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Will Total Send’s aggressive pricing disrupt the email marketing space?

People are spoiled for choice when it comes to email marketing services. For example, internationally there is MailChimp, iContact, Benchmark and Campaign Monitor, while Everlytic, and Graphic Mail have made their marks on the South African market. Dashing into the fray comes Total Send, an email marketing service from Cape Town. It’s pièce de résistance? Aggressive pricing.

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Total Send’s founder Luke Wingfield Digby believes that the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimisation (SEO) scenes have become too crowded and expensive. His experience with a previous venture showed that the best return on investment for online marketing efforts came by way of email marketing. Digby’s opinion is not unfounded. A recent study found that email marketing is still one of the strongest forms of B2B marketing today

As a serial entrepreneur, Digby founded Property Select, an overseas property investment portal, and OS Invest, an online lead generation company servicing the real estate, finance and travel industries.

OS Invest had built up a big database of leads and clients. Not satisfied with its PPC and SEO efforts, Digby’s team developed an in-house email marketing system. The system was ratcheted up as the business started doing high volumes of email marketing, which led to the birth of Total Send, a packaged and polished version of the original in-house system.

Entering a crowded market, Digby positioned the service as a low-cost email marketing service with do-it-yourself or managed options. Basic by design, it offers marketers the ability to create email newsletters through template builders, list management, segmentation, A/B split testing, campaign management and live statistic reporting.

So just how competitive is the pricing? For 5000 subscribers and an unlimited send limit Total Send’s pricing is US$35. For the same package MailChimp asks US$50, Campaign Monitor US$99, Everlytic ±US$45 and Graphic Mail ±US$55.

While Total Send’s pricing is clearly competitive, its competitors offer flexible pricing structures, better free options and not surprisingly, more features — Everlytic for example allows for SMS campaigns.

Digby downplays his competitors’ offerings.

“Total Send offers email marketing services at much better value than its competitors. In addition, it only offers the services that marketers actually need and use, so the service stays easy-to-use and uncomplicated compared with all-singing, all-dancing competitors. Email remains the most important digital channel a company has for engaging with its stakeholders. Both as a standalone activity and as part of a multi-channel communication strategy, email has the reach and level of engagement to achieve the best possible ROI for marketers. Total Send makes this cheaper and easier for companies to do,” says Digby.

While Total Send is designed to offer just the basics, Digby says that the service will eventually offer a full suite of message delivery & marketing channels, SMS, transactional email, email branding and social marketing.

Bootstrapped in May 2011, Total Send is growing at about 400 new customers each month and has found favour with clients such as BBC Top Gear Festival and ESET Antivirus. English-speaking countries will be targeted first — Total Send has country branded sites for South Africa, the UK, USA, and Australia — before moving to other markets.

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