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.
- 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!