Email Marketing for Australian Small Business – BigResponse.com.au Review

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Researchers estimate that US businesses alone spent $400 million on email marketing in 2006. This indicates it’s a pretty decent market, and probably because most businesses now know that email marketing works.

For small business owners who are just starting out, or just getting online, the only real decision left to make is, what service do I use?

The team over at BigResponse.com.au believe that email marketing is the most affordable and best-performing type of marketing available. They offer email marketing solutions to Australian small businesses and would like Aussie business owners to choose them, so they contacted us for a sponsored review.

Big Response cofounder Mitchell Harper says they wanted to create an affordable, easy-to-use email marketing service that any Australian small business could use.

I qualify to test-drive this service for two reasons. Firstly I’m an Aussie, and secondly, considering that I can read maps more easily than I can read websites, I figure if I can find my way easily around a site (and get the task done without swearing too much), then anyone can.

So let’s take a look at how they stacked up in terms of affordability and ease of use.

Test #1: Is It Really Easy To Use?

Site navigation: To me presentation matters, so I personally love the fresh, neat look of the site, and never got disoriented once! There was an easy to find (and clear) answer to the first question I had – what exactly is Big Response? After which I was prompted to “take a tour” to see Big Response in action. How could I resist?

The tour was a clear and simple overview of the control panel which you use to create, send and track your email campaigns. Even I understood it.

Email Design Templates: Once the design template you’ve chosen is loaded, creating your email message is very similar to using Microsoft Word and includes a lot of the same functionality, such as text formatting, adding images, lists and links. If you can use Word then you can use Big Response to create email messages.

Having to navigate WordPress on this blog, I personally can see the value in this!

Comparative User-friendliness: For an objective evaluation, I decided to compare the Big Response site with a number of other Australian email solutions providers for user-friendliness, and they rated very highly. In fact, Big Response was one of the easiest to navigate.

Verdict: I hereby certify this site as easy to use, and as such award them an A+ in the user-friendly category. I think this is especially great news for newcomers.

Helpful Features

* Free 30-day trial: I’m getting very tired of feeling “trapped” on websites, so I really liked that no credit card is required to sign up for their free trial. Only minimal information was required to get started, and I was instantly transported to the control panel. The free trial account is fully functional and you’ll be able to send up to 100 emails during the trial period.

* Email marketing tips are offered as you navigate your way around the control panel. Nice touch.

* Learning Centre: One of my biggest frustrations when searching websites is not getting enough information about what their service really is; the full picture so to speak. So I was particularly impressed with the Big Response Learning Centre.

I like that they’ve taken the time to clearly outline exactly what email marketing is and the benefits that businesses can gain from it. And this section is very thoughtfully highlighted right on the home page. Excellent for those who are new to business or a bit unsure about what email marketing entails.

* Pricing: I’m not sure what got me more excited, the Learning Centre or the fact they have pricing on their site! I’m often amazed at how rare it is to find a price on a website – especially a service-based site, but here it was clearly labelled. To me this says: We have a straight-forward system … we’re uncomplicated and just want to make things easy for you … here’s what we have to offer and here’s what it will cost you. And frankly I like that.

“Big Response operates on a very simple monthly pricing structure, based on the number of emails you send. See the chart below for exact pricing. If you have any questions please give us a call on 1300 662 182. We’re always here to help.”

Love it!

All the Features included in their package are clearly outlined and their offer is structured very simply (which wins brownie points with me):

  • The ability to collect an unlimited number of subscribers.
  • Unlimited free phone and email support from our expert team.
  • No contracts, hosting fees, setup costs or termination fees.
  • Month-by-month payments. You can cancel at any time.

Test #2: Affordability

So do they stack up on affordability? In a nutshell, yes. Although it was difficult to compare apples with apples, and many email solutions providers don’t tell you their fees up front. But of the ones I could find, when you compare what’s included in the price, and then factor in Big Response’s added benefits such as no contracts, no hosting fees, no setup costs or termination fees, their offer is very attractive.

