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WrapMail Lite: fancy HTML emails at 5 bucks a month

HTML email from WrapMail Lite
Everyone wants a pair of fancy duds, even on emails.

We here at Shoestring Venture try out many services geared to small businesses and startups, and once in a great while, our staff trials result in a find which makes it into our book or our blog. One part of our book that we’re greatly expanding on is our section on email. And one of the most frequent questions I receive in my consulting work involves designing or deploying HTML or rich-media emails. You know, the ones with all the pizzazz, images, links, and logos that typify the best marketing emails.

You have two solutions. You can hire someone to put together an HTML or rich-media email template for you and then set it up for deployment. The odds are in your favor that you can get this done on Craigslist or eLance for anywhere from twenty to a hundred bucks (but anyone you hire on either service is a risk). Or you can pay an online service to do it for you, and that’s why we’re featuring the results of our test with WrapMail Lite today. It’s an all-in-one HTML email package with design templates that you simply plug your information into. At $5 per use per month (or $50 per user per year), it soon adds up to a pricey service if you’ve got several email boxes (20 email boxes is $100 per month — about the price of hiring someone to make you an HTML email for once and forever). But if you’re bopping around with one or two email boxes, the service is a reasonable price for all the headaches you avoid.

The original WrapMail also comes in at $5 per user per month, but front loads the service with a $150 registration fee. We here at Shoestring Venture are not keen on registration fees, so when we first evaluated WrapMail, we decided that the service wasn’t worth the entry fee. Why? It’s not just the cost. From the standpoint of pricing strategy, registration fees act as a “switching cost,” to use MBA-talk. A “switching cost” is what a consumer, business, or client “pays” to leave or switch a service. Here’s how it works: you pay a $150 fee to join a gym and $30 bucks a month to stay there. If you quit, then you lose that $150 fee (and you may have to pay another fee at some other gym). You say to yourself, “I’ll keep paying the monthly fee, even though I don’t like the gym that much, because I haven’t really gotten my money’s worth out of the original registration fee.”

So initial fees tend to psychologically lock people into what might be a subpar solution for them. But starting and running a business, especially when resources are tight, requires lightning-fast flexibility and adaptability. For that reason, we take a dim view of upfront or initial fees, particularly when they’re designed to psychologically lock you into a subscription (really, does it cost the gym or WrapMail 150 bucks to just sign you up?).

So, when WrapMail offered WrapMail Lite, sans the registration fee, we thought it deserved another look. And we’re happy with what we’ve seen. The service is very similar to the original WrapMail, albeit with fewer templates to choose from and no opportunity to have them design a custom HTML email for you (that will require WrapMail and a $175 initial fee).

It works like this. You sign up your business, choose how many “users” your business needs (by “user,” we mean separate email boxes), choose a design for your HTML emails, input all the information, graphics, logos, and links (you can add as many links to your Web site as you can make up) that will appear on the email skin, and begin emailing. WrapMail Lite does all the hosting. You must set the WrapMail server as your SMTP server in either Outlook or some other email client.

You don’t actually see the HTML skin on your email. You simply open up your email client and type in your email. Hit send and your email client sends the text to WrapMail’s SMTP server which then pastes the HTML skin, with all its graphics and links, to the email and moseys it along to your recipients.

Because WrapMail is only an SMTP service (i.e., it only sends emails), that means that you can use any email domain. So if your email domain is “shoestringpublishing.com,” that’s the email domain that shows up in the “From” address, not some other server.

The service also includes contact management tools and email analytics software that tracks which recipients open the emails and which click-through the links on the email (which is ideal for email campaigns or newsletters).


Our policy on product reviews: All product reviews are initiated by the Shoestring Venture editorial staff. Nearly all products reviewed are identified by the editorial staff or outside readers; we rarely review products at the suggestion of the seller or manufacturer. We do not accept remuneration, gifts, or free services. We especially do not review free products since we consider customer service to be an important aspect of any product or online service; we cannot expect normal customer service if the seller or manufacturer is aware of our status as reviewers. For the same reason, unless circumstances demand it, we never inform a seller or manufacturer that we are evaluating and reviewing their product. We try to avoid negative reviews; when a product or service is insufficient, too expensive, or deceptive, we simply refuse to write a review. In rare instances, the Shoestring Venture editorial staff may deem that a negative review essential if we feel that our audience should be informed about a defective, insufficient, overly priced, or otherwise deceptive product or service.

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One Response to “WrapMail Lite: fancy HTML emails at 5 bucks a month”

  1. WrapMail is now FREE!

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