Although I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post, I only recommend those that I personally use or have thoroughly researched.
Price vs. Power: Choosing Your Mailing List Provider
Aside from time & location freedom, the biggest benefit to starting an online business is the lack of start-up funds required. You don’t have to buy inventory to stock a store, you don’t have to spend a lot on equipment (I got this desk at Amazon for under $30 – but it is so cute!), & you don’t have to shell out cash for employees & insurance & all those other costs associated with brick and mortar businesses.
But being too focused on that low-cost mentality can cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture, too.
While it is possible to start a business without spending any money at all, it’s truly not a good idea. Your free hosting account will no doubt have downtime issues & support issues not to mention the mess of ads they’ll serve up to your visitors! Social media accounts are great, but what happens if your account gets locked or deleted? All of your contacts are GONE!
So, while bootstrapping your business is a good thing, making business decisions based solely on cost is not.
Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to choosing an email list provider.
Here’s the biggest problem you may see with low-cost providers: deliverability. Email services such as Yahoo, Gmail, & others vigorously defend their users’ accounts against spam & will often mark your legitimate email as spam, simply based on the IP address it originates from.
Larger email service providers have the resources to fight these false spam reports & keep your deliverability rates high. That’s what their users are paying for. But if you were to choose a free or low-cost provider, you might get sent straight to spam. Over time, you’ll see your email deliverability rates plummet!
Deliverability aside, many lower priced providers can afford to charge lower rates because they limit the features available. For example, you might only be able to collect 500 addresses before being upcharged, or you may only be able to send a certain number of emails each month. Even worse, you may not be able to segment your list or automate your emails without incurring extra fees – if they even offer that option at all!.
Before you make the impulse decision to use a low-priced or free email provider, be sure you fully understand the limitations of the account. While some limits might be okay with you, others might put a serious cramp in your business-building efforts & journey to a new lifestyle.
I used MailChimp for about a week before deciding to switch to ConvertKit in order to have access to their features. They even offer great getting started tutorials on their website, free of charge, along with One Month Free for New Users!
Finally, keep in mind that changing providers later (when you’re “ready”) can be a huge undertaking.
You’ll have multiple landing pages & opt-in forms to edit, connections with your shopping cart, webinar host, social media accounts, & countless other integrations to deal with. Hopefully you’ll have a big list of names to import to your new provider, many of which could either opt-out or be marked as undeliverable at your new host.
Rather than go through all that trouble, the best option is to choose the right provider from the start, & if cost is an issue, create a plan to cover the expense instead of settling for the wrong service.