Recently I have had to evaluate several email marketing management tools and two stood out from the crowd for me.
From an open source point of view phplist is excellent. It is a well maintained newsletter application written in the php programming language. It does take a certain level of expertise to install this mailing list software on your server, and then configure it and set up newsletters etc., but should be within the capabilities of most web masters. Visit http://www.phplist.com/ for download information, demo etc.
The best email marketing product I’ve seen out there for the mass market is MailChimp, which is really easy to set up and unlike phplist, it is managed on mailchimp’s servers and does not have to be installed. Within minutes you can have a list set up, imported from your Google contacts or csv file generated from outlook. You can pick from loads of lovely templates and develop your ezine/newsletter campaign online also. One thing I found brilliant was that you can upload your logo or an image and it will analyse the colours in it and develop a template for you automatically… Sweet!!!
You can test emails before sending them to your email lists/groups and after sending you can check statistics to see who has received/opened the emails and how often etc. All in all it’s an amazing little piece of kit and for most small businesses it is free because you get to create a list of up to 500 members and send 3000 mails per month absolutely free!!!
There are many other packages available out there and all of them beat creating your newsletter and trying to manage lists in your email client such as Outlook. I would definitely recommend giving mailchimp a try.