If your organisation regularly uses email for marketing or newsletters it is worth considering an email newsletter system. Online newsletter systems can be used to send emails to a list of recipients and make it simple to build and send your newsletter, and to collect and manage subscribers. Depending on the number of subscribers, many systems can be accessed for free or at low cost.

An online newsletter system also makes it easy to monitor what happens to your emails and if they're helping you achieve your goals. You can track how many are delivered, how many are opened and how many of your links are clicked.

Another factor to consider is that using your organisation’s email account to repeatedly send emails to a long list of recipients can get your organisation blacklisted by internet service providers as a spammer. Using an online email newsletter system will help you avoid that, and you’ll also be less likely to end up in your recipients’ junk mail folder.

By law, you have to make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe from your emails, and an online system makes that simple for them and automatic for you. Online email systems also check your list of subscribers for errors.

Selecting an email marketing and newsletter system

When choosing a system consider how your readers access the internet, for example do they use desktop computers, tablets, phones or all three, and make sure you select a package that will meet their needs.

Most systems have a range of templates to make sure your newsletters look attractive and are easy to read and can be accessed in a range of browsers and on different devices. If you receive a newsletter you like it's a good idea to contact the sender to find out what system they use.

Many systems have additional features that are suitable for corporations and organisations with large databases that allow them to segement their audiences, tailor messages to different groups and monitor which campaigns lead to increased sales. If you are a small to medium organisation or are just starting out you may find that you don't need to pay for these extra 'bells and whistles'.

Monitoring your email and newsletter results

To ensure your email marketing is on track and helping you reach your goals, you will need to monitor your results. Most online packages include some form of reporting to let you monitor:

  • how many emails are bouncing
  • how many emails are being delivered
  • how many emails are opened
  • how many links within the emails are being clicked.

You can also test different variables to see if they improve open and click through rates. For example you can test different email subject lines or change the time of day you send an email to see what suits your target audiences.

More information

For more information about email and newsletter systems and a list of providers, check out the email newsletters resource on the ImproveIT website.

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