Bulk Email Autoresponder Alternatives

Let’s discuss about the different alternatives available for bulk email autoresponder. This topic was inspired by one of our members, Grow, who asked the following question:

“I have collected names, email addresses, some telephone numbers. How do I send info to them if I do not have any autoresponder? Thanks” – Glow

In general, there are 3 ways to send bulk emails. The 3 ways are:

1) Using a bulk email software – free or one time cost
2) Using a subscribed autoresponder service – monthly subscription
3) Installing your own autoresponder script – free or one time cost (but require premium hosting)

Today we’ll discuss how each of the bulk email autoresponder alternative works, and the pros and cons.

1) Using a bulk email software

A bulk email software is not really an autoresponder because you can’t schedule a series of automated email messages. However, it’s an easy way to send mass emails.

With a bulk email software such as WorldCast (free for non-commercial use), you can import a list of names and email addresses, and send personalized bulk emails to the recipients.

PROS: The software works from your computer. No server is required. It works like your email client such as Outlook or Thunderbird, except that it allows you to send personalized emails. Each recipient will receive a personalized email with his name and other customized info.

CONS: Mailing is done via your local ISP (internet service provider), such as AOL. If you mass mail to a huge list, you may get a warning email from your ISP. In the worst case scenario, your account may be suspended. But when I say huge, I’m talking about more than 10,000 people. If you only send to a few hundred people, it’s usually okay.

Remark: This is probably a good solution for Glow, since he has already collected a list of names and email addresses and simply need a cheap and easy solution to contact the list.

2) Using a subscribed autoresponder service

Another alternative is to subscribe to an autoresponder service. I believe many of you are familiar with such services.

For a monthly fee, you are given a certain capacity (in terms of the list size). You can schedule autoresponder messages and broadcast emails to your contacts. You can also set up the system to capture email address. This is what we call “opt-in list”.

PROS: The service is hosted with the service provider. So there is no need to worry about server issues. Also, it’s the upmost responsibility of the provider to maintain a good relationship with the different spam filtering systems in the market in order to ensure high delivery rate. As such, you can focus on building your business instead of solving technical issues.

CONS: It’s a monthly subscription service and there is “almost” no return! I say so because due to increasing spam, many premium autoresponder services do not allow users to import email list. This means you can’t simply move your list from one service to another. You should be mentally prepared to pay monthly fee of about $20 in long term.

3) Installing your own autoresponder script

Technically speaking, if you don’t want to pay someone $20 a month for an autoresponder service, you can install an autoresponder script to your server and run your own autoresponder system with the same features.

PROS: There is no recurring fee. You can go to www.hotscripts.com and search for some free or low cost autoresponder script. Our free M.Y.O.B list builder script also come with a complete autoresponder system.

Another advantage is that you have full control over your database, i.e. you can import any database into the system.

CONS: You need to install the autoresponder script in a premium server. Cheap hosting usually limits your mailing rate to 500 emails per hour to conserve its server resources. When I first started, I wasn’t aware of such rule and I sent 5000 emails in an hour. Needless to say, I soon got my hosting account suspended.

Another disadvantage of running your own autoresponder script is that you have to monitor the delivery rate of your emails and maintain a good relationship with the various spam filtering systems to prevent your server from being blocked.

Final Remark……

Regardless of what bulk email autoresponder alternative you use, remember not to spam. There are people selling email list. DO NOT buy those list! Most of them are useless and mass mailing to them will risk your account being suspended.

New Info Update……

After reading this post, a member emailed me asking this question:

“What are the names of the spam filtering systems and how does someone maintain a good relationship with them?”

I don’t have a list of spam filtering system. The most basic thing you should do is to have 3 email accounts (hotmail, yahoo and gmail) and make sure that you can deliver emails to these accounts. If any one fails to receive your email, search for the relevant guideline and do the necessary changes to your server. When done, report to them what you’ve done.

For other filtering systems, I only react when someone complains. Say someone emails to support saying that he cannot receive the verification email. If this is a persistent problem, go to the website of the email provider for that email address,  look for the correct reporting channel and simply follow the instruction. If you can’t find any reporting channel, send an email to the support and ask them for help.

