If you’ve spent any time whatsoever around anyone with an online business, or anyone with an offline business that is social media and Internet savvy, you’ve likely heard people say that they wish they had started building their email list sooner.


Whether you’ve heard that or not, you may be wondering what an email list is, and how it might differ from just having a list of contacts in Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook.

Simply put, an email list differs from the options such as Gmail because an email list is comprised of people who have specifically opted in to receive email from you. In fact, it’s imperative from a legal perspective that you get permission from people in order to be able to send out bulk email to them. They are also different in that you can automate the emails that you send out.

The great news is, you can get started with an email service provider at very little cost, and in some cases, even free.

While there are many different options, here are three low-cost email autoresponder services that I recommend.


MailChimp is free
A lot of people choose to start off with MailChimp because it has a free option, with certain limitations. With the free account, you can have up to 2,000 people on your list and can send up to 12,000 emails in a month.

To give you an example of what is meant by that, if you had 500 people on your email list, you could send up to 24 email broadcasts to those 500 subscribers in a month. Or let’s say that you had 1,000 email subscribers. Since you can send up to 12,000 emails in a month, you could send 12 email messages to those 1,000 subscribers in a month.

So as you can see, you can send a good amount of email in a month with a pretty robust number of email subscribers for free.

However, there is a pretty big limitation with the free MailChimp account and that is that you can’t send out autoresponder emails with the free account. In case you don’t know what an autoresponder is, an easy way to explain it is that it’s a series of emails that are sent out over a specified period of time in an automated manner.

For example, if someone opted in to your list to get a free giveaway, you would perhaps deliver their free giveaway with the first email message after they opted in, and then a week later another message, a week later another message, and so on. Those messages would be created by you and set up ahead of time and sent out on autopilot, so they are a great way to nurture your leads, and hopefully turn your leads into customers.

Not being able to do this with the free MailChimp account is a major drawback when it comes to email marketing because autoresponders are the at the core of email marketing.

However, if you’re really strapped for cash and haven’t started an email list because of it, by all means, start off with the free MailChimp account. With the free account you can still collect leads and send out broadcast emails, which is all that some marketers choose to do.

You can also upgrade to a paid account if desired, which has additional functionality. Many people have started off with MailChimp and even stayed with it long term as a result of the good options that are available with the paid account.

I myself haven’t used MailChimp but I wanted to mention it as a possibility since I know a lot of people who use it and are happy with it, and I know that it’s a great place to start since it’s free.


Painted smile over white. Isolated. Happy and sad

When I was first looking into starting an online business and checking out all the options for marketing my business, the one company that I heard about from everyone around me was AWeber. People used terms like, “industry standard,” when talking about AWeber.

Because of that, I started off with AWeber and it is indeed an excellent email service provider that is offered at an affordable price. In fact, you can try out AWeber for only $1 for a month for up to 500 subscribers. After the first month, the cost is $19 per month for 500 subscribers, or you can save a bit of cash by paying in advance either quarterly or annually.

What I liked about AWeber is that it has a good number of nice looking templates for both opt in forms and for email, and of course you can send out plain text emails as well. It also offers split testing, an unlimited number of emails can be sent each month, and it has a high deliverability rate, which means that the emails you send through AWeber are likely to go in someone’s inbox rather than in their spam folder.

A huge, huge perk with AWeber is that since it’s so popular, it integrates with just about everything. What this means is that if you use third party tools like lead capture pages, shopping carts, and so on, that if those tools integrate with anything, it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll integrate with AWeber.


I never gave much thought to leaving AWeber because it truly did meet my needs. But once I began to sell products, I found AWeber lacking.

The problem with AWeber is that you can’t segment your list based on some important factors. Now it’s true that you can segment your list in AWeber by having multiple lists that people opt in to. For instance, let’s say that Bob opts in to receive free offer A, and Sue opts in to receive free offer B. Since they opted in to receive different offers, they would be on two different lists, and thus, there would be that level of segmentation.

So far so good, right? But the problem comes in when Bob decides to purchase a product that I promote using a series of emails that I send out to people who opted in to receive free offer A. With AWeber, while it can be done, there isn’t an easy way to keep Bob from receiving future emails promoting the product he already purchased. Pretty annoying, right?

why I segment my list

Since I didn’t want to annoy customers like Bob, I started looking for alternatives that would allow me to “tag” or in some other way separate my customers from people who hadn’t made purchases. There are two companies that are known for this capability and they are Infusionsoft and Ontraport, but those are both pretty costly, and Infusionsoft has a reputation for being hard to learn.

That’s why I was delighted when I came across GetResponse. GetResponse is approximately the same price as AWeber and in fact, is a bit cheaper even. But it can do SO MUCH MORE than AWeber can. Among other things, I don’t have to worry about annoying Bob and other customers because there is a way to keep them from receiving emails for products they’ve already purchased.

But the benefits of GetResponse go far beyond that. With GetResponse, I can set off multiple email sequences based on various actions my email subscribers take. For instance, the behavior of my subscribers such as opening emails, clicking on links, and reaching certain website goals that I’ve set up, determine what emails are sent to them. This enables me to really customize their experience in a way that can be done in the expensive options such as Infusionsoft and Ontraport, but that simply aren’t possible in AWeber.

On top of this, GetResponse has perks such as the ability to send surveys to your subscribers that are not available in even the more expensive email service providers. In fact, I can even post links to polls using social media and use them to grow my list.

Another thing I love about GetResponse is that the interface is just beautiful, and super easy to use. I found it to be more intuitive than AWeber, which makes learning it, and switching over to it a breeze.

I still think that both MailChimp and AWeber are viable options, but considering how affordable GetResponse is, and how much it can do, it’s the service I most strongly recommend.

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