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Ultimate guide to newsletter platforms

How to choose the newsletter platform that’s perfect for you

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Natalia Dorzheeva

Apr 19 2021

7 min read

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Need an ultimate guide to newsletter platforms? You’re in the right place. We’re here to help you make the right choice, all based on your needs. Let’s start with a simple question:

What to consider when weighing in your options?


Here’s a list of basic factors to keep in mind when choosing a newsletter platform.

  • Affordability
  • Usability
  • Deliverability
  • Templates and Customization
  • Monetization
  • Analytics
  • Growth Tools 
  • Integrations 

This may seem like a lot, so you may want to prioritize two or three of them based on your needs.

Now let’s dive into each of these features separately. 

AFFORDABILITY


Almost every newsletter service on the market is free to start. Typically a free version will give you the essential tools to get your publications up and running. Nothing fancy, but it works. If you’re building your email list from scratch, a free subscription is the way to go. 

Once you have a sizable list of loyal readers, you will have to upgrade to a paid version.

Check what you get if you switch to a paid plan. There may be services you’d never use while something important is missing. 

Make sure you get the best value for what you pay. Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean that it’s the perfect solution for YOU.

USABILITY


How good are your software skills? 

Before you get down to building your own Morning Brew, ask yourself: how advanced are you with computers in general? Be honest! Based on your answer it’d be easier to find a platform that matches your needs. 

If you aren’t confident using new software, do not let it discourage you from starting! All you need is a platform that will enhance your creative process. We don’t need any extra stress from scary lines of code, right? Choose software that is both easy to use and can scale to meet your needs as you grow. 

Pro-tip in case you need a new home for your newsletter. We offer one-click migration from Substack and Revue. And if you want to make sure everything is transferred safely, a concierge migration is available too!

DELIVERABILITY 


The surge in the newsletter market has a dark side too. With the influx of emails going into your inbox, email clients have stepped up their anti-spam game. And while their intentions are good, many innocent newsletters can get swept under the rug. 

People usually choose newsletter services to:

  • Improve reliability of delivery
  • Lower the risks of emails being marked as spam
  • Track their subscribers’ activity and weed out inactive ones

Keep in mind that there’s never a 100% rate of deliverability. 

TEMPLATES AND CUSTOMIZATION 


Now let’s talk about visuals. Don’t have a degree in graphic design? No worries! With templates and text editors you can easily create unique and appealing newsletters. Look around on different platforms. Maybe some newsletter services don’t offer the templates that match your aesthetic. Perhaps, you aren’t ready to pay to unlock the full template library. Either way, choose a platform that will help you customize your newsletter as much or as little depending on your needs and budget. 

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For many creators, customization is more about their writing style and unique voice. What will help you stand out with just text? Let the words speak for themselves! For instance, Letterdrop has an AI assistant to help you unlock your full potential. 

The cherry on top is the option to use your own domain. Check if your potential service allows it. On some plans, you can even remove branding so the newsletter is 101% personalized and yours. 

MONETIZATION


We need to talk about money. Seriously. Creators can and do earn with their writing. You don’t have to be a renowned journalist to monetize your newsletter. 

Every major platform offers various monetization options. The most popular one is premium memberships. 

Whether to put the entire content behind a paywall or just a part of it, the decision is yours. You’d typically have a choice of how to segment your readers. 

Keep your rates reasonable. How to find this balance between value and price? Read our post here!

If you want to keep your newsletter accessible to everyone but still put some cash in your pocket, there’s a way to do it. With Letterdrop you can earn through sponsorships. Here’s a sneak peek of how a sponsorship page can look like on Letterdrop. 

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ANALYTICS


How well you know your audience directly impacts your newsletter performance. 

Sounds logical. Where can you get this data from? Newsletter services provide you with analytics. The depth and extent of the data vary across platforms. If numbers are important for you, do the research on what you’d get before signing up for a service. 

Why should you care about reports? Well, there are plenty of reasons. Make the data work in order to:

  • Increase open rates
  • Make content more engaging
  • Create different subscription tiers
  • Run better ads 
  • Set an appropriate price for premium content 
  • Send personalized promotions
  • And much more!

Letterdrop gives you granular data on almost every aspect imaginable. It’s up to you how you use it 😉 Here's an example. 

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GROWTH TOOLS 


This feature may not be a priority when you just start. However, as you gain more traction, you might hit a wall with subscription numbers. What to do when organic growth is not fast enough? 

One way is through a referral program. Reward people who bring in new subscribers and recommend your newsletter to others. 

Here’s how it works on Letterdrop.

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Referrals can only get you this far. Plus there’s usually a limited number of referrals available per month if you’re on a free plan. 

Another way to generate more traffic is through optimization. Do not worry, we will spare you from nerdy technical terms. Overall, if you run a business, you may want to optimize your content for search engines. This way it’d be easier for new readers to discover you in the ocean of other blogs and newsletters. If you need assistance with discoverability, check what newsletter services offer this tool. Built-in assistance can save you time and money and pay off in $$$ and a bigger audience. 

INTEGRATIONS


Why does this matter, you may ask. This feature is definitely not a must for the majority of creators. If you decide to make your newsletter more than, well, just a newsletter, this part is for you. 

  • You have a website and want your newsletter to be a part of it? 
  • Fancy yourself a (paid) community on Discord? 
  • Thinking of how to turn your newsletter into an Instagram post? 
  • What about building a blog too? 

These are only some of the opportunities. And if you have a specific request, do not hesitate to dig deeper into what newsletter services offer. These are more advanced features and tools, not every provider can have them built in. 

IN CONCLUSION


Many services have a free trial. Do use this opportunity to play around with different products and test their features. There’s no better way to find out what works for you. Take your time and make a decision based on your own experience. 

There’s no shame in not being a pro at coding or web design! Many services are beginner-friendly, just like Letterdrop. You can have your first newsletter out in 10 mins. That being said, the functionality does not suffer. Letterdrop allows you to grow into our advanced features the bigger you get. 

You can sign up for Letterdrop for free. 

Let us know what you think! 

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