This is a follow-up to yesterday’s article on domain and email names. I mentioned some of the available free email hosting sites; below please find additional suggestions from NFIB for others. As always, do your homework and compare services and offerings available from each.
Email is the main mode of communication in professional environments, and every small business hopes for a cost-effective option. While there are many email services available for purchase, several free services might provide better options.
Here are the 3 free email options that you can take advantage of as a small business owner:
The free version of Google Apps allows you up to 50 custom user accounts and a custom email, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. You also get access to Google Calendar, which allows you to organize a schedule and share events, and Google Docs, allowing you to share online documents, presentations and spreadsheets.
“I use Google Apps to completely integrate all of my online services,” says Amanda Brienza, owner of 25th Hour Assistants, a virtual assistance firm, based in Lafayette, Ind. “In addition, I get to take advantage of Google’s spam protection, search and tagging features while portraying a professional image with my own branded email.” (Related: Google Apps That Work for Small Business)
Shawnee Huie, social media manager at Fuzed Marketing, a marketing firm based in Bloomington, Minn., recommends Mail Chimp, calling it “awesome.” It offers multiple free resources, including webinars that help you understand the product. Huie says an added bonus is being able to set up an autorespond campaign that allows you to send an automatic welcome email to new subscribers, a thank-you email when someone buys one of your products or even happy birthday messages.
Jeff Pohl, owner of 815iMedia, an Internet marketing agency based in Rockford, Ill., also uses MailChimp and says that though there are some limitations on the free option, he finds it to be “pretty liberal for most small businesses.” It allows you to send 12,000 emails per month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers.
Shai Atanelov, owner of Bigtime Wireless, LLC, a mobile device distributor headquartered in Monsey, NY, uses Ratepoint for newsletter campaigns, promotions, surveys and review requests.
“When we first started our business, we wanted a free email marketing software,” he says. “Ratepoint allowed us to send free emails to up to 550 contacts.”
Ratepoint features unlimited image hosting and email archiving at no extra cost, and the free service includes setup, coaching and support, helping you to import your contacts and build your first email template. Atanelov also uses other Ratepoint services, including review, survey and social-marketing features.