In the most extreme case, I once had about 10 email correspondences with a filtering company to prove to them that I’m running a legitimate business and they should get my server off their blocked list.

28 thoughts to “Bulk Email Autoresponder Alternatives”

  1. As always, you’ve provided great information! I did not know about WorldCast… that is a great alternative for people who don’t want to commit to a monthly fee (or cannot afford it at the moment due to other advertising costs to get the leads).

  2. My own early mailing experience saw me having several problems – mailer time outs, many bounced emails, server crashing, etc, etc… the list goes on.

    Then I came across a page that addressed those exact problems and more.

    After implementing the suggestions I immediately experienced improved email delivery.

    http://emaildeliverysecret.com

    1. I bought the ebook, just want to see if there is any new that I don’t know. Thanks for the recommendation.
      Update: Just finished reading the ebook. It’s a good reference. I recommend it too.

  3. Thanks for the clearing up a couple questions I had Kenneth.
    I think by far the best way to go specially if your just starting out is with a autoresponder service. I know the help and support that comes with these services can save you a lot of time and headaches.

  4. From experience, Aweber.com is the best service out there in terms of deliverability. They have an entire team dedicated to maintaining a good relationship with ISPs and filter systems so that our emails get delivered. Next in line I would recommmend is 1shoppingcart.com.

  5. Hi Everyone
    It all depends on the source of the leads.
    If they are from FFA sites, then you cannot import them into most Professional Autoresponders, such as Aweber or others.
    If you are going to use Worldcast without having a landing page to go to for them to become bonefide opt-in subscribers, then you have a big problem.
    If you send ANYCommercial Email to a person who has not actually asked for it, then you are a spammer!
    Sorry, but there are very strict ‘rules’ about this type of thing.
    SPAM is also known as UCE – Unsolicited Commercial Email. This means that unless they asked to be sent this information themselves, you do not have the right to send it to them – EVER!
    However, there is a 2 Step solution, but ONLY if you follow these 2 Steps:
    Step 1. Invite the recipient to join your mailing list. That means you take all the risk of hosting and having a paid autoresponder set up to capture their details.
    Step 2. Send them to your own website and entice them to opt- into your mailing list, particularly if you offer them a gift as an incentive – something which may be of interest to them.
    This means you must pay for domain name, hosting and a professional autoresponder, and make a landing page and have the facilities to deliver the gift.
    Please go back to the source of these leads and find out what you should be doing with them.
    Kind regards,
    Jason
    :o)

    P.S. Aweber has a facility to use which can test your email for spam trigger words. They have a scoring/ranking system of whether the email you want to send has a high chance of being delivered.

  6. Hi All,

    Excellent post once again Kenneth.

    I have used my own autoresponder script and although you do save money without having to pay monthly fees, delivery was an issue for me. If you are going to use your own autoresponder script then tracking is a must to ensure your e-mails are getting to your subscribers.

    I now use Aweber with the confidence that deliverability isn’t an issue and have no spam issues.

    To your success,

    Tony
    Building-Residual-Income.com

  7. Playing the email marketing game without a proper opt-in system in place is far too dangerous to be worth contemplating. You need to be able to prove that your subscribers asked to be on your list as Jason points out and preferably be able to give them an unsubscribe link in every mail.

    My hosting company provides a good pro autoresponder service although it is not as comprehensive as someone like Aweber or GetResponse. It’s still pretty good though and ensures I stay within the law :-) I’ve also used PHPList for some membership sites and as a free script it’s good, albeit a little tricky to set up for beginners. Be careful though, as a previous commenter mentioned, sending mail through your own mail server can get you into trouble.

    If you didn’t generate the leads yourself I wouldn’t recommend using them. Being labeled a spammer is not worth the hassles and can totally ruin your business and reputation. With services like SpamCop making it easy to accurately report offenders it’s not worth the risk. I get sick of marketers who I know have sold or passed on my email address – not only are those people liars but they are stupid too. Don’t they realize how easy it is to verify? I have often used one off addresses to subscribe to a marketers list only to find UCE from people who could only have got the address from said marketer. That is spam whether you paid for those addresses or not and the person who sold them to you is an unscrupulous idiot.

