared" solutions one IP is used for many clients so all are blocked if one is blocked (e.g. by ISP source mail IP )
    3. Security!!! it is better not to give your list to 3d party companies ;) Just as an example (I don't know if it is a true story I just googled it as I know such incidents are possible and IMHO they are not responsible for loss of your contacts or information): http://www.lizjamieson.co.uk/2007/12/12/is-it-the-support-people-or-is-it-me/
    4. Price. your own solution should be cheaper in long run.
    6. Customization. If you develop the software yourself or use one with the rich API you have more extensibility options.

    This are just the most obviouse. Sure there are cons but you already know them I guess :)
     
    locdev, Jun 9, 2008 IP
  6. xmartel

    xmartel Active Member

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    #6
    Aweber is by far the best, most people use them. Check my sig.
     
    xmartel, Jun 9, 2008 IP
  7. jingCo

    jingCo Active Member

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    #7
    i think we might have some biased opinions here...
     
    jingCo, Jun 11, 2008 IP
  8. coffeesonnow

    coffeesonnow Peon

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    #8
    coffeesonnow, Jun 11, 2008 IP
  9. webgal

    webgal Peon

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    #9
    I like phplist. It's free open source. It doesn't have as intuitive an interface as some but if you do mostly text emails, you should be able to utilize it. There is a bit of a learning curve but I really like it and I like that I have more autonomy than with the subscription programs.

    I go over some programs and email resources pros and cons at the bottom of this blog post. Scroll to the bottom.

    Tips on improving your email open rates

    I hope that helps.
     
    webgal, Jun 11, 2008 IP
  10. stormyweather

    stormyweather Peon

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    #10
    Just to reply to locdev above - that is my blog post that is referred to and the story I posted about iContact is true.

    I still have one client using iContact but am about to move him to aweber. Everyone else I deal with is now on aweber.

    Although I thought iContact were good on first impression, I was wrong. Their support staff are not very good and if you are a technical person, you'll know more about software than they do. Which means you end up in conversations where you are suggesting good ideas for them to try to help sort out your problem, and they won't understand so they just repeat standard stock phrases at you. You would be forgiven for thinking they are not real people.

    The main issue with the software I found was that their double opt in (which is essential to use), doesn't work 100% of the time, and no end of alerting their support staff would result in a fix.

    What happens is, you have double opt in turned on, you watch the people sign up for newsletters and the double opt in list grows and shrinks as more people sign up and most of them accept the double opt in, so their names are automatically removed from the double opt in list and go over into the confirmed subscriber list.

    But after a few days you notice that some people having signed up their status never moves into the "double opt in sent" status - in other words they are never sent a double opt in, so they never receive a confirmation email so they don't end up as confirmed subscribers. In fact they are probably left wondering why they never receive anything ever from you, let alone a newsletter.

    This pile of people who are stuck in double opt in limbo grows over time so you have to go and manually send them a double opt in. Which defeats the point of having an automatic system for dealing with newsletter subscribers.

    I explained this - demonstrated the problem - spoke to support people at iContact until I was blue, but the only solution ever proposed was this.

    "Remove the double opt in". That I am afraid was their final response. In the end it was the only thing I could do - so then when I tried to move the list to aweber they wouldn't accept the list as is, because some of the people on it had not been previously double opted in.

    It's actually worse than this, but I don't want to bore you with any more iContact meanderings. Suffice to say, if you want to use a third party (and there are good reasons to do so), use aweber.
     
    stormyweather, Jun 11, 2008 IP
  11. nshadab

    nshadab Well-Known Member

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    #11
    I also recommend you aweber. Go for it. Nice features.
     
    nshadab, Jun 11, 2008 IP
  12. proson

    proson Active Member

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    #12
    how large is your customer database? and what kind of hosting your are using? I mean shared hosting, dedicated or? the reasons I ask is if you are sending 3-4 per year and your database is 200- then you can use your responder that most hostors provide. One problem with professional autoresponder services like getresponse, aweber, when you import your customers or subscribers base , they need your imported contact to re-confirm that you are allowed to send them emails. But I can tell you, mostly they don't.

    I tried get response and they do need your list to reconfirm... same as aweber and many others so be warned.

    one way to get around. host your own one if you have a large base or use the hostor one..
     
    proson, Jun 12, 2008 IP
  13. locdev

    locdev Active Member

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    #13
    All people here recommend Aweber even after they increased their prices.....
    Do you really like them acting like that?

    IMHO aweber is good only if you fit their lowerest plan 501 - 2,500 $29
     
    locdev, Jun 12, 2008 IP
  14. stormyweather

    stormyweather Peon

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    #14
    If you are already signed up with them, you can keep the original price if you choose not to upgrade. If you are new, they still offer reasonable pricing for the small lists. Hopefully if your list is working for you, as it grows it should make you more money, so the price should become affordable. It is the quality of their offering that is important to me. I've wasted many hours with iContact (for example) so their cheap service was in reality, expensive.

    That's not to say there are not other services that are good that are cheaper than aweber, it is just that I don't want to try anyone else out in case they turn out to be rubbish in the long run. An email service only shows its shortcomings when you push hundreds of names through it. So its not easy to test out with just a few dummy names - its not like say testing out a new graphics program and deciding you don't like it. In that case you've only wasted a couple of hours. With an email marketing service that goes wrong it wastes time, money and causes embarrassment. So for me, it is worth it.
     
    stormyweather, Jun 12, 2008 IP
  15. mayanksabharwal

    mayanksabharwal Banned

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    #15
    i like intellicontact or verticalresponse
     
    mayanksabharwal, Jun 12, 2008 IP
  16. stormyweather

    stormyweather Peon

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    #16
    intellicontact was re-branded and became . . . iContact.
     
    stormyweather, Jun 12, 2008 IP
  17. jingCo

    jingCo Active Member

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    #17
    Even if your list is double opt in don't you have to reconfirm when you move it?
     
    jingCo, Jun 12, 2008 IP
  18. jingCo

    jingCo Active Member

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    #18
    I signed up for GetResponse, Aweber costs too much as you more up. And GetResponse sends to be as good as Aweber.
     
    jingCo, Jun 12, 2008 IP
  19. dynashox

    dynashox Premium Member Staff

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    #19
    After Aweber raising their monthly price, I think Getresponse is the best choice out there.
     
    dynashox, Jun 13, 2008 IP
  20. stormyweather

    stormyweather Peon

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    #20
    Yes you are right. But I spoke to aweber about it, and their first response was I would have to do all the double opt ins again if I moved to their service. But when I insisted that some of my list had been already double opted in, they said well, if you can prove it, we will let the list through.

    It was at that point I went to iContact's dashboard and wondered how on earth to prove which ones had been double opted in, and which ones had not. I couldn't - I knew they had the data but were not exposing it via the dashboard.

    So I asked iContact support for a report showing me who had double opted in, and they were reluctant to give it to me. Eventually they did, but for some reason only addressed a small portion of my list by sign up date and not the dates when most of the list had in fact, double opted in.

    When I emailed them back and asked them to re-run the report to include all the dates I needed, they ignored my email. I never got a response.
     
    stormyweather, Jun 13, 2008 IP