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Recommended Host for Announcement Lists
Announcement lists, or newsletters, are an excellent way to communicate with your customers. Pretty much all hosting companies provide some basic mailing list functionality. But if announcement lists are going to be an important part of your online business, you will probably want to use a more advanced system like Dada Mail or phpList -- or for very demanding work -- a commercial product. We recommend iPage for announcement lists hosting.
What are Announcement Lists?
Announcement Lists, often called newsletters, are a type of one-way electronic mailing list most typically used for marketing and email purposes. Managed by email list software, they make it simple for organizations to communicate with large groups of people quickly and inexpensively.
Originating with an authorized sender or senders, messages sent to addresses on announcement lists may convey immediate alerts, special offers, newsletters, or any other widely relevant content. Recipients will not see the names or addresses of other list members, and are discouraged from responding directly to the message. Ideally, recipients chose to be on the announcement list, and have the option to unsubscribe or alter their settings at any time.
What are Announcement Lists used for?
Companies of any size can benefit from the use of a quality, customizable announcement list management program. As a form of direct marketing, announcement lists allow businesses to speak directly to their customers, and also collect data on the responses to individual messages and larger campaigns. Additionally, the software will automatically process delivery errors. One example of customization is the integration of a database, letting senders personalize messages with recipients' names.
Several hosting companies feature mailing list services for their account holders. Content management systems like WordPress might offer plugins to assist you in list creation. You can also develop and manage announcement lists with software purchased or downloaded from one of many online companies, who will host the program themselves. In another vein, some sites will archive your lists for free, though they won't provide any hosting. Your selection should hinge on how well a particular software meets your needs, as well as your capabilities for integration and HyperText Markup Language (HTML) coding.
What are some popular Announcement List applications?
There are lots of Announcement List applications that offer a combination of features and services. For small mailing lists one option is to use a Mailing List or Announcement List feature offered by your hosting provider. Many hosting providers offer the ability to build an email list so that after you've created the list once, you can easily send an email to several recipients at once. Typically these services are fairly basic and not feature-rich. So if you're looking for a robust Announcement List management application keep reading.
If you're looking for more than what is offered by your hosting provider there are many other options available. Some options are designed to be installed on your hosting account. Others operate in the cloud, or as an integration into your website CMS (such as a WordPress plugin). There are so many options available for Announcement List management that we can't possibly talk about them all, but we will hit the high points and talk about some of the most popular options.
One popular application for management of Announcement Lists is Dada Mail. Dada Mail is designed to be installed on a web server, and can even be used with a shared server hosting account, but check with your hosting provider before using Dada Mail as some may require that you purchase a dedicated IP address for large mailing lists. The basic version of Dada Mail is free, but there are upgraded versions if you don't see the features you're looking for in the free version.
Mail Chimp is one of the most powerful and intuitive applications available for creating beautiful HTML newsletters. Mail Chimp makes it easy to craft beautiful messages that look and feel like websites, and not like newsletters. It's also easy to build your subscribers list with Mail Chimp by using their easy integration with WordPress, Salesforce, Magento, Google, Drupal, Shopify, and many other services you may already be using. Mail Chimp is a cloud-based application, so you don't even have to think about installation of the application, and is free for distribution lists with less than 2000 subscribers.
Constant Contact is one of the main competitors to Mail Chimp. Constant Contact also makes it easy to craft beautiful HTML messages, and offers deep integration with applications and services you are probably already using. In addition, Constant Contact is also cloud-based. Constant Contact only offers a free level of service on a short trial basis, but where it outshines Mail Chimp is in customer support. While Mail Chimp users are primarily supported by an online Knowledge Base, chat, and email support (chat and email available for paying customers). Constant Contact customers adds-on phone during extended business hours, and a large bevy of resources including forums, video tutorials, and even local seminars and email boot camps.
A third popular competitor to Constant Contact and Mail Chimp is AWeber. AWeber matches many of the features offered by both Constant Contact and Mail Chimp, but some have criticized AWeber as being less customization-friendly than the competition. Where AWeber stands out is in it's user statistics. All of these services will give you information about the number of subscribers who opened your emails, but AWeber provides more details than the rest. AWeber also take a page from the Constant Contact playbook and offers email and phone support during the business day.
Announcement Lists Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make sure my email notifications aren't considered spam by the subscribers email program?
There's no completely fool-proof way to do this other than for your subscribers to add your email address as an approved sender. The best way to get subscribers to do that is to only send truly compelling content, and then ask them to add your address to their contacts or approved sender list. Some Announcement List services have spam checking tools to help you minimize issues that might cause your email to be categorized as spam. By providing compelling content, and using available spam checking tools, you'll be doing what you can to make sure your subscribers receive your newsletter.
How do I know if my email marketing campaign is successful?
You should review the statistics about open rates, bounce rates, clicks, and opt-outs provided by your Announcement List solution provider. Every industry is different, but generally speaking if you're seeing open rates around 20-30%, bounce rates of less than 10%, around a 10% click rate, and less than a 1% opt-out rate then your campaign is meeting normal success rates. If your rates are better than those, you're doing great.
When should I send my email marketing newsletter?
The answer to that question will vary by industry, but for most industries you'll do best by sending your email early in the week (Monday or Tuesday) and pretty early in the morning (between 6 and 8 a.m.). The biggest exception to this would be if you're emailing about things that will take place over the weekend such as a religious meeting or crafts/hobbies.
Can I use a whitelist mail distributor?
Whitelist mail distributors make agreements with internet service providers to pay high fines should opt-in subscribers to your emails complain that the messages are spam. Whitelist mail distributors are intended for official business use only, and not for email of marketing or promotional materials. Generally speaking whitelisting is only applicable to individual emails, and not to newsletters. So if you're a Doctor and want to make sure a patient receives an official notification, then it's likely a whitelist service would work for you. However, if you're a retailer and you want to make sure your customers know about your sale this weekend, you won't be eligible for whitelisting.
Should I let email list subscribers remove themselves from my mailing list?
Absolutely. If you don't it's likely many receivers will mark your correspondence as spam which will hurt your ability to reach other customers who receive email through the same ISP. Offering subscribers the ability to unsubscribe is not just good etiquette, it's good business.