Maintaining contact with your clients is of constant importance. Done right, nothing beats e-mail for intimacy, immediacy, and low cost. Yes, there are risks to being accused of spamming, but a little care can eliminate that concern. One of my successful website clients found that sales increased 50% the week following a mailing, making it well worth the time to write a simple letter, update his inventory, and pay for list updates and distribution.
If I host your site, it's trivial to include a process to invite visitors to sign up for your mailings. A surprising number of them will be curious enough to commit this extra time. Once they choose to join your list, they treat you as family, and your messages get special treatment in their inbox.
I can automate address collection from visitors, manage mailing lists including your existing clients, help edit your copy, format mail for HTML and text-only subscribers, deliver the mail, and handle the inevitable bounces. Any or all phases can be handled, lists from a few dozen to a thousands. I have the capacity to deliver about a million messages a week without changes to the current network. (If you need more than that I'll grow the network!)
Our website clients are entitled to five standard POP3 accounts with their basic hosting, e-mail only hosting is also available. My mail server runs current Sendmail on Linux, and is equipped with MailScanner, F-Prot Antivirus, and SpamAssassin. Viruses are blocked, and spam is clearly labeled so that your mail client can shunt it to a a separate folder or directly to the trash. (The highest scoring spam is also blocked at the server.) The result is a clean and safe flow of mail. Custom mail processing for various purposes (such as your "info@" mail going to several mail boxes at once) is easily handled.
A discussion list is a system in which members send messages to the list, which then forwards the message on to all members. They are wonderful tools for casual (but possibly serious) asynchronous learning and decision making. All the salespeople in one office, for example, can be in one list and keep up to date with new developments or trade tips, even if they are rarely all in the office at one time and don't have spare hours for meetings anyway. It's even more valuable when the staff aren't in the same office. I have a server dedicated to this, running about a dozen lists for company groups, a church committee that has problems getting all their members in one place for meetings, the membership of my home-owners association, and a couple of groups of random strangers that share specific interests. Unlike Yahoo Groups, this costs money but doesn't waste your time on ads. Single lists starting at $15 per month, going up for larger groups and down for multiple groups sponsored by one client.
For more information: vanhorn at whidbey.com