Sending out an e-newsletter – email marketing options for your small business

by on May 8, 2014

Sending out an e-newsletter

When it comes to email marketing for your small business, you have so many options available to you. Once you’ve decided that you’re going to be sending out regular emails, you’ve got some stuff to figure out…

There’s plenty to think about.

Initially, you need to make the decision about how you will actually get the emails out and what email newsletter provider you will choose.

There are a ton of providers out there. I personally use AWeber  and have since I started my own list. I will get into why I chose AWeber, as well as share some insights into MailChimp, another very popular option. If you’re not sure about this email marketing thing and wondering if there’s any easier way to get your feet wet, scroll down to the end of the post.


I personally use AWeber  and always have. What I love about them:

  • Deliverability. They are considered the top dog in the industry when it comes to getting that email into the inbox. They are a highly reputable and trusted emailer. In other words, your emails get to people!
  • Their support is really amazing. I’ve had so many first hand experiences where I found they really went above and beyond. Fast, helpful and great to have them on your side!
  • So much functionality. Really good tracking, data and testing abilities. One of my favourites is being able to test out how different email sign-up forms convert.

If you know that you’re going to be doing email marketing and you’re committed to it, or you already have a pretty substantial database, in my opinion it just makes sense to go with the provider that you know you will want to use for the long run. Yes, you can always switch providers, but that’s extra work that perhaps you’d like to avoid. That’s why I decided to go with AWeber right off the bat.


Mailchimp  is a very popular email marketing option. Their brand is fun. Their system is easy to use.

What gets most people in the door is that you can use their service for free until you hit 2,000 subscribers. I remember when their free plans only allowed for 500 subscribers, but I guess they realized just how enticing this free offer is. Free is great, but remember, you get what you pay for. There are certain elements missing from the free service.

Once you get into the paid options, MailChimp at the lower end of number of subscribers does start out cheaper than AWeber, but as you get higher, the costs are pretty much on par with one another and as you get even higher, MailChimp does start to get a little pricier.

My MailChimp hesitations

  • The biggest downside I see to the free option is that you can’t send out an autoresponder series, in other words you can’t set up a series of emails that will automatically go out. So for example, you specialize in raw diets and your freebie to sign up for your list is a 7 day meal plan, with a new set of recipes going out every day. You can’t do that with the free MailChimp account. You can send a welcome email and then that’s it.
  • You are able to just upload whoever you want to your list and they’re on it. Of course, you’re supposed to play by the rules and only upload legitimate subscribers (ie. They AGREED to your emails). However, some business owners are very, very tempted to skirt around the rules or don’t take them as seriously as they should. The problem? If someone marks you as SPAM (which when you think about it if they didn’t agree to be on your list in the first place, there’s a pretty good chance of that happening, right?), then you’ve got some back-pedalling to do. MailChimp will suspend your account. You have to prove to them that you got these email addresses in a legit fashion. This happened to someone I know. It wasn’t pretty. This just doesn’t happen with AWeber because they pretty much force you into the double opt-in step (for your own good in my opinion).
  • I have definitely noticed that MailChimp emails have a greater likelihood of ending up in my junk folder.
  • This is a little nit-picky but you can’t test out your welcome email. When it comes to email marketing, I’m a spaz about testing each and every thing.

Still trying to decide between AWeber and Mailchimp?

There’s been tons of discussion about it, so head on over to Google and see what some others have said about it. We all run our businesses a little differently and have some different reasons for why we prefer one provider over another. If budget is an issue, then certainly you can start with Mailchimp. They offer a great service. You can always migrate somewhere else later.

What about other options?

There are a TON out there. I would be writing a book if I tried to go into all of them. I’ve listed 2 of the most popular ones that I personally am familiar with and have used. Feel free to ask around to see what other business owners you know use. Do some Googling. But remember, whatever you use isn’t set in stone. You are always able to switch around.

Here are some other popular options (but I haven’t used them myself so can’t vouch):

If you use an email newsletter service you love please share with us in the comments. Your recommendations and personal experiences are very valuable to us all!

Do I even need an email marketing provider? A simple way to get started.

If you’re just getting started with a blog and website, and thinking about maybe doing emails at some point in the future, it definitely makes sense to start collecting email addresses and building up your database.

BUT, you can’t just put a ‘sign up for my list’ form on your site and then not send anything. That’s a slap on the wrist!

So a great first step is to leverage your blog – use your blog posts as the content for your emails. It’s easy. It’s automatic (ie. once it’s set up, your blogs go out automatically, you don’t have to do anything). And you’re getting the ball rolling.

I used to recommend Google’s Feedburner for this. It was free and simple. However, it really seems like this product is going to disappear – at the very least they are no longer updating it or offering support, which doesn’t bode well. So I don’t recommend using it at this time. There are alternatives.

Both AWeber and Mailchimp (discussed above) offer the blog to email functionality. That’s one route.

I’ve never used Feedblitz myself, but it seems to be one of the most popular alternatives with many people raving about the quality of the service. They offer the automatic blog to email option, as well as just regular emailing. Pricing is comparable to other options, and starts cheaper than AWeber when you have smaller numbers – as your subscribers grow it gets very similar.

This article lists a TON of alternatives to Feedburner: Top Feedburner Alternatives.

Blogger Amy Lynn Andrews also suggests a few different alternatives to Feedburner in this post.

Need help with your email newsletter? Whether you just dread writing it or need someone to get it all set up for you, I can help! Just get in touch with me.

 What email marketing provider do you use and why? Meet you in the comments…

Image courtesy of: Stuart Miles/


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