Which features are a must in a Newsletter System

Despite being one of the first delivery channels of reaching to the users on the Internet, the newsletters are still a strong and effective way to bring the users back to our websites again and again... and yes, we are talking about the newsletter system as a SEO-marketing tool.

But which features must contain a Newsletter System to be efficient nowadays?

This is the list of features that we, at CodePeople, consider a requirement:

  • An easy one-step subscription form: Don't make the user lost time, time is a valuable resource and making the subscription process easier and faster you will get more subscribers.

  • Be fast: No need to reload the page to just store an email and a name, use Ajax to save the subscriber information and improve this way the user experience.

  • A controlled flow of emails: In most servers' environments the flow of emails should be controlled to avoid violating the provider's terms of use and to avoid flooding the email queue. The newsletter must have configuration parameters to set a limit to the number of emails that can be sent each minute/hour/day.

  • Multiple email formats: In some cases a plain text email is preferred over a HTML formatted emails, so the newsletter system should allow entering both versions of the content: plain text and HTML.

  • Unsubscribe link into the newsletter content: The unsubscribe link into the newsletter is more than a good-practice, is basically a requirement to avoid being classified as a "possible" spam sender. Don't spam, that isn't a good practice and you won't want to spread that image about your websites and services.

  • Multiple charset support: There are many users on Internet and only a portion of them speak English. It's important to use a newsletter with support for multiple charsets.

  • Importing emails: The newsletter owner may have a previous list of subscribers from other service(s), the newsletter system should have a way to import those existent email addresses.

  • Avoid spam: It's recommended to request the customer to verify the email address by clicking a link into a welcome letter, this way you keep your database clean from incorrect or spammer email addresses and you avoid flooding the mail server with emails that will never reach to any person.

  • A welcome letter: It's required for the previous point, but it's also a good practice to keep the user interested in your website and services; note that after leaving your website the welcome email will still be present in the user's inbox and it may be a reminder/incentive to go back to the website.

There are other basic features not included in the above list, like for example "a web-based administration area"... but who is nowadays thinking in a system without an online administration area?

The items in the above list are the guidelines used in the development of our Newsletter System, most of them included in the first release and the others included in the improvements applied to the system suggested by their own users over the time. So, this is not about the newsletter systems theory: this is about what a practical application imposes to keep the marketing tools modern and up-to-date.

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