Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where's my email? Part 3

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know this post is late. I got caught up in a lot of work at the office. But I still keptmy promise of posting from Monday to Friday. 8-)

Ok, let's start this post by asking a question which I think has been going through your mind since i started this series: "What paid software do you use for sending your email?

We currently use the services of Constant Contact ( I started with a trial account a few years ago where they let me use the system as long as I had less than a 100 people in the mailing list. Anyway, I was drawn to the fact that they have a reporting system on how many people opened the email, how many people clicked and what link they clicked, etc.

The system also provided me with a better way to manage the contacts we accumulate. They provided me with code so that you can put a form in your webpage and it would automatically update the contacts database in your account. Cool!

Before I used this system, I used what is supposed to be a "cheaper" method. I bought a software called "Mail Bomber". Since I was the geeky type, it seemed not a problem for me--until I was managing various lists with thousands of addresses. Also, you needed to paste HTML code that made up your email to the program. This code is passed on to me by a website programmer when he lays out the email. I paid the guy 250 pesos for each email he coded for me. Oh, did I mention the guy lived in Pampanga? And I was in Makati. Sure, we emailed. But he was not home all the time. He was working on other projects. I was the only one who worked with him in the office and understood how thing worked. It got tiresome, and it was not that "cheap."

So I went back to my trial account at Constant Contact, which already expired, and proposed to my boss that we really needed to switch to this system. After I got it approved, I upgraded the account to the paid service, showed it to one of our staff and asked her to learn it, which did not take that long. And it's now out of my way. I was able to delegate it to someone else!

Just recently, I got the code to put a form on our webpage and it has been doing the job of updating our contact database. For many months, my staff manually entered the email addresses that we collected, which is well over a thousand new addresses. I did not understand the code earlier so I hesitated to use it, I should have done it earlier and saved myself a lot of time.

Now, with Constant Contact, I know how many opened our email (our average is between 16% - 20%). I can find out who opened it and what links they clicked. We have at least 15% of the list clicking a link in the email. I find out how many addresses are "bouncing" and why. So I have it proven to be very useful.

Do I recommend that you use it? Hmmm, that's a tough one. Maybe you need to go to a paid service if:

1. You are emailing to over 500 addresses
2. You need to do something else better rather than mess around with kludgy email software
3. You have a global audience (OFWs, Filipino migrants, etc.)
4. You have to turn over the work to a non-technical person
5. You can afford to pay anwhere from 1,800 to 3,500 a month

If you answered "YES" to all of that, then, please subscribe to a service (if you let me refer you to, our account will get a $30 rebate). If you said "NO" to at least to items, then think about, pray about it.

Until tomorow (hopefully earlier), God bless!

P.S. I also heard about, so you can compare services. BTW, I finished writing this at 11:41 pm, Manila time, so this means I did not miss my deadline. 8-))

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