Choosing an Newsletter Service for Your Publishing Empire

A robust, regular, compelling newsletter is one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tools available to anybody. It’s especially valuable to micropreneur, solo authors like us because the initial investment is so low. If you don’t have a newsletter yet, we recommend you read our article here, or this one here (or this one over here) about how valuable they are and what you need to start one. 

When you just have a dozen or so subscribers, you can theoretically handle sending them updates with a mailing list in excel, and copy/pasting their addresses into the BCC box of your email app. After that, though, the nitty gritty of managing emails becomes untenable. 

Enter email services. These outfits pick up the baton of email management for you, automating management of your contact list, providing attractive graphic design tools, and helping you set up sign-up pages, along with a host of other ways to not just make managing your newsletter easier, but adding value to the people who read it. 

Bottom line: you need an email service. The question is which one?

There’s no single answer, since every author has differing needs, tech savvy, budget constraints, and tastes. What we can tell you here is what you need to make your own decision. So let’s get started.

Point of Consideration

Although we can’t tell you exactly which email service you should use, we can help you decide by spelling out the factors most authors found most important. These include:

  • Services Offered: what core functions, bells, and whistles the service provides
  • Compliance Watch: how well the service helps you comply with federal anti-spam laws
  • Entry Level Costs: what it will cost you to start up, and manage a small but growing list
  • Costs After Growth: price points as your list grows, or as you opt for extra services
  • Customer Service Ratings: how current and lapsed customers feel about the service
  • Training Resources: how easy the service makes it to learn to use their product
  • Integrations: whether and how easily the service integrates with commonly used apps

We’ll tell you what we learned about each of the major players below. 

The Secret’s In the Service

Rather than define them every time they come up in each entry below, we figured we’d describe the services different newsletter outfits offer, how they help, and to whom they might be most important. Before we do that, we should talk about what “comes standard”. All of the big players offer the following services as part of their paid suites: