An email newsletter is one of the most convenient and easy ways to keep in touch with your clients and prospects. So you've made the decision to design an email newsletter to use as your follow up tool in your brand design toolkit? The next decision is how to manage the newsletter from a technical perspective.
Let's look at the technical aspects of managing your email newsletter. You want your email newsletter to be easy to manage — it should involve as little time and effort as possible on your part. You also want your recipients to get the newsletter without it landing in their spam folder. And you want your newsletter to be compliant with spamming laws, like the CAN-SPAM act.
While it's tempting to send out your newsletter using your normal email software program, it's not the best choice. Your regular email program doesn't offer the necessary features — that's the job of an email newsletter service.
- Manages the sending: If you try to send your email newsletter from your own email account, you'll run into a couple of problems. First of all most email programs only allow a certain number of emails to be sent out in a single batch. So if you have you a large list you'll have to send it out several times. Second, many spam filters consider a large recipient list one of the sure signs of spam. If you want your clients and prospects to receive your email, you'd have to keep your lists tiny. Lastly, you can't embed images into your emails with email clients like Outlook — they'll come through at the other end as attachments. If you want to create a beautiful branded email, a service is the way to go.
- Manages your list for you: Imagine trying to administer your own email newsletter list. One day you get emails from 5 different people asking to be added to your list. The next day another 10. So you go into your master list and cut and paste all of their names into the list. Then a couple of people ask to be removed from your list. You open your list up and search through it for their email addresses to remove them. When it comes time to send your newsletter you have to make sure that you've manually added or removed everyone who has requested to get on or off your list — what a lot of work!An email service manages all of these details for you. You get a simple subscribe/unsubscribe form, right on your website. And each newsletter has an "Unsubscribe" link included at the bottom — which is required in the US by CAN-SPAM laws. It's a good idea to be CAN-SPAM compliant overseas too. You can even create multiple lists to further manage your follow-up.
- Sends your email out to each recipient individually: Instead of sending out your email to your entire recipient list at once, an email program will individually send each email. This doesn't mean that you have to configure the service to send out a million individual emails. You just tell it to send to your list and it takes care of packaging up and sending each individual email behind the scenes.
- Enable you to send out your own newsletter: Many newsletter services offer easy built-in editors. The service allows you to instantly edit your newsletter text, insert new feature images, and add links. Instead of paying a designer or coder to put your newsletter together and manage the sending each month, signing up with a service will put some easy-to-use tools in your hands.
- Offer advance scheduling: Say you're headed out on vacation just when you typically send out your email newsletter. You don't want to have to lug around your computer and find an Internet connection just to send it out. But you also don't want to be inconsistent and send it out late. Newsletter services offer advance scheduling — you can set up your newsletter to be sent out days, weeks or even months in advance. And it will automatically go out on the day and time you specify. This is great not only for vacations, but for hectic workweeks and making the overall process simpler.
- They're not very expensive: For example, Email Brain offers a package for small businesses that allows you to send out up to 2000 emails in a month for $10. That's a small price to pay for all of the help they provide.
Using an email newsletter service will make your newsletter follow up campaign easier. It will make it easier to manage, more likely to be received by your prospects and customers (instead of winding up in their spam folder) and compliant with all the local laws. It's a low-cost way to make your newsletter campaign more effective.
[Via Elf Design]