EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 343 - September 22, 2013 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 6

Sellers Choice Awards: Email List Hosting Services 2013

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Asking shoppers to sign up for an email newsletter is an effective way to keep in touch with your customers, and many sellers outsource the management of email marketing to specialists. For the past 4 years, we've asked readers to rate the services they use in their online retail business, and this year, we added email list hosting services to the lineup.

The results of the 2013 Sellers Choice Awards for the Email List Hosting Services category follow. Vertical Response netted the highest scores from readers, followed by Constant Contact and MailChimp.

Many sellers manage their own lists in-house, but many others use a third-party in order to stay in compliance and avoid having to keep yet another program up-to-date and secure. Here's what readers had to say about the top three rated services they use.

Vertical Response
Vertical Response came in first place with an overall score of 8.4. It earned its highest marks on Reliability (an impressive 9.5) and Fees (also impressive at 9.25). It earned an 8 for Features; a 7.75 for Ease of Use, and a 7.67 for Customer Service.

Reader Comments - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
There used to be a very helpful users forum for Vertical Response. Their own help system is mostly video and not always helpful.

If we come across a stumbling block, their customer service has been right on top of the situation and helped us through it.

Email creation is super simple; managing lists not so much.

I appreciate being able to "pay as I go" rather than a monthly fee.

Very easy to use their supplied templates and attach business logo, links, etc into the ad.

Extremely easy (which didn't use to be the case).

Constant Contact
Constant Contact came in second place with an overall score of 7.4. It earned its highest marks in Reliability (8.14), followed by Customer Service (7.4), Fees (7.29), Ease of Use (7.14) and Features (7).

Reader Comments - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
Constant Contact has many features, but I use very few of them.

Cant get anything fixed at Constant Contact without a hassle.

Constant Contact fees seemed kind of high, although I probably do not use it the way they intend.

Constant Contact has a high learning curve and seems very unorganized, where I have to hunt each time for what I want to do.

Constant Contact: very reliable.

MailChimp
MailChimp came in third place with an overall score of 7.0. It earned its highest marks for Fees at 7.9, followed by Ease of Use (7.4), Features (6.89), Reliability (6.5) and Customer Service (6.38).

Reader Comments - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
I'm still on the free package, but the next tier seems really expensive.

I have not had an opportunity to use MailChimp's customer service department.

Ease of use: not great but okay.

About the Sellers Choice Awards
EcommerceBytes kicked off the Sellers Choice Awards in 2010, asking readers to rate marketplaces they had experience using. In 2011, we expanded Sellers Choice to include online payment services, and in 2013, we expanded the feature further by asking readers to rate Storefronts & Shopping Carts, Inventory Listing and Management Tools and Email List Hosting Service.

Take Our Survey
In today's issue, AuctionBytes Blog Editor Julia Wilkinson talks to an email list host provider to find out what small sellers can do to get the most out of their email marketing newsletters and boost open and click-through rates - see Email Marketing Tips for Online Sellers.

We'd like to know more about how you use email to market to your customers. Please take our survey on SurveyMonkey and we'll share the results in a future issue.


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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