My vote is for MailChimp. I like their brand and like the fact that sending emails for them is super cool and fun. It shows in the way that they brand and "sell" their site.
Currently their free plan is 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails sent a month. You could send 6 email blasts a month if you wanted and not have to buy anything. I like the fact that they offer a really impressive set of webinars and resources for you to learn how to more effectively use your email marketing. Their reporting is robust and you can even pay to integrate your mailing list with facebook to really get some customer data.
It's because their free plan is so great I advise everyone to use MailChimp. Why pay $15 a month with Constant Contact when you can get the same thing for free? Lastly and further, their customer support is top notch and they are very helpful whenever you need them.
Thanks for this. I sent it along to my mother for her chocolate reseller business since she has been looking for a way to better manage her newsletter efforts.
Kent, I just changed from Aweber over to iContact (Justin's fault).
Aweber is VERY geared towards affiliate marketing and not so YOU can track your own sales but so YOUR AFFILIATES (and you don't have any that I know of) can see THEIR OWN stats.
I've used Aweber since before last Christmas (2010) and I found the template function to be super annoying. Plus there is no free version of Aweber.
iContact does have a free version so sign up for it right now and look around.
So far I love iContact. The templates are very easy to use. You can upload your own graphics so it's real easy to put in your logo or a header.
Scheduling delivery is simpler than Aweber BUT you can't send an email to something as simple as 'today's new subscribers' or anything, which can be a pain if you have an event going and someone signs up at the last minute. You just have to send them an email using your email client.
Now, I [just changed] to iContact this week so I've got more to learn. So far I'm really loving it, though.
I have been really struggling with where & how to begin promoting the blogs I have & want to start. I have also fought the use of online marketing, but Dan's recent article, along with reconnecting with some friends of mine, helped pushed me off that rock.
I don't know much about any of these sites, but the friends I mentioned above, Brian Rooney & Stephen Hambright, have been in the business of providing email & marketing services since 2000.
I am really impressed with the changes they have made over the past 6 years. It may not be what you are looking for but for those currently on a tight budget, TrafficWave.net can be a remarkable asset. I know these guys personally and, as such, hold them in high regard. Their site is www.trafficwave.net.
TrafficWave offers a 30 Day Free Trial with full access including unlimited autoresponders and are in the process of adding more options. They do require your email lists to confirm in accordance to enforcing their strict No SPAM policy.
The flat cost of membership (which hasn't changed since 2003) with unlimited autoresponders, is $17.95 a month. Online support is available for those who encounter software issues or get stuck while working through the training articles.
TrafficWave.net also offers an excellent affiliate/referral program for anyone who is interested
Training Articles for each area are so well written, that even those with little computer experience will be able to set up their own email marketing program. With concentrated effort, a lot can be accomplished within the first 30 days.
Like some of the other sites, mentioned, TrafficWave.net provides option for uploading your own graphics & more.
Here's another suggestion: I have been using AutoResponsePlus, which resides on my server -- no monthly fee. The newest version, which is supposed to be released March 19, will make it easy to link to Amazon's SES mailing system -- very inexpensive and high deliverability. http://autoresponseplus.com
Joan...I checked out the link, but all the "clicks" on the site weren't "clickable."