Best Autoresponder to Use for Offline Clients?

50 replies
Hey Everyone!

I have always heard great things about Aweber which is what I have and have used for the past couple of years.

Primarily I like it because the email messages usually get through and that is what I am interested in.

Lately I am hearing that I should use other brand autoresponders.

Which autoresponder do you use and why do you think it is best when setting up opt-ins on a clients website?

Thank you for your thoughts and experience with this.

Randy
#autoresponder #clients #offline
  • Profile picture of the author freudianslip27
    Hi Randy,

    The thing that hurts Aweber is that they don't allow you to import your own emails (a big problem if you are working with offline clients and they have a collection of their customer's emails that they want to mail out).

    I run my own email server using smtp.com and Interspire, but I've heard good things about constant contact and they do allow the import.

    Matt
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    • Profile picture of the author HeyAdMan
      Originally Posted by freudianslip27 View Post

      Hi Randy,

      The thing that hurts Aweber is that they don't allow you to import your own emails (a big problem if you are working with offline clients and they have a collection of their customer's emails that they want to mail out).

      I run my own email server using smtp.com and Interspire, but I've heard good things about constant contact and they do allow the import.

      Matt

      Matt thank you for your reply.

      I see the point you are making but would like to look at this further. I know there are many ways to look at this and I am seeking out those ways (or actually the BEST possible solution for everyone).

      I'm just trying to look at this from every possible angle which is why I hope many will respond with many different experiences.

      One question comes to mind. How exactly did they initially collect their customers or prospects emails?

      Did they pay a printer to print up info gathering cards to be filled out and collected in a fishbowl, ballot box, waiter or waitress etc.?

      If they did that ... for the same money could they not have printed little cards with "Go to www.ourwebsite.com and subscribe to our list for upcoming events and specials. SAVE 50% on you next meal, oil change, hair styling, brain transplant (LOL), etc. when you subscribe".

      They spend the same money but don't create more work for themselves or their paid employees.

      Hey if I am a customer and I want whatever the company is offering ... I'm a big boy and I can just subscribe myself. If I don't want it ... it doesn't matter that some company subscribed me because I will just ignore or delete the email when it arrives.

      Am I that much different than other human beings in the way I am thinking about this?

      Again ... I am looking for a discussion on this to see if in the end ... anyone who switched from an Aweber (or comparable autoresponder) for say an "Constant Contact" or whatever other service that allows YOU or the Biz Owner" to have the extra work of importing emails. Doesn't seem like the best idea but again I don't know that for sure which is why I ask.

      Thank you again Matt and if you (or anyone else) have further thoughts based on my original question or my feedback I would love to explore that as well because I am seeking the best possible solution for my clients, myself and for anyone else who may be asking the same questions.

      Randy
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      Originally Posted by freudianslip27 View Post

      The thing that hurts Aweber is that they don't allow you to import your own emails (a big problem if you are working with offline clients and they have a collection of their customer's emails that they want to mail out).

      This is actually not true.

      If you have a list of email addresses that have been acquired legitimately you can contact Aweber support and explain where the list came from and they will allow you to import that list.

      Then they monitor spam complaints on the list to make sure they're within certain parameters.

      Depending on how you have your account setup subscribers will probably have to confirm their subscription (double optin).

      Aweber does seem to have the highest delivery rate of autoresponder services which becomes a HUGE issue once an email list gets into the multiple thousands in size.

      Put simply many solutions work really well when a list is under a few hundred subscribers but then the delivery rate plummets as the list gets bigger.

      A list where only a fraction of subscribers receive your emails is kind of pointless.

      So if you're dealing with larger lists you're probably going to have to use a premium service like Aweber.

      For tiny lists it's not such a huge issue although you should be aware of the various legal issues involving spam laws in various countries.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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      • Profile picture of the author duggydub
        I'm in the early days of setting up affilaite sites and a blog and have seen a lot of promotion of Aweber from bloggers and affilates alike (must check their comments now). Checking here on reports of their bad management and God like messing about with other peoples data does not entice me to now consider their service. Thanks for the other options folks. I will check them all out and keep monitoring this post.
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        • Profile picture of the author Quatrel
          Something you might want to think about, is that there are also a host of "private label" Aweber services on offer at lower prices ... like profollow.com etc.

