by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 18 June 2013
In an age of email, newsletters are, perhaps, one of the most effective forms of marketing techniques. A targeted newsletter can yield magnificent returns for small businesses at a fraction of the standard marketing costs.
This week, we will review Mailrelay, an email marketing newsletter solution that combines the best of email marketing with cheap (and, free) prices. In this Mailrelay review, we will look at its interface, features, and see how it can be of use to you.
Although it has been around for years, Mailrelay has only recently stepped up its marketing efforts. According to Jose Argudo, the idea for the solution came after Mailrelay founders noticed that there was a market for a robust email marketing service.
Argudo outlines several reasons that makes Mailrelay different from other, similar email marketing solutions. Among them are the company's infrastructure and security: Mailrelay has its own IPs, servers, tech and support teams. Apart from providing a constantly-available network and enhanced security, Mailrelay's infrastructure also lends it to greater customization.
"Think about big companies that already have CRM or software of their own, we can help integrating their platform with ours, we have a team of developers that excel in this task," says Argudo. "This can save serious money for big companies." Having worked with well-known clients such as IKEA and Tata Motors in the past, Argudo should know a thing or two about this topic.
Argudo also touts the solution's scalability as the solution's unique selling point. Mailrelay offers the maximum number of free accounts amongst competitors - 15,000 monthly emails send with a 3,000 subscribers limit. That free dole comes without any attached riders: the free account is as good as a paid account and includes the same set of features as a paid account. "That's free, forever, without needing to introduce any payment method," explains Argudo.
The free account limit helps small businesses scale their marketing campaign based on sales upticks. Argudo recommends that small businesses sign up for the free version first and move onto the paid version later. "The difference is only in the sending limit, so with the free account most companies are ready to go," he says. For example, you can easily switch to a paid version if business is booming and you need to run a bigger marketing campaign. On a comparative basis, the pricing advantage works across multiple Mailrelay plans as their plans are cheaper than that of most other competitors.
According to Argudo, Mailrelay will add a slew of new features and ink agreements with major email service providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo to enhance its deliverability quotient.
In its operations, Mailrelay is extremely simple and easy-to-use.
Creating an email marketing template with Mailrelay is fairly easy. Mailrelay uses a WYSIWYG template to create newsletters. The actual newsletter is created in an HTML editor. You can either use an existing template or create a new one, using custom HTML code.
Recipients for your newsletter can be entered at the time of sending or selected from groups or subscribers. The latter operation involves entering details for a new contact in the solution and organizing them into groups such as subscribers. This enables you to filter people by group or performance. You can test the newsletter before sending it out to people by sending it to yourself. Similarly, the solution also has an autoresponder that enables sending out of automated emails for remarketing and reminder purposes.
Perhaps, the greatest benefit of using Mailrelay lies in its suite of comprehensive analytics. The web panel dashboard displays interesting and useful details as they relate to newsletter statistics. For example, you can track deliverability statistics by seeing the number of people who have interacted with your newsletter. Included in this fairly broad definition are a number of nuggets: for example, you can see the number of spammed emails, bounced emails, and other associated stats such as geographies that interacted with your newsletter and the number of clicks received from visitors. Mailrelay is also integrated with Google maps; this enables you to view newsletter response based on region.
Having worked with buggy email marketing software earlier, Mailrelay was a refreshing change for me. It was simple and easy to create a newsletter using the solution. I tested the solution by creating and sending newsletters out to myself and a couple of friends. The deliverability rates and security offered was truly impressive.
Perhaps the greatest reason to recommend Mailrelay is its scalability. As I mentioned earlier, the solution enables you to scale your business based on the success of your marketing campaigns.
The number of free accounts offered by the solution - 15,000 monthly sends for up to 3,000 subscribers - is truly the maximum number of accounts that I have seen being offered for a solution this size. You can further "upgrade" this number to 25,000 sends and up to 5,000 subscribers by following Mailrelay on Facebook and Twitter.
Mailrelay has a number of pricing options based on the number of subscribers and emails that you send out. Each option is divided into standard and enterprise plans, targeted at individual and corporate clients. The monthly plans follow a freemium SaaS model. In this case, however, the free version is as good as the paid version. Mailrelay also has prepaid plans, which enable you to pay in advance for a specified number of emails. This option is suitable for small businesses that are working with fixed marketing budgets.
Considering the number of email marketing software that I have already used or reviewed, I was pleasantly surprised with the solution. Its functionality and utility are pretty apparent; however, the greatest selling point, I think, is the number of free accounts that Mailrelay offers to the free user. This enables you to test the solution comprehensively before ramping up your marketing campaign.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 5/5, value 5/5 and ease of deployment 4.5/5