Email newsletter software
What software do I need? Should I create my newsletter
in a word processor or email program? Which email program should I use?
Those questions came from a visitor to the Manager’s Guide to Newsletters
website. She planned to start an email newsletter that would go to parents
of students at her school and wanted to know about the software she would
In response, we’ll look at these two important questions for newsletter
Word processor or email program? This can be one of the simpler issues,
at least if your mailing list is not too large at start-up. You can write
your newsletter in any email program, or any word processor that allows
you to save your work as plain text (ASCII). Most writers prefer to use
a word processing program for at least the first draft, since it provides
more text manipulation features and saving options.
Once you’ve written, rewritten, spellchecked, and proofread your
newsletter in the word processor, copy and paste it into the body of your
email program (we’ll discuss how to handle that text in the next
article in this series).
Of course, you’ll need an email program of some kind to send out
your newsletter, regardless of where you wrote it. Among email programs,
check both those stand-alone programs and those integrated with browsers.
The most common program is Outlook Express, which comes bundled with
Internet Explorer, and that in turn comes bundled with Windows. But, don’t
overlook the possibilities in the Netscape and Opera suites. In addition,
there’s also a new challenger, Mozilla Thunderbird, which is associated
with the Firefox browser.
Turning to stand-alone email programs, take a look at Eudora (which offers
an advertising-supported version and a version you can buy). It has a
solid reputation among many email newsletter publishers, and I consider
it the best all-purpose email client for my PC (however, I don’t
like it on my Mac, where I use the built-in program, Mail).
I’ve used all of these programs at one time or another, and each
has advantages and disadvantages. In considering them, review the strengths
and weaknesses of their address books as well as their message composition
Once your mailing list grows beyond a certain point (depending on your
personal inclinations), you’ll need to move it out of the email
program and into something more flexible.
In my case, once the list got to something like a hundred subscribers,
I found the management of it frustrating. For example, adding and deleting
email addresses from an email program takes more time and trouble than
doing it in a word processing program or, on a more sophisticated level
again, a database program.
In managing a list of several thousand, I use the Find feature to quickly
pick out and delete someone who wants to unsubscribe. Similarly, it’s
easy to get the list back into alphabetical order at any time by using
the sorting feature of a word processing program.
Another growth issue: As your subscriber list grows, you may want to
move away from your email program and use an independent mailing service.
In that case, you go to a provider company and upload your list one time.
After that, you simply paste your newsletter into a form they provide,
and click the Send button. Then, the service sends out your email using
But, to get started you need only an email program, and you have many
free and worthwhile options. Try each one out for an issue or two of your
newsletter, to find what suits you.
|About the author
Robert F. Abbott, the author of A Manager’s Guide to Newsletters:
Communicating for Results, writes and publishes Abbott’s Communication
Letter. Read more articles about Internet communication, as well as
email and printed newsletters at:
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