          There are major differences in functionality though when it comes to the control panel , analytics and tracking.

          some time ago I wanted to know the differences and sent off an email to profollow (which is Jeff Walker's baby) and got answered by the Aweber support (as it is supposed to be) and basically got told that the standard Aweber package was better and up to date - the private label not ...

          Anyway, it is possible to "upgrade" from profollow to Aweber without jumping through the normal hoops you have to if you want to start with Aweber.
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  • Profile picture of the author MsMotivation1
    I use Constant Contact for my clients, but am about to switch over to iContact as I've heard really good things.

    I've heard that Aweber isn't good for offline clients because of the contact upload and opt in issues. Plus I still have to figure out how to design emails in there.

    Constant Contact and iContact make it really easy with their templates.

    Aweber probably has templates too, but I just haven't had time to look around in there and figure it out. LOL... I need to do that...
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  • Profile picture of the author Chad Heffelfinger
    As much as I love Aweber, it's true, the lack of an import feature is what hurts it for offline businesses. If the business already has contact information or if you want to be able to collect emails offline it won't work with Aweber. Constant Contact seems to be the way to go for offline clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author freudianslip27
    HeyAdMan,

    I am talking about emails that businesses already have. Take, care example, a salon. The receptionist is trained to get an email address for every new client they see. These emails often collect for years until someone like us steps in to help.

    With aweber, you can't just paste email addresses in, it automatically sends everyone an email stating "do you want to sign up to this list" which is terribly annoying to clients that a business has had for years.

    With Constant Contact (and iContact and many others) you can just load them up and go.

    Matt
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  • Profile picture of the author zkhan144
    Gentlemen, AWeber has templates n it allows importing - the only downside to importing, n I'm sure with other email solutions, once u import AWeber will send an email out to your newly imported list for them to opt-in - if they don't opt-in, u lose that original subscriber. Btw, if u have ~ 1000 emails u r importing expect a very small percentage to opt-in, hence, tis always best to do the email capture right the 1st time around :-)

    Most people who outgrow AWeber, tend to gravitate to InfusionSoft, Marketing Automation for Small Business | Infusionsoft ... this is what I've seen so far.
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  • Profile picture of the author freudianslip27
    Yes, and that is one distinct advantage of constant contact, they don't send out an email when you load contacts in, they just let you add them

    Matt
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  • Profile picture of the author HeyAdMan
    Yep ... this is just ONE of the things I like about the WF.

    You meet some of the finest people who willingly offer up their experiences to help one another.

    OK ... I will now take a closer look at Constant Contact, iContact and my other options.

    Thank you all for you helpful input and thoughts.

    You guys (and ladies) are the absolute best!

    Randy
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    • Profile picture of the author southwestjoe
      I've heard some great things about Constant Contact, iContact and certainly Infusionsoft (for giant lists) but I haven't used any of them. I've always used Aweber which I'm happy with, but then again my lists are rather small and easily managed with it.

      Unfortunately, Aweber doesn't allow you to import your own emails so that does present a problem. One workaround to this would be to have your subscribers subscribe themselves to a new list of yours. Let me explain...

      You have your "List A" subscribers and for whatever reason you want to move them to another list (we'll call it "List B"). Blast an email to all of your "List A" subscribers that you need to close the list for whatever reason, but as valued customers you would like to "invite" them to opt in to your new list "List B". If they are loyal followers to begin with, you shouldn't have any problem getting them to subscribe to your new list. To further entice them, you could offer a simple "gift" (PDF, report or whatever) to get them to subscribe to your new list.

      It's a bit of a chore but you can let your subscribers "do the work" themselves. However, I'd really only employ this method if it's a one-time list change or if you could afford to potentially lose a few subscribers. For multiple list changes or a surefire way to keep all of your opt ins, I'd probably just go with a service like Infusionsoft.

      Anyway, just wanted to throw this out there. It worked for a buddy of mine so maybe the idea isn't all that crazy:p
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  • Profile picture of the author peter.max
    I use both Aweber and Constant Contact.

    I use Aweber for my personal lists, they are just way easier to use and their follow ups and broadcasts (autoresponder) are way easier and quicker.