Areas for Improvement

* Convince me: I would like to have been told what the benefits were for choosing their service over another email marketing solutions provider.

* Ready-made email design templates (which can be customised to include your colours and logo) appears to be a fairly standard offer. They have a reasonable range, most of which have a very corporate look to them, and also offer custom-designed email templates. However, I thought the pickings were slim and would like to have seen a few more ready-made designs on offer.

* From what I understand, Big Response only offer email campaigns at this time. Some providers also offer SMS marketing solutions, and I imagine this would be very handy for some businesses.

In all, I think Big Response stand up to their brand promise of being an affordable system that “any Australian small business could use”. You can have an email campaign up and running with minimal outlay, minimal fuss, and in record time.

Comments

  1. Hi Dani,

    I couldn’t leave this post alone because email marketing is something that i just seem to be learning more and more about these days.

    I’ve written about Campaign Monitor before because they have an excellent blog section for the DIY’er. The ratio that i once heard about email marketing is that if you spend $1, the average ROI is a $50 return (naturally this depends on how well you email market your business).

    As for Big Response, i’d say that if you are doing email marketing in general then you cannot go wrong. I loved the post Dani… Does BigResponse actually have a lot of tracking features that you can build into your email marketing campaigns? I would assume so but you never know 🙂

    Talk soon Dani,

    Luc

  2. Nice review Danielle, it’s always good to see businesses helping to educate their customers.

    We at Campaign Monitor are Aussies too – based in Sydney. (Thanks to the two guys above who gave us a mention).

    We really want to look after web designers and agencies who are designing campaigns for their clients, but we also spend a lot of time adding information to our email marketing and design blog.

  3. Hi Dani! Thanks for the review, and thanks for the comments guys. Luc: Big Response lets you track open rates, which links people click, how many signups you get a day, etc. You should sign up for a free trial to give it a go 🙂

    http://www.bigresponse.com.au/freetrial.php

  4. Just finished reading the review and Dani we’re already implementing your suggestions into the web site. We’re also in the process of having lots more email templates created by our graphic designers, so we’ll have them into the system in a few days.

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  6. William Profet from OneJobTwoSalaries.com says

    Hi Danielle,

    I have checked BigResponse and it is cool.

    You can try Campaign Monitor – http://www.campaignmonitor.com/

    It is very easy to use and with very usable interface.

    Regards,
    William

  7. What’s with the Aussie’s controlling the email marketing world? That is a pretty great accomplishment.

    Thanks Mitchell for the clarification about your system. I made just give it a try and review it on my site for kicks because email marketing, i feel, i an under-utilized facet of marketing. Any good books or sites you could suggest for email list building strategies? Talk soon

    Luc

  8. Dani – glad you liked the phone call 🙂 We have 10 guys in the office and we’re growing rapidly.

    Luc – I guess Aussies latched onto email marketing and simple ways to allow small businesses to use it to their advantage quite quickly in the scheme of things.

    Technology adoption is normally US first, Australia second (or third) and I personally feel OZ is just starting to get really serious about email marketing, hence the reason we spent 4 years developing the technology behind Big Response.

  9. the best business is built on the personal recommendations

  10. Hi Mitchell,

    Do you have any good suggestions for books dealing with list building or any resources on Big Response?

    Luc

  11. Hi Luc: If you’d like to send me an email I’d be happy to send you some links, sure.

  12. Danielle says

    Hi guys – thanks to everyone for your comments. Email marketing seems to be a hot topic!!

  13. Danielle says

    Mitchell – that’s awesome!! You guys are obviously on the ball.

    Speaking of which, as it happens, I received a follow-up call today from Adam in your office (after signing up to do the review). He was completely unaware that I’d written a review, and had called to offer his assistance.

    Very impressive all round. Kudos on your professionalism! 🙂

  14. Hi Mitchell,

    Just emailed you through the BigResponse website. Get back to me when you have a minute.

    Luc