Expert Q&A: E-mail Tools Let SMBs Go Postal

Q: I own a small wine store and have a Web site that I use to alert my customers on new wine shipments and arrivals, weekly specials, wine tastings, and so on. However, I realize not everyone checks my Web site every week. A few months ago, I started sending out a weekly email newsletter to regular customers, but the list quickly became too long and time-consuming for me to manage just using my personal email client. Any suggestions? –Harry W.

Harry, you’re not the only small business owner who spends countless hours every week trying to maintain an email marketing/customer contact list, thinking “There has to be an easier way.” Thankfully, there is.

Small business owners who don’t have the time to devote to managing mailing lists, or the money to pay for expensive technology have been relying on inexpensive email marketing software that does all the grunt work for them, leaving them time to concentrate on the business itself.

Several inexpensive packages are available that offer options such predefined newsletter templates, the capability to personalize email, and even schedule future send dates. We’ve gone ahead and selected a handful to you give you an idea as to what’s out there.

Mail Them Pro
Mail Them Pro is designed for mass mailings and mailing lists management. It has its own high-performance built-in SMTP server, so you don’t need to use your personal ISP’s SMTP server. Mail Them Pro allows you to personalize and merge individual information into messages, giving you the capability to create personal emails.

The program automatically handles subscribe and unsubscribe requests and bounced messages. Mail Them Pro doesn’t provide templates; however, it can send HTML pages with embedded graphics, and can import files from Access, Excel, MySQL, MS SQL Server and WAB (Windows Address Book). Available at the company’s Web site for $69.95.

Advanced Mail Bomber
Despite an unfortunate choice of product names, Advanced Mail Bomber is a useful mailing list management program that allows you to organize email subscriptions on your Web site and send notifications to a large number of recipients. You can also use the software for managing subscription-based mailing lists.

You can create and manage structured mailing lists, import addresses from any file formats, and generate personalized messages from predefined templates. Advanced Mail Bomber also can send messages in several formats such as plain text, HTML, and EML, which enables you to dispatch messages that include embedded graphics. A built-in SMTP manager can handle up to 48 different SMTP servers in 48 separate threads. Available for download from the company’s Web site for $39.

G-Lock EasyMail Professional v 4.51
G-Lock Software’s EasyMail Professional lets you easily manage your mailing lists, create personalized email messages, and create unique message content and subject lines via its mail-merge function. EasyMail Professional also includes voicemail capability that lets you add audio content to your messages. The software supports a wide range of compression formats, and you can set the recording to start playing when the mail is opened. HTML and Multi-part (MIME) message capability support lets you include formatted text, HTML, attached files and embedded objects to your mails.

EasyMail Professional also has an instant email verification utility that helps reduce undeliverable rates, the capability to schedule future send dates, plus an option to notify you by confirmation messages when your messages have been read. EasyMail Pro supports Multi-Part (MIME) message capability, and can send Multi-Part (MIME) messages that contain formatted text, HTML, attached files, and embedded objects. Available from the company’s Web site for $39.95.

EmailUnlimited 5.0 Professional
EmailUnlimited 5.0 Professional from 4OfficeAutomation, which was released just this week, lets businesses of any size develop personalized, automated email campaigns. Drag-and-drop functionality lets you create customized HTML or text-based messages for distribution to a targeted list of recipients. EmailUnlimited 5.0 Professional also offers a built-in list management feature for subscription updates and opt-in/out requests, plus an auto-responder to set up automatic follow up with selected recipients at pre-defined intervals. EmailUnlimited 5.0 Professional also offers scheduled mailings and helps manage your contact list by automatically removing duplicated email addresses.

EmailUnlimited 5.0 Professional is priced at $347 per license. 4OfficeAutomation also offers a monthly subscription option for $19.95 per month, which includes all upgrades. A basic version, EmailUnlimited 5.0 Standard Edition, is available for $197 per license.

Readers: Need a no-nonsense answer to your question or problem about setting up and running an online business? Ask us! Submit your query about the e-commerce process to ECommerce-Guide.com, and we’ll get you the right answers you need from our long list of industry experts. Just drop an email to lrush@jupitermedia.com with “Question for the Experts” in the subject line, an explanation of your problem or question in the body, and we’ll do the rest. Then, check back with us each week in the “How Do I …” section for the answers to your e-commerce problems. You never know what you might learn.

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