    I also use Aweber for my customers where we do lead generation and we capture prospect information. Their sign forms are also way easier to use and set up.

    I then use Constant Contact for their Newsletters and correspondence as we can upload the emails from Aweber. When they run promo campaigns etc. I put an Aweber form in Constant Contact again and explain that they will have to opt in for the coupon, special offer etc. We then create targeted follow ups for that specific lists with upsells etc. in Aweber.

    Constant Contact started as a Newsletter service and Aweber as an autoresponder. If you combine them, you have a powerful system.

    I find Constant Contact is also a great product but it takes more time to put the newsletters etc. together. The advantage is that they look really professional. You can achieve most of this with each one individually but I find they dovetail nicely
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    • Profile picture of the author HeyAdMan
      Now this is an interesting twist.

      I am not certain I follow you on why you would need BOTH Constant Contact and Aweber?

      Can you not have multiple list within Constant Contact like we do with Aweber?

      Thanks Peter for sharing your thoughts here on this.

      Randy






      Originally Posted by peter.max View Post

      I use both Aweber and Constant Contact.

      I use Aweber for my personal lists, they are just way easier to use and their follow ups and broadcasts (autoresponder) are way easier and quicker.

      I also use Aweber for my customers where we do lead generation and we capture prospect information. Their sign forms are also way easier to use and set up.

      I then use Constant Contact for their Newsletters and correspondence as we can upload the emails from Aweber. When they run promo campaigns etc. I put an Aweber form in Constant Contact again and explain that they will have to opt in for the coupon, special offer etc. We then create targeted follow ups for that specific lists with upsells etc. in Aweber.

      Constant Contact started as a Newsletter service and Aweber as an autoresponder. If you combine them, you have a powerful system.

      I find Constant Contact is also a great product but it takes more time to put the newsletters etc. together. The advantage is that they look really professional. You can achieve most of this with each one individually but I find they dovetail nicely
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      • Profile picture of the author HeyAdMan
        Thanks for your thoughts Ryan!

        I too was thinking like you as far as Aweber is concerned but several people suggested other autoresponders for different reasons which prompted me to seek other people experience.

        Some are using several different autoresponders but if one will do what I need it to do I just do not see the sense in bringing on something else.

        I had always heard Aweber was the best in many aspects so that was what I started with and never even considered looking at anything else until recently. That being said I am still doing due diligence just in case.

        Thanks again for sharing your experience.

        Randy









        Originally Posted by healymedia View Post

        As some have mentioned, Aweber does allow you to import contacts, they just need to then confirm they want to be on your list. I don't necessarily think the confirmation with Aweber is that much of a bad thing.

        The benefit of the permission is in no way lost on "offline" marketing compared to "online" marketing. The point is the same, to get the clients permission to email them and to make sure the only people you're emailing are the ones who want to be on your list.

        Aweber allows you to write your own message for the opt-in confirmation email. If your list actually wants to get mail from you, and you explain to them clearly why they need to confirm that email, they will.

        If they don't, then they obviously don't want to receive mail from you, in which case why would you want to have them on your list driving up your costs?

        Offline is no different than online when it comes to a list. The goal should not just be as big a list as possible, it should be a well targeted, responsive list that want to get your messages.

        If you import your offline contacts into Aweber, the people who fit that description will not have a problem taking half a second to click that link.

        When you consider that, in conjunction with the low cost of Aweber, and most importantly, its incredible delivery rate, Aweber is still a very good choice.

        Remember, if your clients want to hear from you, they won't mind clicking that link once you've explained the opt-in to them. Anyone who does have a problem taking a second to click the confirm like probably didn't really want to give you their email address in the first place, which means they'll probably ignore your emails, which means they're probably a waste of space on your list.

        Cheers
        Ryan
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      • Profile picture of the author peter.max
        Originally Posted by HeyAdMan View Post

        Now this is an interesting twist.

        I am not certain I follow you on why you would need BOTH Constant Contact and Aweber?

        Can you not have multiple list within Constant Contact like we do with Aweber?

        Thanks Peter for sharing your thoughts here on this.

