As a piece of an overall communications strategy, email can be an effective tool. To improve the effectiveness of your church's email communications, we recommend taking advantage of email service. Using Outlook, Gmail or other standard email platforms is much less effective. Email services are designed to get emails past spam filters. They also offer service and advice to help get your emails read. The good news is that, for smaller email lists, many of these services are free.
MailChimp - www.mailchimp.com
MailChimp is currently the email platform of choice for the Rio Texas Annual Conference. It is very easy to use and, in most cases, the least expensive. I say in most cases because pricing for any of these services depends on scale. If you have under 2000 subscribers, (I think that covers most churches) it is totally free. Using MailChimp, you can create a professional, very good looking email to send to your people. The service makes it very easy for new people to sign up and it is a breeze to keep track of your lists. You can also create multiple lists. This is helpful if you have an "all church" email list and also want to have a prayer group list, a church officers list, or even a short-term event planners list. Like nearly all the services now, MailChimp offers real-time analytics so you can see how your emails are performing in terms of opens and click-throughs.
Constant Contact - www.constantcontact.com
Constant Contact is a more expensive option but, for the price, it is a robust platform. The minimum price (up to 500 subscribers) is $20 a month. That is not a lot of money when you realize that Constant Contact gives you more than basic email tools. Think of them more as an email marketing partner. Their templates are beautiful and they offer a lot of advice and coaching as to how to get the best results. They can even hook you up with a local expert to help you out.
There are more services out there. We will add them as we can. In the meantime, let us know if you are having good results with a different provider. Email us.