Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Creme De La Creme Of Email

Out of the blue, when you least expect it, a new web 2.0 application suggestion will appear in a blog you follow or on Twitter.  When that happens based upon the nature of the tweet or summary in the post, you can save it for later or give it a test drive. Yesterday, Heather Moorefield, one of my best resources for new websites and applications, Education Librarian at Virginia Tech and former chair of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, sent out a tweet about a service that incorporates newsletters into email.

At their home page Sendicate states:

"Simply send beautiful emails to people who matter."

Under the features section the list states:  a walk-through video, compose your emails, manage messages, import subscribers, simple customization, and full template control.  Design through a series of templates is stressed but allows options for those inclined to create their own.  You need to be 18 years of age to use this service.  Cancellation is immediate at any time through your user account page.

This service is free under the 0-500 plan with a 1,000 send limit per month.  There is a chart of fees based upon subscribers and emails sent.   It begins at $19.00 per month for the 0-500 plan with an unlimited amount of messages sent.

To sign up simple click any of the Sign Up Free! buttons found on the home page.  You are asked for your full name, an email address and to create a password as well as agreeing to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.  After clicking the Create Account button a confirmation email is sent to you immediately.  When you select the provided link you are automatically logged in for the first time at the Messages page.

From this point you can toggle to the Compose and Manage pages, view notifications, stats regarding your usage and a two plus minute tutorial.   Beneath the tutorial spot any message you have designed will be shown.  I started by clicking on Compose but quickly discovered that I needed to have recipients listed first so I headed over to Manage.

Within the Manage folder you can access subscribers, the design and your account.  Initially a default list is generated by the application.  The email address I used to register is included on that list.

I made a new list for this review, naming it Christmas Recommendations and typing in another email for myself.  Once a list is created you can add subscribers, embed subscribe form, edit list details and export to CSV.  The instructions very clearly state the configuration to be used to list an email address and the party's name.  You can also import lists from Excel and CSV.

Back at the Compose page I simply clicked on the name of my list on the recipients line and listed a subject.  There are six options for composition, one, two or three column, a headline, an image and a video.  I started with a headline.  Within that template you can add a heading, a subheading, the option to upload an image and include a URL link.

You can preview and send at this time or compose another section.  I wrote several more two column pieces.  I can guarantee when you hit preview and send you will be amazed at the results.  The site picked the first, London, template for my email newsletter but Toyko, Pop, Museo and Window are also available. (I tried them all; very nice.)  If you are feeling brave and have knowledge of HTML code you can design your own template.

As you work your composition is saved.  When I left my newsletter to explore generating my own template I had a moment of panic wondering if my work would be still be there.  It was on my Messages page; major bonus.

I decided to send the newsletter to both of my email addresses.  In order to complete the sending you will need to fill in the lines in your account for street address, city, state and zip code.  The newsletter appeared in my email within seconds. At the bottom it states who sent the email, their snail mail address, the recipient's email address and the option to unsubscribe.

During the writing of this post I had a question.  I sent an email to the support address and had a complete, helpful reply within ten minutes.  You couldn't ask for better service.

My newsletter is about eight Christmas books I would recommend for kindergarten and first grade students.  I've included four new and four tried and true titles.  If you would like to see my finished newsletter leave an email address as a comment.  I will not publish the information. Or if we follow one another on Twitter simply send me a DM.

Based upon ease of use, support supplied and the sophisticated end result, I highly recommend Sendicate.  For those wishing to use a newsletter in addition to a blog or website or in lieu of them, this is an excellent application.  For the purpose of  communication sometimes it's easier to receive an email rather than having to go to a blog or website.

I've tried to capture portions of my newsletter below. Beneath the text in the small black boxes are links to the titled websites.  They work perfectly.

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