An email newsletter is a brilliant way to stay connected to your customers or community members. Many people who visit your website may like it. Some may even love it, but if no one reminds them to keep visiting, those people may forget all about it. By inviting them to subscribe to a periodic newsletter, you can turn those site visitors into regulars, and TinyLetter makes it easy to get started in a matter of minutes.
TinyLetter is a free service that makes it extremely easy to setup an email newsletter, share it with subscribers, and even charge them a fee for your high-quality periodical content. TinyLetter is a subsidiary of MailChimp, but it uses a simplified interface and is designed for “distraction free” mass communication with your subscribers, rather than robust email marketing campaigns.
Creating a Newsletter
To get started with TinyLetter, follow these simple instructions:
1. Point your web browser to tinyletter.com
2. Click “Register”
3. Fill out the registration form, including your username, real name (yours or your organization’s), newsletter name, a brief description, your email address, and a password.
4. Click “create my account”
5. Click where it says “click here to get the embed code”. This will allow you to publicize it on your website.
6. Paste the embed code into your website’s code where you want it to appear.
Users should now be able to subscribe directly from your site. Alternatively, you can give them the direct link (tinyletter.com/your-username)
Sending Your First Message
Once you have some subscribers, you should start communicating with them. Go back to the TinyLetter website and click “Write A Newsletter”. Enter a subject, and start writing just like you would with a normal email message. When you are finished, click “Preview” to get a glimpse of what your message will look like, and then click “Send to all” to make it final.
If you already have a contact list of users, you can import their email addresses directly into TinyLetter. On the main configuration screen, click “Import email address.” Note that it has a limit of 25 email addresses per day, likely to prevent spammers from using it to quickly build lists.
Another useful feature is that you can configure the appearance of the subscription page to look more integrated with your website’s theme. By clicking “Design and settings”, you can upload a background image, change the text that appears on the page, add a background pattern to the email subscription box, and configure payment information.
On the same “Design and settings” page, click the red link at the bottom of the first section that says “show even more settings”. Most of these settings allow you to tweak the text of your subscription form, but the bottom three settings allow you to configure payment options.
The first payment option, ”make money price”, sets the amount that subscribers must pay to get your newsletter. They will be charged monthly for the subscription. Therefore, if you only plan to send four newsletters per year, you should definitely make sure they know that. The “Free trial” setting gives you the option to give users their first month free. The final option is for how payment is collected, either from TinyLetter or directly to your PayPal account.
When you are finished changing settings, click “Save Changes” at the very bottom.
Expanding Your Reader Base
An email newsletter is a great way to extend your website to your readers who may not have time to check your site for updates and may not be accustomed to using RSS. Some users may have Facebook. Some may have Twitter. But all of your users probably have email accounts, and as long as you use some restraint with the frequency of your messages, many of them will love to get mail with quality content from you.