Mailing List Options

Mailing lists are a good way of sending out bulk emails to people who have ‘subscribed’ to your mailing list. It means that you can send marketing emails to people who have previously shown interest in your work and are likely to want to know more, or better still, buy your work.

To compile a mailing list you need:
1) A form on your website where subscribers can opt in (your web designer will need to add this)
2) A method of managing your mailing list
3) A method of sending out newsletters

There are very many options available on the web. No method is easy to manage for those with limited technical ability. We offer three options:

1) MailChimp 

MailChimp is an automated service and is regarded as an industry leader, used by many large organisations. Visitors subscribe by signing up via a form on your website. The email address automatically gets added to your list (and MC also manages ‘unsubscribe’ requests). From time to time you can send out mailings marketing your work.

Process Overview

1) Open a MC account.
2) Create a list (eg my subscribers).
3) Add the sign up form to your website.
4) Create a template for your newsletters.
5) When you want to send out a newsletter, you login to your MC account and create a newsletter using one of their templates, or you can create your own. When ready, you hit sent and off it goes to everyone on the list.

Advantages

  • It automates the process so visitors add their email address on your site and MC automatically adds them to a central list. MC will also automatically unsubscribe sign ups if they request it. The only thing you really need to worry about is creating and sending your newsletters.
  • MC also provides interesting statistics on who has looked and the newsletter, how many open, what they have clicked on etc..
  • Support available on their website and there are many MailChimp training courses available on the web.
  • Ideal if you have a large mailing list and regularly attract new subscribers.

Disadvantages

  • It is complicated to use and there is a huge learning curve. You need to have a good computing skills. Some people never get on with the MC website.
  • The first 2000 subscribers are free. When your list goes over 2000, you have to pay – and it is quite expensive.

2) MAIL POET

MailPoet is an integrated WordPress mailing list option. Unlike MailChimp , MailPoet enables you to create newsletters and manage lists from within the WordPress dashboard. Visitors subscribe by signing up via a form on your website. The email address automatically gets added to your list (and MP also manages ‘unsubscribe’ requests). From time to time you can send out mailings marketing about you work direct from your website.

Process Overview

1) Install MailPoet Plugin.
2) Create a list (eg my subscribers).
3) Add the sign up form to your website.
4) Create a template for your newsletters.
5) When you want to send out a newsletter, you login to your website Dashboard and create a newsletter using one of their templates, or you can create your own. When ready, you hit sent and off it goes to everyone on the list.

Advantages

  • It automates the process so visitors add their email address on your site and MP automatically adds them to a central list stored on your website space. MP will also automatically unsubscribe sign ups if they request it. The only thing you really need to worry about is creating and sending your newsletters.
  • Support available on their website and there are many MailPoet training courses available on the web.

Disadvantages

  • It is complicated to use and there is learning curve. You need to have a good computing skills. Only suitable if you are knowledgeable about using WordPress and mailing templates.
  • Deliverability is an issue and MailPoet understand that which is why they allow you touse third-party SMTP services like SendGrid (which cost money).
  • If your webspace ever gets hacked, you may lose your mailing list and records of any mailings you have sent out in the past.

3) Manual Method

This is a simpler alternative, recommended if you are just starting out with mailing lists. You probably send and receive emails every day using an app like Gmail or Outlook. You can also use your email editor to send out messages to groups of contacts (making sure you use the BCC field so that you do not reveal the addresses of people on your list). We recommend this method if you are just starting out with mailing lists because there is little point spending a lot of time learning how to use MailChimp if you only have very few subscribers.

Process Overview

1) Create a form on your website which gathers emails addresses and sends them to your normal email address (your web designer will need to do this for you in most cases).
2) Create a contact list using your normal email editor and manually add your subscribers to this list as they come in.
3) Using your email editor, create a template for your newsletters.
4) Send out your mailings, making sure you send a copy to yourself and  BCC every on your mailing list. That way, recipients will never see the email address of other people on your mailing list.

Advantages

  • Low cost – all that is needed to get started is a subscribe form on your website.
  • Free to send out mailings using your own email editor.

Disadvantages

  • Everything is done manually.
  • Fiddly – you have to manually add new subscribers to your mailing contact list.
  • Your email editor may restrict the number of emails you can send out in one go, so you may need to divide mailings into one or more batches of say 15 subscribers.
  • Data security – you need to make sure you have a reliable method by which subscribers can unsubscribe.
  • You also need to make sure your NEVER send out a mailing which shows the other people on your mailing list.
  • Not suitable if you already have a large mailing list.
  • No statistics on mailings.

Do I need a mailing list at all?

This is interesting reading https://smartblogger.com/create-a-newsletter/