I ran into a situation where working at a trade show I was supplied with a mailing list of all people who registered and signed up for the trade show. The people who signed up for the trade show had authorized that the information provided be given to the vendors of the trade show for purposes of contacting them. This is one really good idea to join trade shows if you are a local business as you can leverage some of these attendee lists to generate leads for marketing. The problem is that I wanted to be able to send a single “introductory” type of newsletter to the trade show attendee’s for the purposes of inviting them to partake in some specials or sign up for a mailing list. This is a “double opt-in” as I understand it and I learned the hard way that you can’t use MailChimp for this type of contact, MailChimp prohibits using any contact list that wasn’t collected first hand having the people specifically register and sign up.
So I started looking at other solutions and didn’t want to spend $300+ dollars to host a server side software to send a one time email update to a group where maybe 1% would actually sign up to become regular mailing list subscribers. This is where I found software called SendBlaster to be extremely valuable. SendBlaster is software that runs on your PC and allows you to import a mailing list and send a bulk email out to people in your mailing list. There is a free version that allows you to store 2 lists and only allows you to send 100 messages so I needed the pro version which allows for unlimited email messages with no limitations or cost per email.
SendBlaster allows you to compose messages in HTML or Text format even allowing you to import EML messages to be used as templates. So if you created a newsletter in Mailchimp, you can import the eml into Sendblaster and use it as a template. The software makes it very easy to import lists and I was able to import my list of 2700+ contacts in less than 2 minutes.
You start by composing an email the way you want it making sure you comply with the CAN-SPAM act, you must have an unsubscribe link in your email as well. SendBlaster will keep track of unsubscribes and remove them from your mailing list and show you results of your marketing campaign using TrackReports which is integrated with it as well as having Google Analytics Integration.
When using SendBlaster Pro, I think it best if you assign it a dedicated email account that can be responsible for tracking subscriptions / unsubscriptions and bounce backs so it can auto update the mailing list and keep it accurate. You can also set manually the SMTP server that SendBlaster will use but beware of bulk mailing through your regular ISP. Google GMail for instances allows for no more than 500 emails to be sent out from the same account in one day, so if you have a larger email campaign you will either need to pay for an SMTP service that will allow for bulk email distribution or you can use direct send which will use your own computer to connect and send the email but if you choose this option you should put a good stagger on the time between emails.
Bottom line, if you need a professional email marketing program to help with provided lead lists and such, SendMail Pro will get the job done. I really liked the email compose section which was very easy to work with and has buttons to auto add “unsubscribe” and variables so you can customize emails so that they specifically mention the persons “name” or company…etc
EMail Marketing Warning
I want to let readers know that if you are in the business of email marketing or thinking about getting into email marketing there are very careful guidelines you must follow to make sure you market responsibly. You must comply with the CAN-SPAM act or risk fines that are staggeringly high, you must make sure you only contact lists which were legally provided to you and users signed up and accepted that they would be contacted by 3rd parties. You must add an unsubscribe button and you should provide a “double opt in” for users who want to specifically join your mailing list. In my own practice I would never send messages out to the same list more than 1x per month.
Remember, every time a user clicks “mark as junk” or “mark as spam” in their mailing program a message is sent to the ISP, if too many SPAM flags are recorded your mail service (ISP) can be shut down, if you do direct send I believe this can be tracked to your ISP for your IP Address and this could lead to being banned or blocked by your ISP as well. Always make sure you email market responsibly and stand out from the horrible SPAM that is out there, remember that email SPAM will kill a company reputation and if you don’t use it responsibly you can cause more harm than good.