Sending the Newsletter
Since it will be the responsibility of your IT department to actually send the email newsletters on a periodic basis, you should consider whether to perform this duty in-house or outsource it. Here are your options:
Send the newsletter in-house by purchasing or licensing software you install and maintain on your host
Outsource or self-serve by using a web-based email program
Outsource the service completely by contracting with a company to send email for you
So which to choose?
In-house: The in-house route is a good choice if you want to keep your data in-house for security reasons. There are some hefty requirements, starting with the capital for the initial cost of the application and investment in the necessary hardware and bandwidth to handle the volume. You also must have a strong internal IT team with time to learn an email application and the ability to handle internal support, upgrades, and other maintenance. The IT staff can make or break an in-house email solution. If you're uncertain whether your staff is up to the task, don't risk it.
Outsource/self-service: This option is a good choice if you don't want to invest in additional hardware or bandwidth, or you want someone else to manage the IT side of the applicationincluding upgrades, bug issues, and other maintenance. Many organizations choose this route for precisely those reasons. But keep in mind that someone else will have access to your database, and you'll have to budget for ongoing fees. As for costs, there are a variety of vendors at both low and high price points. Of course, you'll need to thoroughly check out the company you choose.
Complete outsourcing: If your IT staff is small or their time is limited, you can outsource the sending of your newsletter to a third party. This is the most expensive route. Now here's a warning: Thoroughly investigate the company you choose, to see whether they've been included in ISP spam filters. For example, at one time, recipients that use AT&T as their ISP blocked email from IBM and SoftwareDevelopment magazine, both of which use the services of Topica. Evidently Topica was perceived as a spammer at one time, and the newsletters they sent were being blocked by AT&T.
Whichever approach you use to sending your email newsletter, you can see that your IT department has a large responsibility in helping your organization's newsletter program be successful and efficient.