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Goodbye newsletter, for now…

April 28th, 2011

Actually, not TOTALLY goodbye, but I’m making a change in technology… we’ll see how this goes.  Hopefully I can live with it.

If you want to keep up on any newsletter-y information, join the JibberJobber Career Management Group on LinkedIn and make sure you leave the option on to get announcements from the group owner (that’s me).  Here’s the setting (go to the Group, click on the More tab, then My Settings):

Now, a bit of history. You don’t need to read the why’s below, but if you have your own email list you might find it intersting.

When I first started JibberJobber, and realized I should have a newsletter, I signed up with the 800lb guerrilla in the space: ConstantContact.

They were good to me, for sure… and I sent newsletters regularly.

Then, I networked into someone at iContact and he comped me a premium level account at no cost, so I switched over.  I missed ConstantContact features, and I HATED HATED HATED the process to get my database from ConstantContact to iContact (because of iContact’s process I’m sure I lost more than 50% of my opt-in subscribers).

Eventually, I had to pay at iContact… which was kind of lame, but I figured I’d pay wherever I was… so I just stayed there.

I found I rarely sent a newsletter after that (the importing process, where I lost a bunch of subscribers, really soured me to sending newsletters in general).

Around that time I dabbled in using Yahoo Groups, but there were things I didn’t like about it (free service = I didn’t have complete control over what the viewers saw… including the number of subscribees, ads, formatting, etc.).  It wasn’t going to be the right solution for me.

I’ve wanted to scrap it all and just use my server to send the emails, but some people flag it as spam (even though they (a) signed up for the service, and (b) agreed to get emails from us)… I can’t trust people to not do that, which really messes up any email sending from JibberJobber for the users (action item reminders, etc.).

Finally, last week I realized I should just use my LinkedIn Group.  There are some limitations, for sure, but I think the pros outweigh the cons. Here are some considerations:

Pros:

  • I don’t have to use my JibberJobber email server (see below the cons as to why that is important)
  • I don’t have to pay (for now… CROSSING FINGERS!)
  • I can send a message once a week… which is enough
  • It increases the number of people in my group, and gives them a reason to be there (only if I give good, high value content)
  • If someone doesn’t want the message, they can (a) turn off announcements in their settings, or (b) leave the Group.

Cons:

  • I can’t micro-segment, which means match my message to my audience.  I have announcements that might be applicable to my JibberJobber users, and others applicable to career coaches, and others applicable to career centers… I can’t send one message to different types of Group members :(
  • I can’t do HTML, or send more than once a week.  I’m okay with this, for now
  • No tracking to see who opened the message, who bounced, who clicked on what link, etc.  That’s okay, that was too much information for me before (whoever buys JibberJobber should violently disagree :p)

I hope LinkedIn doesn’t change things (like, make me upgrade in order to send out “announcements”) but I’m not going to hold my breath on that.  Until then, I hope this tool is “good enough” to communicate things out to my audience.

I hope I can look back with a sigh of relief that I chose the right platform…!

3 Comments »

3 responses to “Goodbye newsletter, for now…”

  1. Carl Mueller says:

    I recently signed up with Aweber simply because I’ve heard and seen so many people using it. There is a charge but I figure if building a list is that important, it’s probably worth using a system you (and your sign ups) are happy with. I hope your new system works out well for you too.

    Carl

  2. onegreatsmile says:

    I manage a group on linkedin and the owner sends out weekly newsletters. There’s one ‘con’ you forgot. You are limited to a set number of characters for weekly announcements. I believe it’s 3000. So if you have a lot of content, you may find yourself being forced to cut back. Just a thought.

    We’ve had a few weeks where 3000 just wasn’t enough.

    Good luck!!

  3. Brad Merrill says:

    I have a number of groups I follow on LinkedIn, with various levels of activity in each. What is following one more? Not that big of a deal. I hope it works like you want Jason. Good luck!