Is Free Email Marketing Software Right For You?

Is free email marketing software something you should be considering for your business? To answer this question it is important to clarify what is meant by the term “free.” There are really two classifications of software that utilize this terminology. The first is software that has no monthly costs associated with the product and the second is a service that has no associated costs for a trial period, typically thirty days.

For many marketers who are just starting out online, the desire to save money can often be the primary motivation behind their systems decisions. This is often what leads people to sign up for free email marketing software that has no ongoing monthly costs. Although this may sound attractive at first, there are some things that need to be understood about using this type of arrangement. For starters most companies offering a free service place advertising on the outgoing emails sent by their users. Since they are not charging a monthly usage fee, their expenses are covered through the placement of paid advertisements on all outgoing emails. These services also have limitations on the functionality of the free account. For example, a company may limit a free account to having no more than 500 email recipients. Anything above that number incurs an ongoing monthly fee or requires the migration to a paid service. Another limitation often found on these types services is the number of online email marketing pieces that can be sent on a monthly basis. Aside from these drawbacks there are other functionality limitations in areas of design, tracking and split testing.

The other common arrangement for free email marketing software is a trial offer of the software. In this type of arrangement the full functionality of the software is unlocked for the end user, so they can effectively evaluate the performance and capabilities of the program. Typically the only limitations are on the number of allowed marketing list subscribers and on the total number of emails that can be sent during the trial period. Unlike the arrangement mentioned above, trial period software contains no third party advertising. All functionalities of the system are available for testing and the overall performance of the software can be effectively measured.

While it might at first seem like a good idea to save money, it is imperative that anyone serious about building their business through online email marketing take a long term perspective. With the traffic generation tools available to a marketer today, the ability to grow a mailing list of over 500 people in a short period of time is well within reach. Having to go back and move that mailing list to another service at a later time is not only a hassle, but it creates an opportunity to lose a large number of subscribers, simply because they do not opt-in to the new email marketing service. In the long run, the headaches caused by using this type of free email marketing software may become more costly than any monetary savings that may have been realized.

It is a much more prudent strategy to utilize a free email marketing software as a test drive for a paid service. The paid service will offer much greater functionality to their clients and will also have greater flexibility for tailoring email campaigns to the needs of the business that is being promoted. The best use of this trial period is to learn the functionality of the system, so that it is being fully maximized once the account moves from a free trial to paid subscription status.

Free email marketing software is a great tool for gaining familiarity with a paid marketing platform; however, it is not recommended that it be used as the primary tool for an email marketing strategy.