Opposed to any social media platform – you completely own your mailing list. It means you can download it and all the information at any time. If you need change and a feature your current newsletter provider doesn’t have, you can move it to another.
Even though it is quite a hassle to do this, especially if you’ve built automations and email templates. It might also damage your open rates, as sending from a new provider might make you get caught in more spam filters. So when you choose your newsletter service, it is good to think a bit into the future and prepare for your possible needs.
Let’s talk about a few different newsletter providers to help you find one that fits your needs. I’ll only share those I’ve had personal experience with – there are plenty more to explore.
The problem with “free”, content-first, newsletter software
Content-first newsletter services like Revue and Substack are very quick to set up. You’ll have a newsletter and opt-in page up and running within minutes. Many people love their writing environment, which is very clean and great to work with.
Since 2021, Revue connects directly to your Twitter profile, letting people sign up with a simple click. These are also entirely free. You will only pay a percentage fee once you launch a paid newsletter option.
It might seem like a great option, but there is a potential future drawback. Your first goal is to start sending emails. The longer you wait, the more potential customers you’ll lose.
But with time – to take full advantage of email marketing – you should build automations and start segmenting your subscribers. There are hundreds of ways to automate your email marketing. When someone signs up for your free trial, you can launch an email sequence helping them to decide if your product is for them.
Platforms like Substack and Revue don’t have these slightly more complex features. This means you’ll have to move your entire list and lose your statistics and any templates you’ve created. Many people moved their newsletters to Revue when the Twitter connection was launched. There is no need to do that. You can easily hack this with Zapier and connect almost any newsletter provider to the Twitter sign-up box.
What should a SaaS business look for in a newsletter software?
The other option is to choose one of the more powerful options; providers like Mailchimp, Convertkit, and Mailerlite. I’ve personally used all three of them (in that particular order) during the last 15 years.
They all have powerful automation features that can be used to build complex email marketing systems.
When I started my newsletter, I went with Mailchimp. Back then, they were kind of the underdog. They also offered 2000 subscribers for free. They still do that, but they’ve removed more and more features from the free plan, and you can basically just send emails, nothing more. And they are not the underdog anymore. The main reason I switched was the lack of a visual automation builder, I.e., the ability to visually build and look at the different email sequences you have. They since added a visual builder, but last time I tried it, it kinda sucked….
I then moved my list to ConvertKit. This is one of the most powerful providers, with many supported integrations for different community apps, webinar services, and such. If you plan to go hard on different kinds of content, sell multiple products, and create lots of email automations, ConvertKit is a great choice. They, too, have a free plan of up to 1000 subscribers, with limited features. It will start to cost you as soon as you go over that limit. If you have a way to monetize your list (a functioning, premium SaaS or e-product), it is easy to make that money back.
The next move (and the one I’m still using) was to Mailerlite. Mailerlite is giving me that same underdog feeling as Mailchimp did back in the days. I cut my monthly costs by 70% when moving from Convertkit to Mailerlite. What really stands out with Mailerlite is their insane support. They get back to you instantly if you email them, get out of their way to help you, and offer a live chat (for paid plans) directly on the website. Within minutes of mentioning them on Twitter, they respond – regardless if you had a problem or not.
They, too, have a free plan, where you can amass up to 1000 subscribers.
The best newsletter software for SaaS businesses have:
- Multistep automation
- Advanced segmentation and/or tagging
- Official connectibility with your website service
- Fast and great customer support
Conclusion: what newsletter software should you use for your SaaS business?
I strongly advise against using a newsletter service without multistep automations and advanced segmentation and tagging – i.e. Revue and Substack.
If you are bootstrapping or don’t want to spend too much on your mailing list at the moment, I’d suggest going with Mailerlite, especially if you don’t have a dedicated marketing manager to run things. It is powerful enough for many years ahead and very easy to use.
If you have lots of products, different brands, and sales funnels in place or in mind, Convertkit is a good option. It will most certainly always be enough.