If there’s one thing that any expert will tell you about establishing your business online, it’s that you need to start collecting email addresses for your mailing list. Despite the fact that everyone and their mother has a facebook profile, and Twitter is now in the main stream, email is still at the heart of what we do on our computers, and it’s the most effective way to reach an audience of people who have given you permission to contact them.

Okay, so you’ve been thoroughly convinced that building an email list is important. Now what? When I was first confronted with this question, I immediately wondered: Which one should I choose, and almost immediately afterwards, “how much is this going to cost me?”.

There are a lot of mailing list providers out there. You’re going to need to make this choice carefully though. Here’s why:

  • Switching mailing list providers is a pain in the ass, and is often a hassle for your subscribers, as they may have to re-confirm their subscriptions when you make the switch.
  • The bigger your list gets, the harder it gets to switch. You have more at stake to lose.
  • Have you ever seen the sassy customer service sign that says says you can either have things Fast, Cheap, or High Quality, and that you can only pick two of the three? Mailing list providers are the same. Different mailing list providers have different strengths.

Your mailing list is going to be a sacred life-line for your business, so you’ll want to make sure you go with a service you like. Here’s a few of them along with a few pros and cons to help you decide.

Aweber – http://aweber.com
There’s a reason why all the top bloggers use Aweber. It’s powerful, full-featured, and offers dedicated tech support via phone and email. Autoresponders? No problem. Custom signup forms? Simple to create with a visual online editor. However, these features come with a price.


  • Excellent email tracking – Like google analytics for your mailing list
  • Great customer support
  • Affiliate-marketing friendy


  • Web forms from scratch can be frustrating- it’s easier to go with one of Aweber’s templates
  • Cost- Your first month is $1, but then jumps up to $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers after that

Mailchimp – http://mailchimp.com
Mailchimp is usually what people go to for their “first” list, and then often times switch to other services later on down the road. Mailchimp boasts a really flexible web-form generator and autoresponders, all for free (up to 2000 subscribers).


  • Free until you hit 500 subscribers. You’ll definitely be making money by then.


  • Read the terms of service if you plan on doing any affiliate marketing
  • 24 hour turnaround time for support
  • Does not have a built-in web-form creator. You can use Wufoo to create web forms, but you’re limited to 3 freebies

Infusionsoft – http://infusionsoft.com

By far one of the most technically advanced list services, Infusionsoft goes beyond just email marketing. You can set up affiliate programs, track and analyze leads through sophisticated funnels, and integrate other tools and services such as shopping carts, embedded media, and other goodies. Of course, this comes at the cost of simplicity, and well… cost to use.


  • Technically advanced
  • Goes way beyond just list management


  • Technically advanced
  • Starts at $199 per month

Now that you’re a bit more educated about mailing list providers, allow me to offer my own recommendation: Go with Aweber if you are serious about building your list. $19 per month shouldn’t break the bank, plus I’ve found that when I pay for something I’m more likely to take it seriously.

In my other life as a musician, my list stagnates over at fanbridge because I never have to pay anything for it. If I saw a charge on my credit card each month, I may feel more compelled to use what I have. If you can’t afford Aweber or aren’t sure if your email list will be a major factor in your business, go with MailChimp. It will still give you Aweber-like features like autoresponders and custom web forms which will allow you to explore the features without having to pay until your list hits 2,000.

{Featured image via The Rubber Ducty}