Article #61, September, 2007
Don't make the same newsletter mistakes I did!
Part 2: Technical
The technical components of creating and emailing a newsletter (or ezine) are extremely important, and should be studied before embarking on your newsletter journey. At the risk of frightening you, if you make too many mistakes, your website could be blacklisted!
I strongly recommend using a web-based service to send out your newsletters - you can save many hours and prevent many problems this way. For example, your ISP probably has strict restrictions on how many emails you are permitted to send and may not allow you to use their service for marketing your business. When I first started my newsletter, I used Yahoo to send it out - about 5 years ago. At that time, they allowed only 50 emails sent per hour, so it took several hours each time I sent out a newsletter, just to mail it out!
The first determination to make is whether you are only planning to keep in touch with clients and prospects, or if you plan to grow your list substantially in order to sell products or otherwise increase passive income in the future.
If you only plan to keep in touch, especially if you are not very computer literate, you want to select a service based on good customer service and available training. Whether you are more or less technology savvy, the software should be easy to use. Many services offer a free 30-day trial.
If you just plan to keep in touch with clients and prospects, a single opt-in service will probably work fine. This means either you or the subscriber can sign up and they are on the list. They can opt out at any time.
If you plan to grow your list over time, and plan to use it to sell products or other passive income, I strongly suggest you use a double opt-in service right from the start. This means you or the subscriber signs them up, then the subscriber receives an email asking them to verify or confirm the subscription. They can, of course, unsubscribe any time.
If you build your list and then move to a double opt-in service later, many, and I mean MANY, of your subscribers will not follow you to the new service. (This happened to me, sadly.)
As we all know, spam is a huge, out-of-control issue. All ISPs and other internet services have added regulations and policies to combat spam. Unfortunately, some policies and restrictions harm legitimate business people like us, affecting deliverability. ISPs often market their services by talking about how strict their spam filters are. Many individuals and businesses set their filters very high, filtering out our newsletters. These filters often look for attachments (Note: don't use attachments at all, ever, in your newsletters) and certain words.
Subscribe to some other newsletters from businesses similar to yours to see what they do. When you see words like fr*ee and mon*ey with an odd character in the middle of the word, or obvious misspellings, this is done to fool the spam filters. (You may certainly subscribe to my newsletter for a good example!)