Starting a new project? Congratulations to you! Hopefully your project is something so interesting, so valuable, so unique — that people will want to hear more about it as it gets off the ground. An email newsletter is a great way to keep everyone in the loop.

Even if you don’t plan to start sending a newsletter right away, taking the time to have an organized system to gather email addresses will help you succeed in the long run.

Why? Studies show [1] that unlike other marketing types (for example: social media, printed mailers, or search-engine ads) people actually take the time to read their email.

So, what’s the best way to get started? Well, you could just start collecting addresses using written notes or a spreadsheet. Although:

  • What if you lose your notes?
  • What if you need to merge multiple lists?
  • What if people change their mind and want to be removed?

Even the best-case scenario would make a lot of work for you. It’s far better to use a dedicated system for this type of thing.

MailChimp

MailChimp is great, and I usually recommend them. If your needs are modest, and you have under 2,000 contacts, and you only send out to your list a few times a month, you can use them for free.

If you go over that, they have a ~$30 per month plan that allows you to send to up to 2,500 contacts, and you can send up to 500,000 emails per month.

You can also buy credits on a pay-as-you-go plan for $150 per 5000 sends.

Commonly-requested features that aren’t included in the free plan:

  • Ability to remove MailChimp branding from the footer of emails
  • Greater control over the design of emails
  • Ability to invite team members to collaborate with you
  • Phone and chat support
  • Ability to send more than 10,000 emails per month

Build it yourself options

If you’re over that limit, and aren’t using any of the advanced features MailChimp offers such as email automation, I’d recommend looking at “transactional email services” meaning that they typically don’t include any kind of email marketing services themselves, but rather provide a developer-friendly way to setup list management, schedule sending, etc.

Compare pricing for sending both 20,000 and 200,000 emails per month on various services:

Service20,000 emails200,000 emailsDedicated IP
Amazon SES$2 / month$20 / month$24.95
Mailgun$5 / month$139 / month$59
Sendgrid$14.95 / month$104.95 / month$30
MailChimp$159 / month$1099 / monthn/a

But that’s not to say you have to be a developer to use these tools. If you have an existing website or app, it may be best to integrate it with that.

For example, if you have a WordPress website, there are a number of plugins that allow you to create and send emails from the Dashboard. Your WordPress install can then be easily configured to send all emails through your transactional email service. Here are a few examples:

  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/mailpoet/
  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/mailjet-for-wordpress/
  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/email-subscribers/
  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/newsletter/

While you could simply send emails from your own web server, without using a transactional email service, sooner or later you will likely run into sending limits, or issues with your emails being marked as spam.

Another way to tackle list management is to use a third party tool such as Zapier to automate tasks such as sending and unsubscribing. [2]

Here’s some services like that:

  • https://www.dyspatch.io/sendwithus/
  • https://sendy.co/
  • https://emailoctopus.com/pricing-connect

[1] McKinsey & Company, E-mail is still a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/why-marketers-should-keep-sending-you-emails

[2] Zapier, The 9 Best Transactional Email Services to Send Thousands of Emails > Automate Email With Zapier https://zapier.com/learn/email-marketing/best-transactional-email-sending-services/