Research. That’s the one thing no author should be accused of not doing. I failed miserably when all the frenzy broke out about Mailchimp and how much it would now cost the author. At the time that all hell broke loose over increased fees, I was little over 600 subscribers in my romance list. But I had a giveaway running and that giveaway gave me over 300 subs that month. That would push me over a thousand. Plus, I had another pen name that was growing and soon I would reach the 2,000 subscriber threshold.
Like so many authors, I saw myself panicking when I saw that notification for upgrade on my dashboard. I was advised that I could not create new lists. How would I manage my incoming subscribers if I was unable to create lists? At the time, I had a list for every promotion I ran. I knew who signed up from Facebook, from a landing page where I gave away a free book, from BookFunnel, from MyBookCave and wherever I was running promotions.
I would eventually combine lists after promotions expire, but I was a list person. That’s how I kept organized. Not only that, I have two pen names, hence two different kinds of subscribers, two different identities and my lists were growing steadily. I would reach the 2,000 subs in a few months anyway.
That upgrade banner upset me because I didn’t want to have to spend the extra money for a list less than what they promise. I was promised 2000 free subscribers. I hadn’t yet reach that.
In the frenzy, I found Email Octopus and SendInBlue. I joined both, deleted my MailChimp account and decided that I would not pay for a Newsletter service until I had reached a certain quota.
I returned my smaller list – sci-fi and fantasy subscribers – to Mailerlite and was happy. That was one load off my back.
I imported my larger list, now over 1000 to both SendInBlue and Email Octopus. Then the reality set in. They were limited on their free account, more limited than Mailchimp.
I decided to upgrade with SendInBlue. I liked it more because they had some of the features I wanted. I needed to create a landing page and when I consulted with SendinBlue, I was advised that landing pages are available on Premium service only and that would cost me $66.
Yes, there is a cheaper service, but does not come with landing pages and many other features. I switched my romance list to Zoho, but was not happy as my list neared 2,000. They too were encouraging me to upgrade, but something about their service really bothered me.
I returned all my lists to Mailerlite and love it … except for a few issues which I will address.
While I was using Mailerlite to send my newsletters, I started researching newsletter service providers with several things in mind.
- Price per month
- Contacts allowed on free
- Contacts allowed for minimum paid
- Landing pages
Here are some companies I found.
|Company||Price per month $||Contacts||Landing pages?||Automation|
|Active Campaign||50||2500||Not independently||Yes|
|SendInBlue||20||Only with premium ($66)||yes|
|Campaign Monitor||30||2500||Not sure||Yes|
|Mailjet||21||30,000 emails per month||No||yes|
While doing my research, I failed to research one other factor. How do you send your free downloads to subscribers? I was spoiled by Mailchimp and foolishly believed that I could easily insert a file into my email for my fans. Not so.
I spent many weeks going back and forth with several of these services and finally decided on Getresponse for my Romance newsletter and I would keep my other pen name in Malierlite. Simple … right?
I would need to host my files on a third party service in order to send my download links. Same thing with Mailerlite. When I researched the idea, I came across two things:
- I would either be paying a secure service like Digioh per month to secure my files and integrate directly with Getresponse …OR…
- My files would be stored on Google Docs, or Dropbox where I would need to share with subscribers via link. Two things could happen here. I would either have to add each subscriber to my storage in order for them to access the file and that would be time consuming. Or I could make my files public and that is not safe.
I needed a newsletter service that was streamlined to save me time and effort and afforded me the freedom to write. Less time creating files in the cloud and connecting to readers. More time for me.
Mailchimp so far as I have discovered, offers all the features I need. I will be paying the $25 required for my account and see what happens from now on. I was willing to pay GetResponse that same $25. I was even willing to sign up for $50 for ConvertKit and $45 for Constant Contact. Who knows, I might switch to one of these companies when I reach 5000 subscribers.
I love Mailerlite’s landing pages, email templates and pretty forms. Mailchimp forms have limited customizations. But the tradeoff here is that I can create the landing page and add my free book file to the thank you page. I don’t even need to create an Automation for that. None of the other services within this price range offers this.
I give Mailchimp a thumbs up for the ease of use and many features that make sending newsletters and giveaways a breeze.