About a year ago, I rebuilt this blog site with WordPress. This has worked well, so over the last week, I’ve rebuilt the PowerKeys Publishing website with WordPress. Now, I’m switching the system that handles email from arpReach to Mautic.
Or, at least, I’m exploring Mautic to see if it’s going to be a good fit for me.
I had learned of Mautic, a free open-source marketing automation tool, a few years ago. Back then, it offered an intriguing idea, but had too many problems to be seriously considered for professional use.
Recently, I learned that certain software running my server needed to be upgraded, and arpReach would not work with the upgraded version. So it became imperative that I find a replacement.
I tend to do a fresh review of web software from time to time anyways, to find if there’s a better option for running my business, and to help those I take as clients set up and run their businesses.
The software I tend to research most often is mailing list management software, because there are so few really GOOD choices available.
Most mailing list management options are either way too technical for the average person to understand, or they have way too few options to flexibly adapt to the way real businesses are run.
And then there are the options which are only available as a monthly service, where you are asked to pay $100 or more PER MONTH to use the system.
Those are good options for businesses with 100,000 or more subscribers, but for the smaller businesses with 1000 to 5000 subscribers, they just don’t make financial sense.
Some of the popular mailing list management options currently available are Sendy, MailWizz, and MailChimp.
MailChimp is good for those who don’t want to deal with the software itself, and would prefer to pay a monthly fee to have someone else deal with the technical side of things. They also are a good option for those just starting out, as they let you start for free, and you only have to start paying once your list grows beyond 1000 subscribers.
But once you get to 2500 or so subscribers, you’ll be paying about as much as with most of the services. For example, if you have close to 5000 subscribers, you’d be paying about $50 per month to run a mailing list.
Not quite the $100 per month I quoted above, but then again, you won’t have all the fancy features of the $100/month systems.
If you are comfortable with installing software on a web server, or are willing to pay $50 to $100 to have someone do it for you, you can get the same level of mailing list management with something like Sendy, MailWizz, or Mautic.
Of the 3, Mautic is the only free option, and incidentally, is also the most flexible.
Not only will it give you the tools to run a mailing list, but it also lets you customize your web pages to display different content for different groups of subscribers.
You can also program a mailing sequence to respond with different emails depending on whether a subscriber has opened a previous email, clicked a link, or visited a particular webpage.
And you can mix emails, text messages, and Twitter tweets in your communication mix, even allowing your subscribers to indicate a preference, and using their preferred channel to communicate with them.
This level of flexibility is something I haven’t seen in ANY of the other systems, except maybe Infusionsoft — at $200 per month. A big reason why I’m taking time to study Mautic in depth.
Luckily, there are a few videos on YouTube giving a nice overview of what the system can do, and how to set it up to do it. Most of the videos are more than a year old, but they are still useful.
And there’s a 264-page user guide describing all the intricate details of the system. That’s where I am now. Reading through this massive guide.
Currently, I’m on page 51, and will probably be at this for a couple of days.
Then, I’ll set up a few tests, run it through its paces, and see how reliable it is to work with.
If if passes my tests, I’ll be switching all of my mailing lists to this system, and will be recommending it to all my clients.