So, there we have it. Thank you for coming along on our self-hosted email marketing journey and we hope you’ve found plenty of useful stuff to inform your decision if you do opt to make the jump to a self-hosted solution. In summary, here’s what we chose to run with, and a quick reminder about why we selected each option for our specific needs…
For Preneur Group
We chose Interspire (and SendGrid and HostGator) for our Preneur Group email marketing, for a number of reasons. Primarily, it was because we found it easy to use, and we liked it. We do a lot of affiliate marketing, and it was key for us to be able to retain control of our emails so that we could choose how they looked, what we attached with them, when they were sent out to our customers and how we could embed calls to action, images and all that kind of thing. Ultimately, the decision about which solution to choose depends upon what you want to achieve but, overall, we felt that Preneur Group would be better off with Interspire because of its enhanced functionality, and the control it afforded us.
For SimplyHeadsets.com.au and the InfinitiTelecommunications.com.au Network
For these two businesses, we decided to stick with MailChimp. This is really down to the fact that they constitute smaller portions of our business and MailChimp is friendly, pretty reliable, and easy to use. Over the past couple of years we’ve learned our way around the interface, and grown to trust it to deliver what it promises. MailChimp is great for integrating with Magento, which is our number one choice for shopping cart capabilities, and the system still lets us upload bulk lists of any offline buyers.
Even though we’d like to have the ability to embed images in our email messages to customers, it’s not a deal breaker. And, because we only promote our own products, we don’t have any issues with the affiliate limitations that MailChimp imposes.
Actually, since we implemented our solution across our eComm businesses, we’ve learned that ActiveCampaign have announced that they are adding Magento integration. If we hadn’t already invested so much in MailChimp, it’s highly likely that we would have chosen ActiveCampaign because of this! Find out more about the update here: www.activecampaign.com/blog/activecampaign-magento/.
By now, you’ll have a really good idea of the pros and cons of selecting a hosted email marketing solution, or opting for a self-hosted solution. Really, it always comes down to the individual needs of your business; how big you intend to become, how many subscribers you have at any given time, and your personal preferences for deliverability, choice and control. All that said, here’s our recommendations based upon our own Hosting 101 journey…
For the Fledgling Marketer
If you’re just setting out on your email marketing journey and you’re looking for an easy, intuitive and very user-friendly platform for getting everything kicked off, we’re massive fans of AWeber. It’s really simple to use, has all the functionality you could ask for to get set up quickly and easily, and it features great integration with the range of plugins and apps you’ll be looking to link with.
It’s also pretty cheap, you can try it out for free to see if it suits you, and doesn’t start to incur costs until you’ve built your subscriber list up and expanded your customer base to mid-level marketing scales. We’ve used it for a while and it’s never let us down. This is the choice for you if you want a reliable, friendly and fully supported tool to take your email marketing to first base.
For the Intermediate Marketer
If you’ve been working your online business for a while now, and already have an email communication and marketing strategy in place, you’ll probably want that little bit more functionality in place than AWeber can offer. It’s also a good idea to think about switching to a new solution if you’ve managed to build up a decent sized subscriber list, as AWeber gets more expensive as you expand your business and need more power for your email marketing.
For this reason we highly recommend the hosted ActiveCampaign service. It’s easy to use, highly functional and you can get everything set up without too much hassle. Another great alternative would be OfficeAutoPilot but, as we’ve already mentioned, you might need access to a good developer if you want to tweak it to get the most out of your mailing integration and customisation.
For the Expert Marketer
If you’ve moved up to the position of a serious marketer and need a really robust service to manage all of your emails, subscriber lists and automation, so that you’re freed up to focus on your business while retaining absolute control over your marketing solution, we’d really recommend a hosted solution, using Interspire with a customisation and SMTP service via SendGrid. We’re really happy with our choice and it’s helped us make the move to high-end marketing with the minimum of hassle and no disruption to our service.
Other Articles in This Email Marketing: Self-Hosted vs Cloud-Hosted Series:
- What Is Cloud-Based Autoresponder Email Marketing?
- Comparing Autoresponder Services
- What Is Self-Hosted Autoresponder Email Marketing?
- More Benefits of Self-Hosted Email Marketing
- Comparing Self-Hosted Email Marketing Software
- Self-Hosting Email Options (SMTP Solutions and Account Choices)
- Which Autoresponder Solution Is Right for You?
- Self-Hosted vs Cloud-Hosted – Conclusion and Summary
- Self-Hosted or Cloud-Hosted Email Marketing – Appendix