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How do I Choose the Best Email Newsletter Service?

Leah Bloom
Leah Bloom

Every email newsletter service offers a different set of tools at a different price. However, the best one is not necessarily the most robust or expensive. Rather, it's the one that best meets your needs. To choose the best email newsletter service for you, you may want to consider not only your budget, but the technical expertise of your email marketing manager, how much time he or she will be able to allocate to email marketing, and what data will be most useful for you to collect about your mailings. This information can help you choose a service that works for your capacity and helps you achieve your goals.

The cost for both basic and sophisticated email newsletter services vary from one to the next. Some rates are based on the number of email addresses in your database, some on the number of emails you send out. Others work on a subscription basis, with a monthly fee covering a set number of addresses or messages. If you can project your usage or the rate of growth of your mailing list, you may be better able to choose the service with most economical terms.

Companies, nonprofits, and other groups send out email newsletters as a marketing strategy.
Companies, nonprofits, and other groups send out email newsletters as a marketing strategy.

The most basic email newsletter services are meant to be easy to use for those without much experience with design, HTML coding or email marketing. They often offer built-in email templates that are simple to populate with your own content and images. The user interface is often a "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) editor that makes building an eNewsletter much like writing a Word document, so almost anyone with basic word processing skills can do it. These services also often automatically track key data about mail sent, such as bounce rate, open rate, and click-through rate. If you are new to email marketing, or have a small or homogeneous mailing list, a basic service may suit your needs well.

At the other end of the spectrum is the sort of email newsletter service that allows the user to design every detail and control every variable in an email campaign. In addition to a WYSIWYG editor, a such a service may allow hand-coding and editing of the HTML. If a generic email template is not sufficient for your purposes, a more advanced email marketing service can give you the freedom to build your own. It may also allow you to test different versions of an email in a single campaign, make certain passages in your newsletter visible only to those who meet particular criteria, and automate responses to recipients' behaviors. If you plan on experimenting with different kinds of content or different ways to segment your mailing list, an email newsletter service that is highly customizable may be best for you.

There are so many email newsletter services available that it can be hard to tell which are ones are simple and which ones are complex. Fortunately, you can often take advantage of a free trial before you decide what to buy. Even if you don't see this option advertised, it's worth requesting a trial period to see whether you are comfortable with how a given system works. However, setting up a new system can be time-consuming, so it may be wise to narrow your list down to two or three finalists before you take any for a test drive.

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    • Companies, nonprofits, and other groups send out email newsletters as a marketing strategy.
      By: a4stockphotos
      Companies, nonprofits, and other groups send out email newsletters as a marketing strategy.