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We finally setup a newsletter last week. We originally intended to offer a newsletter from the beginning, but we never got around to do it. This has been a mistake I guess, since newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with potential customers and interested parties. Once they subscribe, you can always inform them about version updates and other useful information. Even in times of billions of spam mails a day, many people still sign up to newsletters.

We have been providing RSS feeds since the start of Gurock Software to inform about version updates, news, press releases and more. This works well, we have quite a few subscribers, but I think most people are still more familiar with email. That’s why we decided to add the newsletter. The first thing we needed to figure out was which software or service we are going to use. We had the option to either setup the newsletter on our own by using some software like Mailman or to use a service like Campaign Monitor. Normally, we prefer setting up our own, but since we’ve heard a lot of good things about Campaign Monitor in the past we decided to give them a try.

I think it was the right decision. Using Campaign Monitor saved us our many hours of installing and configuring our own solution. Furthermore, Mailman actually seems to be more suited for mailing lists instead of newsletter anyway, whereas the Campaign Monitor service is exactly what we’ve been looking for. It does exactly what we need and can heavily be customized. One nice feature of Campaign Monitor is the ability to redirect people to an URL of your choice after they’ve subscribed to your newsletter or confirmed a subscription. This way, you are able to hide the usage of a third-party service and use the familiar look and feel of your website.

For our customers, the entire subscription procedure then looks like this: On the main newsletter page (or on home using the box on the bottom right) you can subscribe to our newsletter by entering your email address. When clicking on the subscribe button, Campaign Monitor sends an email to let you confirm the subscription and then redirects you to our subscribed page. In the email you just need to click on a link to confirm your subscription and Campaign Monitor adds you to our list and finally redirects you to our confirmed page. The confirmation step can be disabled, but we think it’s a good prevention against abuse.

Before closing, a few last words to the costs. Campaign Monitor charges 5 USD for every newsletter you send plus 1 cent for each recipient. I think this is fair, especially because it saved us many hours of setting up a newsletter on our own. And since we intend to send our newsletter quarterly only, the costs are negligible. If you are looking for a simple and affordable way to setup a newsletter, I highly recommend the service of Campaign Monitor.

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