Lately, I’ve been teaching. A lot. I’d recommend it to you if you get the chance (more on this in an upcoming post).

After all, you very quickly learn two things.

First, if done properly, the teacher always learns more than the students.

And second, you’re forced to realize how daunting today’s online technology can be to a small business owner – someone who’s running a whole business – not simply a marketing department.

I’m looking at ways to ease that particular pain for my students. So I’m turning to you for advice.

My email/enewsletter marketing class covers the idea of self-hosting your list (using software like PHPList), but recommends an email service provider.

Naturally, I’m looking for the best combination of ease-of-use, power, features and cost. And I can’t simply send them to Marketing Prof’s sizable list of vendors without guidance.

That’s why I’m turning to the Undergrounders. Currently, I’m considering four email vendors (remember, they must be suited for small businesses):

  • Constant Contact (the leader, powerful, lots of features – but not necessarily easy)
  • Vertical Response (similar to above)
  • iContact (up and coming vendor with an intriguing mix of ease-of-use and power)
  • The unfortunately named MailChimp (one of the simplest I could find)

If I were starting a small business email list today – and I didn’t have better than two decades in this business – I’d look hard at iContact.

Of course, the issue of blogs replacing e-newsletters is also rearing its head, but that’s a different discussion.

Any opinions, facts, recommendations or howls at the moon? Better choices for beginners? More power for users? Any options I’m overlooking?

Keep writing (and teaching), Tom Chandler.

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