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.
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.