Request for Feedback: Which email newsletter service should we use?

One of the ways the Community Team connects with organizers around the world is through email newsletters, which are currently sent through Meetup.com. However, Meetup.com has been an unreliable platform for sending newsletters with several pain-points like non-delivery of emails, lack of formatting options, and other issues. Based on the feedback received from this post, the Community Team has decided to move away from Meetup.com and to choose another service for sending email newsletters to organizers and community members. Our next challenge is to find a reliable email newsletter service, that includes the features we need, instead of relying on Meetup.com for sending our newsletters.

List of features we are looking for

Required Features

  • Importing: We will need to import all Meetup.com users into the new email service seamlessly.
  • User management and user groups/segmenting: The email service we choose should allow us to manage user profiles seamlessly, allow us to add or remove users, and move users into groups.
  • Create email types: We should be able to create different types of emails. Some of these include:
    • Newsletters
    • Surveys 
    • Announcements
  • SPF/DKIM (Sender Policy Framework/Domain Keys Identified Mail) verification for emails: This is a basic feature in most email services which improves our email delivery rates. We should be able to verify our emails using SPF/DKIM to ensure that the emails we send to meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. organizers don’t go to spam. 
  • Ability to create email campaigns: We should be able to create email campaigns for users  (e.g. A welcome series of emails for new meetup organizers – this should work well with segmenting too).
  • Opt-out: We need to allow users to be able to opt-out of receiving promotional emails from us. With that said, we occasionally send important announcements to Meetup.com users, which we don’t have our users to miss. To facilitate this, it would be nice if we could remove opt-out links from announcement emails. 

Nice-to-have features

  • Email Tracking: Most email services allow administrators to track emails. This will give us a lot of data. We can check whether emails are opened, read, or if the links are clicked. We can also know about the bounce rates. These analytics will allow us to potentially make changes to the content/audience of emails. It will also help us measure the effectiveness of emails that are sent. 
  • Automated emails: Many email services offer automation features and workflows. We could create such automations and link them to events. For instance, we could send an email notification to pingPing The act of sending a very small amount of data to an end point. Ping is used in computer science to illicit a response from a target server to test it’s connection. Ping is also a term used by Slack users to @ someone or send them a direct message (DM). Users might say something along the lines of “Ping me when the meeting starts.” deputies about sending swag to meetup groups. Potentially, we could also build automations to remind meetup groups about holding meetups when they go dormant, among others. 
  • RSS FeedRSS Feed RSS is an acronym for Real Simple Syndication which is a type of web feed which allows users to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format. This is the feed. to email feature: We could use this to send notifications about important posts in the Make Community blog to Meetup organizers. 
  • Meetup.com integration: Ideally, we should be able to get Meetup.com users imported to the email service without any additional overhead. If the service has direct integration with Meetup.com (where Meetup.com users are automatically imported to the service), that would help us focus on directly contacting users without any additional hassles.
  • Group recipients by country/region: This will allow us to send custom emails to users per country/region. It will also help us send multilingual emails, which will offer a more localized experience for recipients.

Request for Feedback

We would love to hear your thoughts on how to go ahead with this!

  • Are there any newsletter platforms that you would recommend? 
  • Apart from the ones listed here, what features do you think it should have?

Please suggest potential newsletter platforms in this spreadsheet by Monday, May 18 2020. If you have any features that you would like to see in the newsletter service – that are not listed in this post, please let us know here in the comments. 

Thanks for helping us think through how we can best support and connect with WordPress community organizers!