        Randy
        Randy

        You can have multiple lists in Constant Contact. It is just that it is much easier and quicker to create the optin form and set up the autoresponder sequence for new sign ups (especially doing lead generation). This is targeted based on the campaign that they sign up for (customised list messages)

        We then include/add them in the general newsletter in Constant Contact that is more corporate. I hope it makes a bit more sense
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        • Profile picture of the author HeyAdMan
          Thanks Peter for that clarification brother!

          Randy


          Originally Posted by peter.max View Post

          Randy

          You can have multiple lists in Constant Contact. It is just that it is much easier and quicker to create the optin form and set up the autoresponder sequence for new sign ups (especially doing lead generation). This is targeted based on the campaign that they sign up for (customised list messages)

          We then include/add them in the general newsletter in Constant Contact that is more corporate. I hope it makes a bit more sense
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  • Profile picture of the author Bayo
    I started off with getResponse for personal use and it was the natural choice when I started email marketing services for clients. After hearing a lot of good things about Aweber I also opened an accunt there to and also used it for client service work.

    Aweber seems to be a better tool than GetResponse due to many features and a personal preference, so Its what I supply to clients.

    I focus mainly on service clients, i.e. those who offer services themselves and a lot of them are pretty smart businesses who are good at what they do. So they ususally try to go the DIY route at times.

    When they get stuck, then they come asking for a monthly services (of which they have a choice of 12 months down to 3 at a minimum).

    So from a sellin perspective it's a great way to let clients know that it's an easy tool to use but not simple (for them at least).

    BAYO

    P.S. I use Aweber for my onw marketing too and I am giving up GetResponse at the end of this year.
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  • Profile picture of the author MWGrubb58
    It would be good to hear about iContact. I have used Aweber for years and enjoy the ease of use.

    peter has an interesting twist of the use of ConstantContact and Aweber. I'm going to check into that myself.

    Thanks for the thread.

    Millard
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  • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
    I used aweber for my own marketing but switched to mailchimp after I started getting offline clients. Super easy to use and they let you sign up your new clients without adding a credit card. You get your first 1,000 subscribers for free which is awesome! That means when you sign up a new client you can just set them up and not ask them for another $15-20 month until they build their list.
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  • Profile picture of the author ijohnson
    I use Aweber but this thread has gotten me thinking about checking out their competition! Aweber, are you listening?!?!?!!? There are some things you need to reconsider in order to keep your customers. :rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author Ian Harmon
    I've just started using iContact after using Aweber for years, I made this decision because of a): easier to manually import/add emails b) try out the competition.

    Only issue I've had so far is getting used to the interface after being with Aweber for so long.

    I especially like the Newsletter wizard which makes it super easy to create newsletters based on a broad variety of templates.

    I've not used it enough yet though to give an overall verdict, but so far so good.
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  • Profile picture of the author James Foster
    I think a better question is - do you already have clients?

    Spending time figuring out which AR to use, or what colors to make your business cards are just waste time and are reasons to procrastinate.

    The important things to focus on are the services you're selling (how do they benefit the customer) and how to get clients.

    Just about everything (including auto-responders) are going to have their pro's and con's - so it really doesn't matter which one you pick. Put the names of the biggies in a hat and pick one if you really can't decide.

    It's much less important that finding clients and getting paid.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
    Years ago all the different service providers seemed to have different feature sets so you had to pick the one with the features you wanted and hope the pricing was ok - but now they just about all offer the same features, the pricing is more or less the same (with the exception of mailchimp and their incredible free plan) and it really comes down to how well you like their interface and whether or not importing email lists is important to you.

    Constant Contact was the first service I ever used and loved them, but they didn't offer autoresponders at the time (they do now) so that prompted my switch to Aweber a few years ago.

    Since leaving Aweber a year ago due to their first security breach I was just about to come back and give them another shot...until their most recent breach this month has turned me off from them for good now.

    So for the past year or so I've been using Mailchimp which has a lot going for it, and my only gripe (if I can complain at all considering I'm using their free plan!) is that doing graphic signup forms seemed much easier in aweber.

    One option I haven't seen mentioned here is Campaign Monitor which might be worth looking into for some of you. Their primary benefit is that you can white label the service to allow your clients to do things themselves, or you can of course manage things for them. For years I just felt their pricing was out of line for the small business user, but with their new monthly plans they're comparable to the likes of constant contact and icontact etc...

