Thanks to some choice services, it takes minimal effort to start both free and paid newsletters.
If you write for the Web, building a good-sized readership is a necessary step in boosting your online authority. Starting a newsletter is one effective way to go about it. You don’t need to fiddle with some complex system to get started. Something interesting to say, a place to promote your newsletter from, and a few early readers are all you need to set the ball rolling. A good subscription service will take care of the rest — from managing your subscriber list, to delivering your words on time, and in the case of paid subscriptions, handling the payment process from start to finish.
MailChimp, MadMimi, and AWeber are three leading services that offer a way to send out free newsletters. Various alternatives like Sendicate are also available. While these full-featured options are great, for those craving simplicity, the services that follow can turn out to be a better choice.
If you like the idea of a clean and minimalist newsletter service, TinyLetter is just the option for you. Its no-frills approach adds a warm, personal touch to your interactions with readers — a quality that stands out in our overcrowded and often impersonal Web space.
The service has features to keep track of your mailing list, past newsletters, replies from readers, and click-through rates. It has a few other settings to customize your newsletter. That’s about it.
TinyLetter does not force you to unnecessarily jump through several hoops and wrangle with a large feature set to create and send a simple, informal letter to your subscribers. As such it may not be a great choice for a business newsletter, which often requires extensive features for management and analytics. For a more in-depth look at this free service, go back in time to this TinyLetter introduction.
When Gumroad launched in 2012, it wowed everyone with its startlingly simple approach to selling digital products. In August 2013, it introduced the option to sell subscriptions as well. Take advantage of this feature to put up a paid newsletter.
Finalize a name for your newsletter, a brief description to go with it, and a price tag, and you’re all set to begin. It’s nice, though not mandatory, to have at least one update ready to send out to subscribers immediately after they sign up. After that, you can send them content at pre-set regular intervals. Once the initial payment is processed, your readers are charged monthly, quarterly, or yearly – it’s all up to you. They can cancel anytime.
Gumroad also makes it easy for you to interact with your customers, which means you can take their inputs into account while creating future content. The pricing is not unreasonable, if that’s what you’re worried about. For starters, there are no periodical or setup fees to deal with. Every time you make a sale, a small fixed percentage of it goes to Gumroad. The money you earn through the paid subscription is deposited into your PayPal account, or through Direct Deposit if you’re in the US.
Want to stick to a free newsletter? The method is no different. Set the subscription price to zero. Interestingly, you can even opt for Gumroad’s pay-what-you-want pricing scheme, which allows you to start with a base price, and if your readers want to pay more, they can do so effortlessly.
Wait, there’s more! With the Gumpress plugin, you can integrate your Gumroad subscriptions into your WordPress blog and sell them to people on your MailChimp, GetResponse, or AWeber mailing list.
If you already have a MailChimp setup in place, you don’t need to switch services. Sign up for Campaignzee to add the power of Stripe to MailChimp, and you have got a quick way to charge for monthly newsletter subscriptions. Any changes you make through your MailChimp dashboard are reflected in the Campaignzee signup form. You can choose to add the signup form to your website or redirect visitors to the hosted version of it.
Campaignzee is not the only MailChimp-based paid newsletter service. ChargeBee and MoonClerk are also in the running. The MailChimp integrations page gives you the know-how to proceed with the integration.
Start That Newsletter Today!
HappyLetter is another promising service for delivering newsletters to premium subscribers and routing payments through Stripe. Sign up for private beta to see what it’s all about.
No matter what you prefer to write about, these newsletter services ensure that reaching out to people to share your knowledge, thoughts, and experiences is easier than ever. Make use of them! Do you know of any other services that make it painless to set up a newsletter, and even get paid for it? Keep us informed in the comments.