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  1. #1
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    E-mail Marketing

    Hi, I'm looking either for free templates or a free service to send newsletters. I don't want to pay for it because it's just for a summer hockey tournament and we want to try to look a little more professional than sending plain text e-mail. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    How big of a list are you sending too? How do people opt in to it?
    - Ted S

  3. #3
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    It only gets sent to the people who register for the tournament on my site. Right now it's 72 people, but will end up being 92.. maybe as much as 100-110 if we allow for extras to register. It's only a six team tournament.

    I found a template to use and created my own newsletter by editing the HTML, but as I expected it's not displaying properly in every e-mail client. I read a lot about BG color's not showing up in Outlook and that's the problem I'm having, as well as the border-right property not showing for the entire table that I have the newsletter nested inside of. Any ideas? It looks perfect in Gmail.

    I should add the BG color isn't a huge issue. It's just acting as a divider (with four links) between the logo and the body of the newsletter. If I can't fix it I'll just change the color of the links so they are easier to read.

    EDIT: People can't opt in to it unless they register. When they register to play I get the form in an e-mail account I set up for the tournament. I save all the e-mail addresses in a distribution list and that's how I send out e-mails.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    A few of the major SMB email providers have a free tier which will more than cover your list and sends. Email rendering is much different than browsers [think inline css or no css for some, impact with padding in IE, background colors in gmail, etc] so keep it simple, keep it clean.

    I'd suggest MailChimp myself... http://mailchimp.com/pricing/ [forever free plan]
    - Ted S

  5. #5
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    Thank you. I was on MailChimp at one point tonight, but somehow missed the Forever Free plan. I will give it a try. It looks promising.

  6. #6
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    +1 for MailChimp. It would have the advantage of giving you stats on how many people opened the mail, and allows people to unsubscribe, subscribe etc.

    However, for such a small mailing list, it's als viable (I would think) to send this out from your own email client. Some clients (like Thunderbird) make it easy to send HTML email. All the same, given that MailChimp is free and offers lots of extras, that's probably how I'd do it.

    As Ted said, all your CSS has to be inline to be half-way reliable, and you need to use tables for layout, too.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    +1 for MailChimp. It would have the advantage of giving you stats on how many people opened the mail, and allows people to unsubscribe, subscribe etc.

    However, for such a small mailing list, it's als viable (I would think) to send this out from your own email client. Some clients (like Thunderbird) make it easy to send HTML email. All the same, given that MailChimp is free and offers lots of extras, that's probably how I'd do it.

    As Ted said, all your CSS has to be inline to be half-way reliable, and you need to use tables for layout, too.
    Yeah I used a template to make a test newsletter and it was all tables and inline CSS. I'm using MailChimp and love it so far. Very easy to use and customize.

    The only problem I have had so far is after sending the e-mail it shows people on the unopened list who I know have viewed the e-mail. Also had an instance of one guy not getting the e-mail even though it showed it was sent to him. Makes me wonder how many other people out of the 20 something who still haven't opened it never actually received it. They weren't bounce backs either because I checked that list. Weird.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MVerminski View Post
    Yeah I used a template to make a test newsletter and it was all tables and inline CSS. I'm using MailChimp and love it so far. Very easy to use and customize.

    The only problem I have had so far is after sending the e-mail it shows people on the unopened list who I know have viewed the e-mail. Also had an instance of one guy not getting the e-mail even though it showed it was sent to him. Makes me wonder how many other people out of the 20 something who still haven't opened it never actually received it. They weren't bounce backs either because I checked that list. Weird.
    You have to download images in a message for them to be counted as opened. Outlook, gmail and many others don't do this unless the user prompts for them too.
    - Ted S

  9. #9
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    If you are looking for something free, then chances are you will get what you pay for. If you want great service you have to pay for great service. I have Aweber and they are probably the best and they are affordable.

  10. #10
    Wired Life GeraldNitram's Avatar
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    I really hope that they fix that "problem" about those emails that are declared as unopened even when they're actually opened. Doesn't it seem like a hassle if someone has to download the images when he or she doesn't even need to? Well, I think MailChimp has to do something to recognize those who didn't completely download the images in the email as opened. By the way, awesome suggestion. I'm going to suggest this to my boss and see if we'll rock things out with it. Well, maybe he knows; I guess I should ask him about it.
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  11. #11
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeraldNitram View Post
    I really hope that they fix that "problem" about those emails that are declared as unopened even when they're actually opened.
    It's not a problem that needs to be fixed. The image thing is the only way to tell that an email has been downloaded; but it is a user's choice whether that happens or not, and no one else's.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MVerminski View Post
    Hi, I'm looking either for free templates or a free service to send newsletters. I don't want to pay for it because it's just for a summer hockey tournament and we want to try to look a little more professional than sending plain text e-mail. Any help would be appreciated.
    I would recommend this, first get a free template designed for your email and send it using Microsoft office - Mail merge and make sure you are sending it in small numbers (100 - 300), so that you can get blacklisted and also dont get your domain blocked. There are a lot of free templates websites online, so get the template from there, but I would recommend making your own template, as people receiving your emails will feel bad, if they already have seen that template before.


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