A Few Recommendations on E-Newsletter Tools

Thanks (once again) to Idealware for providing valuable ratings of e-news tools. I can’t tell you how frequently clients and Getting Attention workshop attendees and readers ask for recommendations.

But rather than duplicate a great effort, let me add a few comments:

  • Forget about sending bulk emails or e-news via Outlook or Mailman, even though you may already have these tools on hand (and they seem cheap). This shouldn’t even be listed as an option, since the cost of getting your organization’s emails tagged as spam is in the billions. Forget about it.
  • Don’t use the free e-news tools — like Topica or Yahoo or Google Groups, if you want to preserve your nonprofit’s brand. The ads that fund these "free" services will dilute your message.
  • Add IntelliContact to the list of hosted e-news tools to consider. I’ve used this service for a few years now for the GettingAttention e-news and find it flexible, reliable and well-priced.
  • Remember that the tool you select is just one factor in the very large equation that equals e-news impact. Learn how to get there via these e-news tips.

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Nancy Schwartz on April 11, 2007 in Email and E-Newsletters, Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources | 2 comments
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  • silverlining

    Great tips. The Idealware article cites Constant Contact, but I’ve been perpetually annoyed that CC just assumes you’d want not one, but several phone calls from your “account manager.” Even when you ask them to stop.
    There should be a way of opting out of these phone solicitations, and only getting help when you request it. Or at least allow folks to indicate if they’d prefer to be contacted by email over telephone.
    I’ve also found that tracking links in your email–one of the premier services that makes it a better option over, say, Outlook–is really tough and counter-intuitive to code, especially in a custom html template.

  • Thanks for the link, Nancy!
    Just a comment about Outlook and Mailman’s inclusion – we’ve included them mostly for those with *very* small lists, and in order to be able to walk through all the downsides. I agree with you (and the article states) that Outlook isn’t a good solution if you’re sending bulk emails to more than a few dozen people. It’s far too often used for large lists.
    Mailman is slightly better, but I agree that you need to worry about blacklisting if you’re sending more than a hundred or so emails at a time. I see no reason to be concerned about blacklisting if you’re only sending a hundred or so emails a month, and no more than that in a single day (which is well within the realm of normal traffic). We’ve included Mailman as a reasonable solution for those with a fair amount of tech expertise, and a very small list looking for a very inexpensive solution – but that doesn’t make it right for the majority of orgs!

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