    I accept that professional spammers would disagree but for the average marketer trying to run an honest business, do it right or don’t do it at all is my advice :-) If you’re too cheap to pay for hosting and/or an autoresponder you have to ask how serious you are about your success online.

    1. Totally agree with you Maurice, if you want to run a real business then you need the proper tools, if you want to do it for free, you will get what you pay for. Although it is wise to test a few tools for free to make sure that it serves your purpose but be prepared to upgrade if you want to become a pro.

  8. Well, well, well… it was so interesting to read all the comments here. I have been facing a lot of problems with my ISP since I have moved from USA to France. In the US, my computer was sending emails practically 24 hours a day non-stop. Being relocated in France, running the same business, but had to go through a French ISP, I quickly got in trouble marketing the same way. I now have the feeling that I am watched and the minute I have a few bounces, I get a warning. As I have a premium (not cheap)hosting, they are very patient with me. I was told that the European ISPs are very strict about anything that looks like spam. I then looked at many alternatives and decided that the use of autoresponders were the safest way to go. More difficult to have confirmed subscribers as they have to click on the link in their confirmation email, but certainly safer. So, the comments above confirm my findings.

    Thanks,

    John

  9. When converting leads into subscribers, you may have to email them on more than one occasion.
     
    Case Study:
    My friend, Dave, changed his list over from one service to another and asked his current subscribers to re-enter their details into a form he set up for his new service.
    When they got the email to resubscribe, 40% of them hit the SPAM button, instead of confirming.
    These were his own customers! YES, they actually bought stuff from him.
    So now he has 40% LESS subscribers AND 40% less customers!
    Professional Autoresponder/Mailing list services are just that, Professional services, so yes, they carry a service fee.
    I use, and recommend, this one –
    ProSmartResponders

    Cheers!
    Jason
    :o)

  10. Thank you for this information!
    I’ve developed an online autoresponder software in PHP/MySql but haven’t found a company for hosting and running it yet….. Some of the features are :
    – form generator for subscribing
    – double opt in pages
    – add subscribers manually (one by one) AND import them from an external CSV file
    – upload .txt AND .html newsletters
    – create .html newsletter online and save them into file system
    – schedule newsletter sending (days, weeks, months…)
    – free, bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels of users

    It might be sending cca 5000 emails/day (depending on the number of users and their mailing lists). Can someone advice an email hosting company for such an application?

  11. well, to be honest, I’m skeptical too….. I don’t want to profit from sending hundreds of emails (spams), I just developed a PHP/mySql online software that can be used to create/manage mailing lists. So I’m trying to find out what should I do with such a software. There are a lot of dedicated server providers that will handle the load and everything, I’m just not sure if this service will profit enough to cover dedicated server’s monthly fees (60$-150$ per month….)

  12. I use a program called MPZMail which is about the cheapest ive found. Any suggestions as to cheaper alternatives. This costs about £1 per 1000 emails.

    Ta
    Mike

  13. Sorry I’m commenting on this alittle late, I just came across it, but the list of pros and cons are perfect. Helps so much.

    Bulk email can get results, but depends on what your service/products are, and ofcourse the layout of teh emails and the writing etc etc

  14. I thought that this was a very interesting article. Most people do not understand how important it is to grow your list organically. Just by having a prominent newsletter sign up on your website or even allowing customers to sign up via your Facebook can help grow your list with customers who want to hear from you. I currently use http://www.mailzulu.com – Mailzulu for my email marketing. You can set up triggered campaigns and that can be used as autoresponders they give you unlimited sending for a fixed monthly fee.

    Keep up the good articles – Nancy

  15. i started building my list but as soon as my list grows unsubscribe rate increase and so what i did is i delete my all of my email campaigns. any thought about this?

    any premium hosting company do you highly recommend for your myob list builder script?

  16. I’m using a service now that pays for it self. It come with a free 30 day trial. Plus if you click the Leads Leap click me Ad bar at the top, I will pay for your upgrade from the free trial giving you a full 60 days for free by paying it forward.

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