I’ve had several people ask me recently about my thoughts on email as a social / new media / business tool. Email is the “killer” app of our age. When grand-parents are comfortable emailing pictures and stories around the world, no one can question the efficacy of email as a communication tool.
When you start emailing larger and larger groups, the list management can become quite a problem. That’s where the email service providers (ESPs) step in. As with most things, there are a range of prices for a range of services. Here is a list of a few that I am familiar with.
Cheetahmail, at the top of the list, is an enterprise solution. Some of its customers include Sears, Borders Books, H&R Block, and even some airlines. You can see by the brands, millions of customers means millions of emails. Cheetahmail uses robust systems to ensure the delivery of those millions of emails while providing dynamic creation tools, specialized segmentation tools, and powerful administrative, management, and reporting capabilities. Cheetahmail has a full service staff able to help with dynamic content creation, creative material creation.
Blue Sky Factory and Emma are more of a “boutique shop” provider. They will provide highly personalized service at a medium price for a mid-size email list.
I will clump Constant Contact, iContact, and Aweber togather in the bottom tier. They are very much a “self-service” providers. This doesn’t mean their services won’t provide a very useful improvement over a Google or Yahoo group email list. Some of these lower tier services will allow unlimited emails for a fixed cost per month. I know many people who are happy with these services.
In a future post, I’ll explain what these Email Service Providers actually do for you.