I started my TS newsletter just over a year ago so I thought I’d share some business tips on how to choose a email marketing vendor and ways to invite members to your newsletter.
There are many choices of vendors to run your newsletter. In deciding on one, you need to access your own strengths and weaknesses. For example, can you write and understand HTML? If not, you should make sure that your vendor provides easy to use formats.
Over at the SF Etsy team, members were discussing what they use and why. Some top suggestions were:
I personally use dadamail. Unlike the other email newsletter vendors, dadamail uses your own web space. I highly suggest it to tech savvy entrepreneurs as you need to be able to install it and set it up. You also need your own website.
Many web hosting companies provide a one click install for dadamail, which makes it much easier. I use hostmonster (and have used godaddy) and was able to install it with their simple scripts – simple enough to do.
The best thing about dadamail is that you can keep an archive of your old newsletters. You can see mine here. Although not as easy, you can also move your dadamail to another server or website.
Another great incentive with dadamail is that it is free. It is an open source mailing list manager and provides closed-loop opt-in subscription-based mailing list. After running my newsletter on dada mail for over a year, I decided to support the dadamail project and purchase the pro dada mail forever (Its not required but I love to support projects that have supported me.).
The more difficult thing to do is send out nice looking HTML coded newsletters. This requires a little more patience than is required for other newsletter vendors. For instance, I haven’t spent the time to customize my newsletter archive.
How to Collect Subscribers
To figure out who would actually subscribe to your newsletter, first think about your audience. If you are an independent artisan store owner, then I would suspect your audience to be one that enjoys crafty, unique items and articles relating to the process of making those items.
To that end, I suggest posting a newsletter subscription panel on your website (see here on the left side?).
Also, when sending out shipping confirmation emails to customers, don’t forget to invite them to subscribe to your newsletter.
Lastly, if you customer pays by paypal or google checkout, you can set up your account to ask your customer if she would like to subscribe to your newsletter. I will write a tutorial on this shortly.
Remember to NEVER add any email address without the permission of the email addressee and always provide an unsubscribe link for subscribers that decide they no longer would like to receive your newsletter.