I recently gave a talk at the City Business Library on how to get your software to work for you (rather than the other way around!) and one of the key parts of my talk covered how much amazing quality free software there now is available.

More and more professional web apps are attracting users by offering a free entry level package allowing the small business user access to a subset of features, or limited usage. Because these sites hope to turn you not a paying customer one day, you also get a professional level of service, unlike the “made in a bedroom” class of apps that have sketchy support at best.

It was quite difficult to pick my top 5 and I’m sure I’ll keep adding to the list as new apps come on the market. The notable similarity between all of these apps is that they all do only one thing, and do it well.

This week I’d like to start by extolling the virtues of MailChimp – the essential app for maintaining a mailing list. MailChimp includes easy to use interfaces to do all the things you’d expect:

  • Add a sign up form to your website
  • Allow people to unsubscribe easily, and prevent them from being readded
  • Customise emails
  • Schedule email campaigns for a particular time
  • Subdivide your lists to target specific people

MailChimp is free to use for up to 12,000 emails a month if your mailing list is under 2,000 users. Above that a monthly charge applies, but, like with all the free software options that I’ll be writing about, hopefully by the time your list gets that big you’ll be making enough money to afford it!

About Zoe Cunningham

Zoe Cunningham has been working in technology for over 12 years and is currently Managing Director at Softwire Technology. In her spare time she volunteers with a Ghanaian development charity, produces and presents two radio shows and plays backgammon to world class level (she won the Ladies' World Championship in 2010!).

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 7:43 am and is filed under Women Tech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.