Offering an e-newsletter on your website is a great idea - probably a better idea than you think, too!
E-newsletters are quickly becoming the easiest and most effective way to market. We're not talking about sending "spam," but rather sending your website visitors valuable information. Imagine! Every week, month or quarter you have hundreds or even thousands of people that want to get e-mail from you about your business, organization, or band. Now think about how much would that cost you to send in the mail. Multiply that number by zero and you get a rough cost of how much e-newsletter mailing costs you!
If you think writing an e-newsletter is difficult, it really doesn't have to be. You have options.
If you're blogging, then your e-newsletter can simply be a roundup of your latest blog posts. We have clients doing that and it works fine. Better yet, offer your e-newsletter subscribers special content that's not available on your website - or even before it appears on your website. Give them special offers or private customer appreciation sales.
Here are some ideas on writing articles for blogging, which can help you with writing for your e-newsletter as well:
And if you're still not sure what to do, we do have copywriters for hire!
There are plenty of plugins for your website where your very own website can take care of your e-newsletter management. Essentially, you could run this service for free and not pay a monthly fee. So why sign up for a service? Good question! There are a number of good reasons.
In order to be able to send out e-newsletters to a list of 100 or 40,000, the server needs to be able to handle it. So does the server host.
Each email address on the list will need to receive their own email - not a blind carbon copy of some other email. Each email needs to have, by law (Can Spam Act) a link where that user can unsubscribe. Each email can take 10 or more seconds to send. As this is happening for a long time, it could be stealing resources from people wanting to visit websites on that server, slowing those websites down. It doesn't even have to be your website - it can by any website that resides on the same server.
Spam / Blacklists
There are ISPs (Internet Service Providers) out there that want and need to block anything they suspect as being spam so that their users are not spammed to death. If a number of emails come in from a certain server's IP address, and if a number of them get tagged as being spam/junk email by their users, then that ISP will most likely choose to block any more email from that server. That is how servers get put on blacklists. Even if that user did want to get email from a website and did subscribe, what people sometimes do is just say it's spam instead of try to unsubscribe the right way.
The big problem with blacklists is that legit email does need to get through. Let's say you have a website that has a shopping cart. When an order is complete, the expected action is that the customer gets an email invoice. Well, what happens if the server is trying to send an email to that user and they are using an ISP that has blacklisted that server? That user, even though they were not the ones saying other email was spam, will not get that order invoice. That simply cannot happen.
It takes some work to stay off of these blacklists. First, it has to be monitored weekly (maybe daily). If the server does get put on that list, then there's a removal process to go through as well. And then there are several lists that need to be monitored with new ones showing up all the time.
This is why it's the policy of Webstix that the websites we host cannot have their own e-newsletter list mangement software installed. They must use an off-server service of some sort - like Constant Contact.
E-newsletter list mangement services offer reliability. Not only are they better set up to send to large lists (which you should aim to have) but they have the resouces to better guarantee that your emails will reach their intended customers. They work to keep their servers off of spam blacklists.
People are more likely to sign up for an e-newsletter if they see you are using a name brand service provider like Constant Contact. On the flip side, they are more likely to trust that they will be unsubscribed if they see the Constant Contact logo at the bottom of the email.
The stats you get with a service like Constant Contact are vital. You can see who received the emails, who opened them, how many times and if they clicked on a link in the email to get to your website. These stats are important and will greatly help you shape your email marketing efforts. These stats alone are the best reason to change and worth the added cost.
In order for email marketing to work well and reliably, you simply need to use an e-newsletter service. Internet Service Providers are clamping down very hard on spam now - more than ever before. The game has changed and you simply cannot get away with hosting this service yourself anymore - even if you do not host on our servers. You want your work and your campaigns to be successful, right?
Sign up for an e-newsletter service. There are plenty out there. We would recommend using Constant Contact.