iContact is a great single opt-in email marketing service that I’ve used myself and with clients successfully. While I do use Aweber in certain situations (more for your Internet marketing lists), iContact is a good choice to use with many small businesses because they allow you to upload your list without first checking it. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t allow spam, but many of my clients have lists of their clients that they send emails out to and would like to continue that in a more structured environment, iContact allows for that. Given my use with many clients and myself, here is my iContact review.
iContact Sign-up and Registration
Overall sign-up is very easy with iContact. As Net Profit Marketing is a partner with iContact, you can visit our iContact Registration page for a free 15 day trial (no credit card needed). The sign-up is as simple as filling out a little information about yourself, confirming your email, then getting instant access.
Overall the setup is pretty simple. You have to add information to your Campaign, which lists information about who you’re marketing to with the list for your own notes and public information like your address, which has to be listed for ICANN spam regulations. After that you can edit your Contact List, which is a container for all of your contacts. The information here is simply setting a couple of default values for the List name and the List description. After that you’re ready to create a message. While there are more things you can setup, this is all that’s needed to send out a message.
Create A Message In iContact
I’ve found the message editor in iContact to be a great asset to their service. You can select a template to start with, which is helpful if you just want something simple to start with. When you’re in the actual message editor you can select the regular editor, which makes it easy to work on your newsletter, add images, and enter/format text or you can opt for the HTML view to really dig into the details. My favorite feature of the message editor is the “Copy Text” function to create your text email. It basically takes all of your text from the HTML portion to create the text version of your email, which saves considerable time!
Add Contacts to iContact
There are several ways to add contacts to your list from importing a spreadsheet of contacts, adding them via the control panel or having people sign-up via an online sign-up form.
- Import Spreadsheet – To import a spreadsheet all you need are your contacts in a spreadsheet with their name and email address. They make it easy by showing you the first couple of rows of the data and having you map the spreadsheet fields to the iContact fields.
- Control Panel – You can also add contacts in one by one (usually best if you only have a couple) with an online form in your control panel.
Deliverability is a large part of email marketing. Your newsletter needs to make it in the inbox and not get caught in the spam filter. iContact’s reputation and white listing with major ISPs (Internet Service Providers) helps them keep over a 99% deliverability rate.
Room for Improvement
There are two areas that I find need improvement in iContact. Now take these with a grain of salt as I am a power user of the services but I find that the reporting and the RSS to Email capabilities are lacking. I would like to see the ability for more statistics via the reporting function so we can break down and target people based on their past performance (opens, clicks, etc). I would also like to see more features for the RSS to Email so I can automatically setup and parse my blog posts to be sent via email.
Overall I would say that iContact is a great choice for small businesses and large businesses. Go over and try a free 15 day trial of iContact and see for yourself.