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September 2013

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Bulk Email Services for Free Art Tips?

Well, I was late getting the art tip out this time, because we'd been playing with the new computer and switching over email programs.  Finally decided to send out via gMail, because it's SO much easier to add names to my distribution lists that way.

I forgot that if you send 500 messages (I have about 1500 names of people who have signed up for my free art tips) gMail shuts you down for 24 hours, in case you're a spammer.  Oh, joy.

These people REQUESTED the newsletter.  I'm not a spammer.  I put my contact info on every post, so they can unsubscribe easily. 

I went back to Outlook to send the rest of my mail, and will still have to go back in tonight and send the last batch, because they're ONLY on gMail.

SO.  I guess I'm about done with both Outlook and gMail for this.  I'll have to have a paid account, but I'm thinking back to thinking about Constant Contact or something similar.

Does anyone have preferences or recommendations?  Thanks!

Guess I'll give up one of my eBay stores (I have one for my paintings, etc., that I seldom use) in order to afford it.  Grrr...

Comments

(Anonymous)

What a bummer, Kate! I can't help with a bulk email service because I've never done it, however, I would like to find out how I get on your mailing list?
Just go to my website, http://cathyjohnson.info and you can see where to sign up at the top. Thanks!
Ooooops, I forgot to select the OpenID, sorry. I hope you get some good advice re. the bulk emailing....and I was interested in finding out how I get on your mailing list?

Cheers,
Serena
I hope so too, Serena! I've looked into several services, and it looks like it's just going to cost me a chunk of change.

(Anonymous)

i don't know much about all this computer stuff but you might want to check into typepad.com i enjoy your sites so much along with alicia paulson's blog. she uses typepad and it says you can post by way of email. hmmm~ maybe that will help oh...and your book is recommended in Victoria magazine this month... page 40 congrats!!!
Nope, the problem is that I have a mailing list, with about 1500 email addresses on it. Not many email programs are able to deal with it, I had to break it down into 9 lists with 150 in each, except the last one. One of my ISPs will only let you send FIFTY names or their spam filter spits you out. Makes me cranky as the dickens.

And thank you, I keep meaning to look for the magazine! (Unfortunately my publisher let the book go out of print already...it was selling well, but they would have had to go back for a reprint. Hard times for everyone, I guess.)
I've had the same problem sending out a newsletter. Now KC Roadrunner thinks I'm a spammer. I'm looking into a service called MailChimp. It looks simple enough, and for the limited number I mail, it's a free service. There are several others out there of a similar nature.
Interesting, I got another recommendation for MailChimp, offline. A friend's company uses it and finds it very reliable.

Most of the ones I've investigated are free if you have under 500 names, but my subscribers are almost 1500 now. I'll have to check out MailChimp too, thank you!
Create a Yahoo Group, that's a service meant to host mailing lists (although it has a lot more features). It takes care of all the contact management and email distribution for you, and it's free. Keep that eBay store! :)
Thanks, Pottyoszebra, I already run quite a few Yahoogroups. I wouldn't know how to transfer 1500 names to one, since they don't allow you to add directly any more. Besides, Yahoo frowns on commercial messages and sometimes I announce my classes and such. Thanks for the suggestion, though!
I've happily used AWeber.com for a couple of years. I hate paying the money each month, but my emails get through and they handle all the annoying admin stuff for me.

I considered buying software to run my mailing lists myself, but it didn't look worth the time or trouble.

For me, more time + no headaches = A worthwhile service.

I chose AWeber mostly because they have a high success rate in terms of mail actually reaching my readers/fans/customers. Too many email services get flagged steadily as spammers, and emails they send are snagged by spam filters, en route.

I think I have about 10 mailing lists with them, all on the same account. Some are monthly newsletters, and others are courses set up as auto-responders. (Four or five lessons, with a new one sent once a week for a month... all on auto-pilot. The course starts automatically when anyone signs up, and I don't have to do a thing except create the original series of emails.)

The AWeber dashboard makes the process pretty simple to automate. "Set it and forget it" is a nice way to handle online tasks!

My son works for ConstantContact.com, and -- except that I get a better deal with AWeber -- I'd use them. They also have a pretty good success rate, avoiding being flagged as spammers.

