On the surface it looked interesting with most of the things I needed, however, as with anything, it's been a steep learning curve.
So, here's my experiences for you to consider if you choose to go this way.
I needed something that had the ability to A/B send, realtime tracking, etc.
So, I had to export everything out, chop the lists up manually then reimport. As a result, I've ended up with 4 lists. However, I now have 3 I can add more subscribers to. I just need to be careful that when combining to send I don't exceed that 2500 rule.
I also have another list set up for Promotions only. One more drawback - whereas madmimi & mail chimp give me the opportunity to create a custom link for those sign ups, I haven't yet found that in Promote. Instead, I've had to create a custom form, host it on my website & get people to go there to sign up for the Promotion Only newsletter. Messy and problematic as we all know readers like as few links as possible - I can, however, add them manually if they request it.
Creating Fabulous Newsletters:
This is one thing Weebly does exceptionally well. Being a GUI—Graphic User Interface— & WSYWIG—What You See Is What You Get— (I rarely get to use those terms anymore!) the newsletter creation is seamless and simple. A huge win in my books as when I create a newsletter I want it to be simple.
I've now got 2 templates set up. One for Promotional Only Emails and One for Full Featured. Meaning I don't need to reinvent them every time I go to send a new newsletter. That saves bucket loads of time!
Everything is drag & drop just like the weebly interface and I only need to log into one location for access to my NL, Website & Blog.
I set up a test group with my PA as the only recipient. She sent me screen shots, checked links etc., Works well, looks good. This was taken on a mobile phone so mobile/cell friendly!
I think this is the weakest part of their system. I'm doing this with a single open campaign that's gone live - a Promotional Book Release email. There isn't a lot of usable information, now this could be because there isn't a lot of follow up information however, I'd like to see more in-depth information showing specific links that had been opened (iTunes, amazon etc.,), times that the majority had opened etc.,
However, I'll see what happens after a dozen campaigns to give some scope to the data. Below is the screen shot I see after 1...
- Cheaper than MadMimi & Mailchimp once you get over a certain number.
- Hosted in the same location as my website & blog.
- Easy to use & navigate production of newsletters.
- Has most the same bells & whistles as other NL providers.
- Ability to save my own templates including Promotional & Regular Newsletters
- Easy to see which groups & newsletters are pending
- Group format & addition is not as intuitive as some other sites.
- Getting caught with the 2500 rule for the group meaning I need more groups
- External sign up links/buttons are not there (or if they are, I haven't found them yet) unlike other providers
- A steep learning curve (at least initially) as the layout isn't as clear as other mail providers.
I think I'll be staying with them given the time I've invested into the production of the newsletter and now that I've found most ways to overcome these issues. The price (ROI) makes it attractive in the long term as does the time efficiency factor.
Having said that, this is my findings given I've now tested several competing sites. There are some clunky issues and I hope that these will be resolved over time, but given the value for cost, it's a reasonable and survivable option (particular as I learn workarounds!)