[Updated Post] Currently we're using aWeber for email services (list maintenance, autoresponders, newsletters). I chose them because they had all four of the main things I was looking for: great deliverability (even to at-work email boxes), an easy-to-use interface, easy-to-reach customer service, and low, low cost. They also integrate with roughly 70 different external carts and formbuilders, and CRM systems.
However, we were having a hard time getting our Formspring forms, which we use for webinar registrations and multiple-offer forms, integrated with aWeber this winter. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. That meant some of the people who signed up for email newsletters from either of my sites didn't get on the list they wanted.
Luckily, with help from my new tech director Ken Ambrose and aWeber's CEO Tom Kulzer, the problem is now rectified. I'm happiest about this because I really do adore aWeber as a vendor and had not wanted to leave them. Tom assured me on the phone this morning that other aWeber clients are also integrated with Formspring and the problem should not reoccur.
If you are looking for an email services provider, here is my list of 17 questions that I routinely ask ESPs to decide if I should work with them. I hope you find it useful:
#1. In what situations do you require incoming opt-ins to be double opt-in?
#2. How do you check prior consent before you allow us to start broadcasting to a list we upload from another source or ESP?
#3. Are you integrated with Formspring?
#4. For what reason would you "fire" a client, and how often does that happen?
#5. Most of my recipients view email via Outlook, do you have a simulator where I can see if my proposed email campaign creative will trip typical Outlook default filters or not?
#6. I run several websites with different names. All are owned by the same publishing company. Can I have one account for my company or do I need a different account for each brand/site name we publish?
#7. Can I set up autoresponder series for particular lists so people get messages based on the date they opted-in?
#8. How many different lists can I set up for my account?
#9. Can I set up a DNE list (do not email) that I can use to suppress broadcasts against? My goal would be to keep unsubscribe list on file with you, and then when I do a mailing of another list, be able to suppress any of those names on the list
It's a Can-spam legal compliance thing.
#10. How about merging lists for a send -- I have many different lists that people can sign up on,(such as buyers, newsletter opt-ins, etc.) and some people are on more than one list. Sometimes I want to send a broadcast to everyone on all lists... but I don't want people who are on more than one list to get a duplicate message. Can you set up one "account" per individual email address on my entire database of lists file and then show which lists that individual email is signed up for?
#11. How many times do you guys send a confirm required message to a double opt-in before you mark that name as a no-go?
#12. Can I customize the wording of that message at all?
#13. Are you integrated with RegReady so I can get opt-ins via co-registration?
#14. Do you power opt-in forms that can be HTML overlays, and if so, can those overlays be time-delayed so they appear based on how many seconds a visitor has been on a page of my site? Can overlay viewers be cookied so an individual only gets one overlay as long as their cookie is live? If I build my own overlays, can I integrate my opt-in feed with you so I can add names to my list quickly and easily?
#15. When an opt-in clicks on the link to confirm their permission, can I have that redirect to a page on my site that I select... or am I stuck with your confirm thank-you page?
#16. Do you give me the ability to create a separate custom text-only version of all my html messages?
#17. Does the form that I would input my text message into have a hard-right column or anything indicating where a typical margin would be so I can input hard breaks where needed?? I assume the margin would be recommended at 55-65 characters across.