But, AWeber.com is fairly well-respected, and I'd guess that at least 95% of my mail (newsletters, free online email courses, etc.) reach the intended recipients. That's very, very good for a mailing service.

Edited at 2010-01-14 11:40 am (UTC)
Hi girl, and thanks! Yep, I've investigated both of those; glad to hear AWeber works so well for you, that was the one I'm leaning toward.

I hadn't thought of doing classes that way! So far, mine are very personal and hands on, with a lot of response from me, but it does get exhausting. It's one reason I don't teach very often, I just don't have the time or energy. (Each class involves at least 8-9 weeks of my time, pretty well tied up nearly full time.) I wonder if I could offer an alternative for less...I kind of do my free stuff via Flickr.

Most newsletters I get come via ConstantContact, but there's a sameness to them I'd like to avoid. I DO like it that they and AWeber don't get tagged as spammers often!

Thanks, girl, as always your input is golden!
You're welcome!

Under my non-art pen name, I offer a free, four-week course. It's very simple and, in each of the first four weekly emails, I send people a link to a page at my (non-art) website. At that page, they can read the lesson online (as a webpage) and click to listen to my audio (MP3) that goes with it.

They can also download the illustrated lesson (same as what's on the webpage) as a PDF. Some groups have asked permission to print the PDFs and hand them out to other group members as they join, as a handbook. Of course, I give them permission.

For those who've signed up for the course via email: During the fifth week, they receive a fill-in-your-name certificate of completion. I created it to look very official, and it's a PDF that they can print and display.

(People can read the course & listen to the MP3s without signing up for anything via email, but they don't get the certificate unless they're on my mailing list.)

People seem to love it. Thousands have taken the course, and it's good PR at the very least. Several others who are at the top of that niche have recommended my course to their fans, as well.

Students can start at any time. The emails are timed to arrive weekly. The first one arrives immediately after the student signs up. The next one arrives in seven days, then next in another seven days, and so on.

It's all run on autoresponder through AWeber, and each time I update the course ("new and improved!") I send a mailing to the entire list. I also offer them discount coupons or other freebies, as incentives to buy my books.

Of course, it's not the same as having personal interaction with students, but -- as a freebie that runs entirely on auto-pilot -- it's been very well-received and it's boosted my name recognition.

I know other people who charge a small amount for similar courses run via email (through AWeber) and they send links or attachments that combine PDFs and MP3 content. Some add a forum (such as a private Yahoo Group) for students to talk to each other, too.

This creates an affordable alternative to time-consuming, personalized classes, and it can be an "everyone wins" opportunity. Your only time investment is creating the courses. Your students pay very little, but still receive quality content.

This can run almost entirely on auto-pilot and earn income, PR, or both.
We'll be moving my classes next time, I think to a private blog situation with a limited enrollment (and a somewhat higher fee) to keep things more manageable. I can see it would be a cool alternative to offer a DIY class...that's sort of what I do with my CDs. Some of them are the same content as my online classes, but with no feedback and interaction with other students.

You are always right on the cutting edge with this stuff!
And by the way, "For me, more time + no headaches = A worthwhile service" is EXACTLY the issue. The mailing subscription list has become a HUGE headache. Doing the free tips is a piece of cake, compared to getting the newsletter out.
Exactly! I'd never go back to maintaining a mailing list on my own.

Every time I had to deal with "Can you check and see if I'm already on your list?" or "I didn't get my email. What address did you send it from?" I was ready to throw the mouse at my monitor! *LOL*

Don't even ask about the people who'd signed up for something, forgotten about it, and then accused me (rather nastily) of sending them spam.

AWeber removed those headaches about... gosh, I guess it was about two years ago... almost three.

Worth. Every. Cent.
And "would you change my email address? Oh, darn, that's not working, would you change it back?" I've had one or two of the spam accusers, too...folks, you have to ASK to be on my list. I don't solicit, I don't buy mailing lists, I don't add from my groups. You have to ASK.

I'm thinking yed, it would be worth it. $30 a month to get rid of having to do 9 copies, and keep the mailing list straight, try to figure out WHY some people didn't get it, and then jump through the Outlook/Gmail hoops...it just takes way too much time. And frustration! I tried making a CSV list from the working list at Gmail, and it STILL said it wasn't configured right. WHY NOT?? It went OUT, it must have been...