Maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough but I’m extremely frustrated that I cannot seem to find an email marketing tool or service that has all the features I want at a reasonable price.
I don’t ask for much.
I’ve used Constant Contact quite a bit and I am generally pleased with it. It is perfectly suitable for most email marketing needs and when you consider all the features you get for the price, Constant Contact is certainly a bargain.
So, starting with all the features of Constant Contact, I’d like pre-set templates for various uses that are customizable. I’d like the ability to create separate mailing lists out of my master list. I’d like the ability to schedule emails. I want unsubscribe and bounce handling and spam checking, of course. And I want the analytics that show opens, aggregate click-throughs, individual click-throughs, and opt-outs.
Constant Contact also recently added integrated surveys as an additional service, so that’d also be a nice feature for my Ultimate Email Marketing Tool.
Constant Contact’s features covers the bases for most people’s email marketing needs.
But I’m not most people. I need more.
As a blogger, I want an email service that will read my RSS feed and send out a branded email newsletter based on my template with hyperlinked headlines and a text teaser for each post. I’d like to be able to schedule said email newsletters to be sent daily, weekly, and/or monthly. The trick is for it to be smart enough to read the RSS feed, compile the posts and package them in email newsletters as today’s posts , this week’s posts, and/or this month’s posts.
Zookoda was supposed to be that service but it just isn’t ready for prime time. It doesn’t quite format the individual blog posts properly and sometimes it just breaks down and forgets to send pre-scheduled emails.
Google’s RSS service FeedBurner actually is positioned quite perfectly to be just the RSS/email marketing tool I want. For every RSS feed you burn, you can also offer an email update service for blog posts. The emails can be branded by uploading a logo that will appear at the top of each email, but aside from that, there is no customization. The emails themselves are very clean looking.
The problem is that you cannot schedule emails at all. You can set the time of day you want the email to go out–and even that function isn’t ready for prime time–but you can specify if you want a daily, weekly, or monthly email.
The people at FeedBurner know there’s a demand for just such a feature, but it doesn’t seem to be a priority. If Google wanted, they could enter the email marketing market by putting some resources behind FeedBurner. Throw in Google’s amazing analytics, and you’d have a hell of a good service.
iContact wants to be the Constant Contact/Zookoda/FeedBurner solution, but fails on the RSS side because it doesn’t compile individual blog posts from an RSS feed.
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