    Almost all ESPs offer some kind a free trial though, so even if you have a service you're happy with, I think its a good ideal to try others out and see what they have to offer.

    Cheers,

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author DynamicIMS
    Thank you, I have been using AWEBER for a long time and struggling with options for uploading lists. I think I will try constant contact for the imports!
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  • Profile picture of the author Quatrel
    After seeing my email accounts filling up with spam because of the Aweber security breaches (I code all opt-ins), I am not going there again.

    Confusionsoft is also not a viable solution, unless you like spending hours setting up forms & processes.

    I am moving to AutoresponsePlus, so I have more control.
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  • Profile picture of the author BillM
    I have always thought aweber was the best until today when they purposely deleted list I have built for years. When I called in their reason was that if they decide they do not like the programs you're promoting, that they will delete your list and deactivate as well.

    It's sick that a company that has been paid every month for years can cause me hell like this. I am contacting my lawyer in the morning. The owner want to play judge and take the money for years and now screw good customers. I have never had one complaint.
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    • Profile picture of the author Lauryn
      Originally Posted by BillM View Post

      I have always thought aweber was the best until today when they purposely deleted list I have built for years. When I called in their reason was that if they decide they do not like the programs you're promoting, that they will delete your list and deactivate as well.

      It's sick that a company that has been paid every month for years can cause me hell like this. I am contacting my lawyer in the morning. The owner want to play judge and take the money for years and now screw good customers. I have never had one complaint.
      Wow that's somewhat disheartening. Isn't there anything that says they should contact you first? I just signed up with aweber.
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      • Profile picture of the author jdrohn74
        I am falling in love with Infusionsoft for offline clients actually. Been an Aweber user for years (and built some pretty big offline prospect lists with it) and there were issues with it.
        • I hated that I couldn't import prospects (like people I met at tradeshows or referrals)
        • I didn't like how I had to create a new list everytime I ran a new promo.
        There are a lot of offline folks who want info about a specific discipline, like SEO, but could also benefit from the occasional Facebook advertising email that I was sending out (which would be a different list).

        With IS, all it is is tags in the prospects profile.

        Granted, $199/month is rough for people who are just getting started, but close one client with it and it pays for itself.
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    • Profile picture of the author peter.max
      Originally Posted by BillM View Post

      I have always thought aweber was the best until today when they purposely deleted list I have built for years. When I called in their reason was that if they decide they do not like the programs you're promoting, that they will delete your list and deactivate as well.

      It's sick that a company that has been paid every month for years can cause me hell like this. I am contacting my lawyer in the morning. The owner want to play judge and take the money for years and now screw good customers. I have never had one complaint.
      I've always been a big Aweber supporter and have never had any issues, but if I can lose my lists at their discretion, then I'll have to consider other options. I've actually never thought of a Disaster Recovery Plan for my and my customers lists. I always assumed it will be there.
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      • Profile picture of the author BillM
        Originally Posted by peter.max View Post

        I've always been a big Aweber supporter and have never had any issues, but if I can lose my lists at their discretion, then I'll have to consider other options. I've actually never thought of a Disaster Recovery Plan for my and my customers lists. I always assumed it will be there.

        They do let you take your list, but it is still a nightmare having to switch and recode all your websites. And think of all the subscribers you lose asking them to optin again.

        Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author MWGrubb58
    Still would like to hear more about iContact.

    Even though I've used aWeber for years... With what I have heard here, I'm going to add another service where I can import my own names, etc.

    Thanks for the thread!
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  • Profile picture of the author Quatrel
    Peter,
    The risk is inherent in all hosted systems and it is really important to have a process that can back up and export the information on a daily basis. With Aweber a list export is fast. But the setups and all the sequences in the system also need to be secured.

    Sometimes this is not easy. Infusionsoft is a big perpetrator here in keeping your data a hostage and I left it because you had to go and program your own procedures with their API to ensure that your data is in fact yours and on your computer. Their support in the matter sucked though and a developer wanted an arm, leg and my left kidney for it.

    It is a nice system though, but they need a mindset change over there.

    I know of a few large Infusionsoft customers that live in fear of losing access to their data and have daily processes that back this up to them daily. Without the data you will be out of business overnight. People don't realise this.

    It angered me to no end when I realised that Infusionsoft had no facility to export my sequences and settings in order to move on.

