Free vs. Paid Email Marketing Plans: Which Is Better For You?

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Aside from time and location freedom, the biggest benefit to starting or transitioning to an online business model is the minimal amount of start-up capital required. You don’t have to locate a site, sign a lease, stock a store, or buy equipment. And you don’t have to shell out cash for employees and rent and all those other costs associated with offline businesses.

But that low-cost mentality can cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture, too.

While it is possible to start a business without spending any money at all, it’s truly not a good idea. That free hosting account will no doubt have downtime issues (not to mention the ads they’ll serve up to your visitors). Free word processors will have compatibility issues with other, more common solutions. Free WordPress themes and plugins can have support issues.

So while bootstrapping is a good thing, making business decisions based solely on cost is not. And nowhere is that more true than when it comes to choosing an email list manager.

Deliverability Issues

Here’s the biggest problem we see with low-cost providers, including those you install and manage yourself: deliverability. Email services such as Yahoo, Gmail, and others vigorously defend their users’ accounts against spam, and will often mark your legitimate email as spam, simply based on the IP address it originates from.

Large email list providers have the resources to fight these false spam reports and keep their deliverability rates high. That’s what their users pay for. But when you choose a free or low-cost provider (or manage your own server), this might not happen. Over time, you’ll see your deliverability rates plummet.  This is not a good thing when your business depends on getting in front of your prospects and into their inbox.

Limited Features

Deliverability aside, many low-priced providers can afford to charge lower rates because they limit the features. For example, you’ll be limited in how many contacts you can add to your database, how many messages you can send per month, or you may be unable to segment your list.   But even worse, you’ll continue to have to send all your messages manually (one by one) and be unable to automate your emails which defeats the purpose of having an online business in the first place.

Before you choose to sign up for a low-priced or free email provider, be sure you fully understand the restrictions of the account. While some limitations might be okay with you, not having some of the features on your plan may put a serious crimp in your business-building efforts.


Finally, keep in mind that changing providers later (when you’re “ready”) can be a massive undertaking. You’ll have multiple landing pages and opt-in forms to edit, connections with your shopping cart, webinar host, social media accounts, and countless other integrations to deal with. And you’ll have a list of names to import to your new provider, many of which will either opt-out or be undeliverable at your new host.

Rather than go through all that trouble, the better option is to choose the right provider from the start.  There are many lower priced providers that have amazing features to help your business grow and save you valuable time in your business.  My #1 recommended provider for a new coach is Aweber.  This is the tool I started using in 2014 when I first launched an online business and I still highly recommend it for other coaches.  Do your homework and choose the tool that’s right for you, instead of settling for the wrong service.  Here is where you can get a free trial to test Aweber and see if it’s a good fit for you.

 Action Plan

Take a look at your current email marketing provider.  Are you having any of these issues mentioned in this post?  If you are currently on a free plan, check out the upgraded plans which can be accessed at a low monthly rate (some as low as $10 per month!).

Confused about where to begin with your online business or programs?  Looking for a simple way to finally get your list-building underway and execute a launch without all the tech overwhelm and stress?

Feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to put all the pieces together?  Get support and connect with fellow Health Coaches in the Health Coach Mastermind Group.

Your Turn!

What did you take away from this post?  Please share your insights and comments down below!