A long time ago (at least it seems so) I got a newsletter from my friend Euan Semple. A couple of years back I had decided it was time for me to have my own newsletter (old skool can be good) but I have to say I’ve been less than regular at keeping my subscribers updated on whatever I was doing. Maybe partly because Google Groups is a pain in the neck, and also because I decided to make the newsletter bilingual-translated (a lot of work).
I still think newsletters are a good idea, when done well. When Euan sent me his, I asked him what he was using: MailChimp. I’ve been wanting to try it ever since and have recommended it to clients, but only yesterday did I decide to dive in and really get things going.
I love the UI and the tons of tutorials available. I managed to import my subscribers from my Google Group without too much trouble. One thing I like is that MailChimp allows you to make groups of subscribers inside a list: in my case, I made one for French and one for English. People can chose their preferred language (or even sign up for both). You can also add in custom fields, which I did to allow people to sign up for local (Suisse romande) news.
One thing I’m not quite happy with is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to batch-edit subscriber settings. For example, when I imported the list I set everybody to plain text e-mail, and now I want to switch them over to HTML. I’m also not sure to what extent people can edit their subscription settings once they’re subscribed, if at all.
MailChimp has all the tracking and segmenting features you can wish for. Under 500 subscribers and 3000 e-mails a month, it’s free.
It also has RSS to e-mail, which in my opinion is really precious. I’ve started to see how many people sign up to receive blog posts in their mailbox since WordPress.com implemented the feature. It would be a shame to miss out on that!
Now, the question that’s left for me is the following: do I create just one list, and let people choose options like “subscribe to blog”, “newsletter only”, “receive delicious links” — or do I create separate lists? I’m leaning towards just one.
Update 18.06.2010: Eeeps! I forgot to give you the link so you could sign up to my newsletter. Silly me!