Most of us have sent emails to multiple people at once, whether a holiday email to family or a marketing newsletter to fans and customers. Many of us have gotten emails with dozens of addresses at the top where the sender sent the email to their whole list by just adding all of the emails to the To: field. You could do the same by putting the emails in the BCC field, but that’s far from the best way to send a newsletter.
All you need is a simple way to send a newsletter and let people subscribe. Nothing fancy. Perhaps a picture or some formatted text, but nothing more than that, right? Sounds like TinyLetter is what you need. Let’s take a look at this simple newsletter service and see how simple it is to start the newsletter you’ve always wanted.
Newsletters don’t have to be hard
TinyLetter is a fairly new service you’ve likely not heard of, but it’s already made enough waves to get acquired by one of the biggest names in email newsletters: MailChimp. Now, MailChimp already has a free tier, so you can get started making beautiful email newsletters without spending a dime with their service. Why would you want to use TinyLetter?
One word: simplicity. MailChimp is great; it’s easily one of the top 10 apps we’d recommend for business users, and we even use it for our own AppFanatix newsletter here at AppStorm! But it’s way too complicated if all you want to do is write a nice newsletter and send it out. Whether you’re a writer and want to share your thoughts, or are running a business and just want to cut the complexity and get your newsletters sent, TinyLetter is likely the best tool for the job.
Right from the start at the front page, TinyLetter lets you get the ball rolling on your new newsletter. Just enter a unique username, perhaps your Twitter @name, to start making your TinyLetter account. Your readers and friends and customers can then sign up for your newsletter at tinyletter.com/yourname.
You’ve still got to create a normal account, but it’ll only take a minute. You can enter your real name, an optional description for your newsletter, as well as your own email address and a password. And that’s it. Boom. You’re finished. You can go ahead and start sharing your tinyletter.com/yourname link with anyone to start getting subscribers for your newsletter.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Your tiny account
Wait, you’re saying. Aren’t email newsletters supposed to have tons of settings and features and things to tweak? Perhaps most do, but you won’t need to worry about them here. All you need to worry about is writing the best group emails you can, and TinyLetter takes care of the rest. Your account contains the basic features you’d expect: a link to write a newsletter, read replies your newsletter received, view stats and past newsletters, view and add subscribers, and some settings.
The settings page has some interesting options you can tweak if you have the time and want to personalize your newsletter signup process a bit more. You can tweak all of the copy on your signup page, from what people see when they’re signing up to the message they’ll get after they’ve confirmed their email. You can also add a background image to your signup form, and choose a background for the email field on that form.
Interestingly enough, you can even set a price and charge for your newsletter! For-pay newsletters are a trend among writers and others who want to monetize their information, and could be a great option if you’ve got a lot of excited fans that really want to read what you write. You can choose any price you want, and let TinyLetter collect the payments or have them sent straight to your Paypal.
Once you’ve done all of your tweaking, you can visit your own signup page and see how it turned out. You really can’t mess it up, and you can go back and change anything you need. Or, if you have your own site, you can embed the signup form on your own blog or website.
Write. And TinyLetter will take care of the rest.
Now you’ve got the hardest job of all: writing your newsletter. It’s easy to get caught up in tweaking your tools, but what’s most important is what you do with them. TinyLetter has a nice rich text editor that lets you write your newsletter just the way you want. You could just write plain text, or you could choose from standard web fonts and tweak it the way you want. You can even include HTML code in your email.
The only problem we hit was with adding images; TinyLetter uses ImageShack by default, and it wouldn’t display the images correctly. Instead, you could upload your images to CloudApp, Droplr, or another simple file sharing tool, and then insert the picture as a link from the 2nd image button. You could also use a tool like that to share other files, like a document or eBook, with your newsletter, and just paste the link into your message.
Once you’re finished writing, you can preview the email, which emails a copy to your own personal email account so you’ll see how it looks once its sent. If everything looks find, hit send, and TinyLetter will cue your email newsletter up to get sent to your entire list. Whether you’re writing to 18 or 800 people, they’ll all get the email soon thereafter. Hopefully they’ll love your emails, but if not, they can easily unsubscribe from the link at the bottom of the message. They can also easily reply to your newsletter by just replying to that email itself.
TinyLetter will keep all the replies you get in your dashboard, so you can review them before you send another newsletter. It’ll also email you when you get replies, so you won’t have to login to TinyLetter if you don’t want. You can always review your old newsletters to see how many times they were opened as well. It’s just about everything you can expect from a basic newsletter service. Come to think of it, it’s just about like Gmail designed just for bulk emails.
So, are you ready now to go start a new email newsletter? Or have you already been using TinyLetter? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the service, and why you’d love to write an email newsletter. Or, if you’ve got another email service you like better, we’d love to know what’s better about your favorite service. Sound off in the comments, and we’ll be here listening!
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