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Your questions, answered: Newsletter software

With all this talk about newsletters, several of you have written to ask:

How do you keep track of all the names? Isn't that an awful lot of administrative work?

This is a splendid question, because it reminds me I haven't really addressed the infrastructure of sending a newsletter, the thing that makes it shockingly simple: email marketing software.

I use Mailchimp and this week's guest expert Wendy uses aWeber. I know there are many more out there, but these are the ones used by, well, everyone I know.

What do they do?

  • Generates a sign-up form. It can be a seperate page (like this) or code for your sidebar (like you see here).
  • Keeps track of subscribes and unsubscribes.
  • Puts an Unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email, so you don't break any spam laws (yes! There are laws about this!).
  • Helps you design a pretty email (like this one).
  • Gives you stats on what got opens, clicks and forwards.

(this is what they look like in Mailchimp)

Getting started

The magic of software is how easy it is to get started. Setting up my first list (for yarncustomers) only took a few hours and I've learned more and more features as I went.

If you want to skip the random poking around that comes with teaching yourself (or if you know you'll keep putting it off if you wait to have a few hours to learn it), I can't recommend Wendy Cholbi, tech translator, enough.

Wendy's helped me figure out all sorts of confusing newsletter-ish stuff and now she's joining me to teach the basics of setting up your first list using newsletter software. She'll make it simple, straightforward and give you a checklist so you know you're not missing a step. You can join us for the class here.

Your questions, answered: newslettery video edition

This is a regular-ish thing, where I answer your questions about an upcoming class. I hope it helps you decide if the class is right for you (and if it’s not, I hope the answers spark something for ya.)

Today, we're talking about tomorrow's class: Send a Delightful Newsletter. I was inspired to answer via video.  If video isn't your thing, I've got a short summary of my answer under each video.

What does this class cover?

We're going to cover:

What: What should you send? What kind of information would delight your People? What's your goal for your newsletter?
Who: Who's gonna get this? How are you going to get people to sign up?
When: How often? What days + what times?
How: How do you make it irresistible?

Is this class for me?

Both classes are for the selling-your-crafty-goodness crowd. Or at least, it's for those of you who are trying to sell your crafty goodness. If your sales aren't regular, having a newsletter will help you steady those sales.  In the video, I get on a tangent about WHY having a newsletter will help you steady your sales.

Let me know in the comments if you like the video answers or if you prefer text.