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We have a company newsletter that is created every quarter or so. Until recently, one of us in IT has had to create it by hand via HTML.

We are trying to shift some of that busy work away to the marketing team. The tool they found will not allow us to link to the newsletter sans user specific unsubscribe or change preferences links. There is no way to export to PDF or any other standard document type. This tool is web-based and controls other things such as the mass emailing and click tracking etc.

Does anybody know of a similar tool that makes it easy for non IT people to create HTML newsletter type documents that will manage mass emailing and link tracking but will also host a user unspecific version that we can link to or export for our main site?

Either a Web app or a Windows 7 and up application would be appropriate. It could even be a "bolt on to our ASP.NET site" type as well.

As far as price, the closer to free the better since the current tool is through a provider we have other business with so it was either free or discounted. We are willing to pay though if it checks all the boxes.

  • Thanks for all the ideas. None really worked out for us. We were creating a version of the newsletter without the unsubscribe and preferences links that are part of the regulated email marketing template, and posting those to our site as links, but they were being lost after a few months so we decided not to post them on our site and just stick the email marketing. – A.Stair Jul 19 '17 at 19:29
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As I understand it you have the following problems:

  • Time/Workload
  • A need to link to past newsletters from a website
  • Cost

Campaign Monitor provide a way to show an archive of past email newsletters sent which can be embedded on a website. They have a great range of ready made HTML templates or you can code your own for use in their newsletter editor. MailChimp offer a similar service. These services take care of the first two problems.

As for cost, there is no such thing as free. Either you pay for a service that is already setup to do pretty much what you want, or you go OSS and spend the time (e.g. money) in building what you want.

EDIT: For the other answer here that recommends WordPress, that is in my opinion not the way to do this. Take into account things like email deliverability and bounce management and mucking about with a WordPress install is a headache in itself.

Imagine sending a bulk email out to 20,000 recipients and 2% bounce for some reason, how do you differentiate between a hard or soft bounce? If you get a hard bounce, what mechanism is going to handle that recipients unsubscribe?

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    Upvote for naming the strongest tools in the market for this purpose. I really enjoy working with Mailchimp. Same opinion here about using Wordpress. – Chrisissorry Apr 20 '17 at 20:06
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Wordpress will meet, most probably, all of this requirement. Users can be subscribed or unsubscribed by admin, or themselves.
Plugins exist to export a page to PDF, MS Word, MS Excel, or at least CSV, amongst others. Plugins exist to mass-mail all subscribers, or to automail on new article published etc. A number of plugins exist that might meet your "click tracking" requirements. Users dont need to know html to post - all they have to be able to do is copy/paste from MS Word or such-like. Although you might need somebody (your IT department) to set things up in the first place. Of course it can be linked "to or from" any other site. You can obtain it Free of charge, you can find many hosting providers, on the web, with basic one-click install at low cost: £5 - £10 per month or on your own in-house web-server free of charge.

You can lock it down so that it is publicly visible or private. And you could get it to do about a billion other things as your needs evolve.

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  • It would be a good idea to link to those plugins you are describing. – Andrea Lazzarotto Jun 17 '16 at 8:53
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My children's public school uses this site to create newsletters and publish them:

https://www.smore.com

I don't know how easy it is, but it seems to tout that it's easy:

Design beautiful online flyers and publish instantly.

At $25/mo this may be out of your desired price range, but hopefully it at least gets you thinking of alternatives and maybe helps you gather thoughts on what the fliers marketplace looks like.

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Use a listserv of some sort, and send HTML mail. The listserv software will take care of subscribing/unsubscribing, etc.

I'd look at

Both are both Free (libre) and free (gratis).

For commercial software, we use Lyris at work (lyris.com) BUT they have been taken over by another company, and I'm not sure on any details on how the new generation of the list manager works.

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  • These seem like good alternatives for the list portion of the project but it does not cover the newsletter creation side. – A.Stair Feb 15 '17 at 16:18
  • At work we use a blog, and send a daily email with a summary of what is new and what is happening that day with a reminder to go check out other upcoming stuff at (link to blog goes here). Trivial to set up, but the tricky part will be creating enough quality content on a regular enough basis to send a reminder daily (I work at a college...), weekly, monthly, whenever... hire an english major who has an interest in being a technical writer... – ivanivan Apr 18 '17 at 23:30

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