Have you ever received those fancy e-mail newsletters (HTML emails) with those good looking background stationeries and with very cool looking templates? Ever wondered how they were designed and if it is something you can whisk yourself creating?
I've been tasked to work recently on the email invitations to be sent for our ministry's upcoming anniversary so I had to search for an email marketing program I can use for this project, something that is user-friendly and "not too techie" for me. There are a lot of email marketing programs out there, but I was looking for a free one and not the ones on trial basis only. From my browsing I stumbled upon MailChimp - a very good email marketing tool and a reputable one. MailChimp has a forever free plan which allows you to use the program for free if you have less than 500 subscribers/email contacts and your sending has a cap limit of 3,000 emails monthly. They have built-in templates available for use, and customizing your email design is a breeze.
(If you are need more templates you can download from their email marketing resources page - where I got to download a free email program too: High Impact Email 5, this can be used as a stand-alone email software but can also be used to complement MailChimp. You can also download from other sites and just import them into the email program, here's where you can download 100+ free HTML email templates - Patternhead.com).
Since MailChimp suits our requirements, I decided to give it a try, and the thing I love about it is though you're only on a basic free account, the features available to premium users (paid account) are also the same features you can enjoy on a free account, the only difference is the cap on subscribers and sending quota. MailChimp has several useful features, but most important for me is its capability to monitor and analyze opened / unopened, successful and bounced deliveries, making the task of follow-up and re-sending a lot easier and more efficient. This program is definitely tailored as an excellent marketing tool for business, but it will also suit your personal purposes, e.g. send holiday emails or personal newsletters to your friends (which would make you look cool by the way...tsk..tsk... if only I discovered this before Christmas!).
I'll be posting more articles like this in the future to feature sites that offer helpful and useful free stuff to Net users (kudos to these sites for their generosity!)...who wouldn't love FREEBIES?