    Getting married to the software vendor is ok - if you realise it from the start ... lol ...
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    • Profile picture of the author lovefreedom
      InfusionSoft, InfusionSoft, InfusionSoft
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  • Profile picture of the author Ryan Shaw
    constant contact is great and its so easy to use

    $20 per month.

    Also, if you want to create a survey, try SurveyMonkey: Free online survey software & questionnaire tool
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  • Profile picture of the author mcmillad
    I have used Aweber, but recently switched to constant contact. Importing an email was a big deal. What I haven't seen addressed is How well do the emails get through with some of these other companies. I am seeing MailChimp more and more, but how does the delivery compare to the likes of Aweber? Is there much of a difference?
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  • Profile picture of the author Roger Mayne
    I have recently been trying Email Marketing Software - YMLP (Your Mailing List Provider)(no aff link). Really cheap, first 1,000 message / contacts are free. Ability to import from mail clients (including Gmail, Hotmail etc), or upload CSV file.

    Really easy ot manage and compose newsletters (especially with the wizards). Easy sell to clients and they have an affiliate program built in.

    I've also found their delivery times really quick. Great tracking and Analytics integration.

    Also great functions like "Tell a Friend".

    Need I say more?? Go take a look. I'm currently using the free version, and there are NO embedded links for them, which I think MailChimp includes.
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  • Profile picture of the author jcwinter
    I would second checking out Campaign Monitor.

    With white labeling the entire thing it is also another way to speed up the automation of things if you set customers up with a template and a how to video so you don't have to personally be managing their newsletters every month, so you can take that time to spend on more important things.

    Plus, how huge of a reputation boost is it if you have your own email marketing service with your own website and everything?

    -HUGE-

    *Full disclosure, I have not started with them yet but have just recently settled on the fact that I will be using them. I just need to find time to get everything set up!
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  • Profile picture of the author deannatroupe
    I've been using getresponse with no trouble. There's even a plugin for easy integration with wordpress.
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  • Profile picture of the author NickMann
    Aweber for the client end...
    Good Result with Free Mail Chimp Too
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    Instant Professional Offline Video Marketing
    with our Done-For-You Agency Quality
    Video Ads in Lucrative Offline Niches
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  • Profile picture of the author HeyAdMan
    For all who think you can't import emails and names to Aweber this is what Aweber has to say:
    How Do I Import a List of Subscribers? :: AWeber Knowledge Base

    Seems simple enough to me should that need ever arise.

    Randy
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    Maximize Leads, Sales, Referrals, Donations, and Up-Sells!!! (USA Only)
    Inbox Me for a Special Link to Save 50%. http://www.BoostLeadsAndSales.com/

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  • Profile picture of the author russells
    I'm using Aweber! Can't beat 'em!
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    • Profile picture of the author John Callaghan
      icontact.com gets my vote and business. Fantastic autosresponder functionality, great tracking, and if I need to import a list I don't have to beg an arrogant support person (past issue with aweber support)
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      "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."
      from Invictus by William Ernest Henley

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  • Profile picture of the author ryanwsi
    I think the reason Aweber doesn't allow importing email contacts is that it can easily be abused. When abused what happens it that you can have a 100,000 list and blast your emails to them from Aweber. If it hasn't been spammed it would have been done already with Aweber. So for that matter, I would consider iContact.com or host in your own server, interspire.
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    • Profile picture of the author Debt Rx
      I prefer Constant Contact
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  • Profile picture of the author Yogini
    I'd like to continue this discussion with a few other concerns. A friend of mine used constant contact and had some complaints to his hosting company from people he had added for his newsletter via a seminar he gave. I have heard complaints to one's webhost can lead to warnings and then possibly a suspension of the site.

    Has anyone had a problem with this for a client (or themselves)? For instance, if you add someone to a newsletter from a fishbowl at their register (which said on it free coupons and updates) and it isn't double opt-in can there be problems? I am getting many newsletters from constant contact these days that I never signed up for so am thinking more and more offline businesses are doing this (either on their own or via someone they hired). It seems like it can create problems with one's webhost and I'm wondering about this.

    Debbie
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  • Profile picture of the author GCooper
    Great info, thanks everyone.

    -G
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