You probably know that creating an email newsletter is a great way to attract and engage subscribers. But is it really worth the money and effort to design and send an email newsletter, especially if you’re on a tight budget? 

Well, the cost of running a newsletter campaign may actually be cheaper than you think. There are several different factors involved, such as the size of your audience and what you decide to produce in-house vs. outsourcing. But, if you choose an email marketing platform with comprehensive features and flat-rate pricing, sending out a newsletter to an audience of 10,000 subscribers could cost you less than $40/month. Which, given that email can offer a return of $40 for every $1 spent, is probably a price worth paying. 

Want to see for yourself? This article will break down the main costs associated with producing an email newsletter so you can see why it’s well worth the investment. 

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We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

The cost of producing a newsletter

So, let’s cut to the chase. Exactly what are the costs associated with creating and delivering an email newsletter to your subscribers? Here are the three main outgoings you need to worry about when planning your email marketing budget.

Newsletter setup cost

One of the key costs you need to consider is your newsletter setup cost. This consists of two main elements: the cost to design your newsletter layout and the cost of your email service provider (ESP). The email service provider is the platform that sends your emails out to your contact list. 

It’s essential to use an ESP rather than a regular email account like Gmail or Outlook for two reasons. First, it looks more professional, and second, using an ESP enables you to gather data on the performance of your newsletter. For example, Flodesk lets you access a range of metrics, including open and click rates; deliverability data; statistics on bounces; and unsubscribe rates.

If you want to know more about how to measure your email performance, read Understanding Your Flodesk Email & Workflow Analytics.

Your email design and send costs can often be wrapped into one by using an email marketing software platform. It can be tempting to use a free or low-cost option when you’re getting started, but be conscious of the impact that can have as your subscriber list grows.

Many ESPs have limited functionality on their free plans or get prohibitively expensive as the number of subscribers you have increases. Some providers also charge you to import an existing contacts list, making it costly to change providers further down the line. To future-proof your choice, it makes sense to pick a platform that offers flat rate pricing no matter how big your subscriber list gets.

For example, compare how expensive a platform like ConvertKit can be against a platform like Flodesk that offers a single, flat-fee pricing structure. So, while ConvertKit’s free plan (for up to 1,000 subscribers) initially looks appealing, make sure you’re also considering the future needs of your business. 

Your email marketing software will probably have a range of email templates that could save you a significant sum of money on designing your email newsletter. Professional email marketing designers can charge thousands of dollars to create a personalized template, which is a considerable cost better utilized elsewhere. 

If you’re choosing a template from a pre-built library on your email marketing platform, make sure your provider offers the ability to customize the template so you can stay on brand, whether you’re looking for a professional product launch email or happy holiday email template.

As well as your email template design costs, you’ll also have to factor in a cost-per-email-sent amount. For budgeting purposes, you should estimate around $0.02 per recipient of your newsletter. Which, unless your contact list is very small, suggests the monthly price of a flat-rate ESP is worth the money.

Get unlimited email sends and subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

The cost of building your email list

Aside from the cost of designing and sending your email, you also need to consider other additional costs—like the cost to start building your subscriber list in the first place. How much you end up paying for this obviously depends on your marketing strategy and scale. 

For example, using your existing site to encourage newsletter sign-up can be extremely effective if you already have a good amount of traffic. But driving traffic to your website can be a cost in itself. That cost might be indirect—like the time spent writing articles optimized for search engines like Google. Or it might be a direct cost, like paying to advertise your site through a social media platform like Facebook, for example.

If your website already gets a good amount of traffic, you can use a freebie to grow your subscriber list, which is often a relatively low-cost way to successfully build your list. 

Recycle blog content into an ebook, worksheet, discount or other resource to demonstrate the immediate value subscribers can expect if they sign-up to receive your newsletter. For example, here’s how Flodesk member Go To Bed designed a sign-up form on their website to grow their email list:

If you choose Flodesk as your ESP, you don’t need a website to drive newsletter sign-ups. You can create beautifully designed, customizable and responsive opt-in forms and landing pages directly from the platform. These full-page forms generate a unique link you can share anywhere, including on your social media, to start growing your list.

Full page email form in yellow

Flodesk full-page form—no website needed

For more on how to grow your email list without a website, read How to Build an Email List Without a Website.

The cost of developing content

The final cost to consider is that of creating new content (including email marketing graphics) for your email newsletter. If you’re doing this work yourself, it may seem like there isn’t a cost associated with email content development. But, remember that your time is valuable and time spent pulling together an article for your newsletter is time that can’t be spent on other activities that create value for your business. Estimate how much your time is worth and decide whether it might be better to outsource content development to a freelancer or content production agency. 

Once you have a sense of all these individual costs, you can work out an approximate cost per email newsletter. By measuring your email performance and calculating the return on your investment, you will begin to build a picture of whether email is an effective channel for you to reach your audience.

Why newsletters are worth the cost

You already know that email marketing provides a significant rate of return for every dollar spent. Email newsletters that are done well offer a great way to reach your audience and excite them about your product or service. So, if you’re not already using a newsletter, it’s definitely worth considering how they can help your company grow.

Here are some other reasons newsletters are worth the cost:

  • Email newsletters are critical to engaging and retaining subscribers: A well-thought-out newsletter that provides unique value to your audience is a crucial tool to maintain and grow your target audience and encourage conversion.
  • Emails can be shared easily, increasing your audience: If your content is providing value to your subscribers, emails make it easy for them to share it with others. This encourages new subscribers to join your list and expands the reach of your organization.
  • It’s easy to incentivize joining an email list: It’s simple to create a freebie, promotion or discount code to tempt interested people into subscribing to your email newsletter. You can display this on your website or use email marketing software, like Flodesk, to create opt-in opportunities in return for access to your freebie.
  • Paid newsletter subscribers can generate revenue: You may well start by providing your audience with a free weekly newsletter to grow and engage your subscribers. However, once you’ve established a loyal audience, you may decide to offer a subscription newsletter with a monthly fee to directly boost your revenue.

Looking to monetize your newsletters effectively? Read How to Monetize a Newsletter: 6 Proven Methods (With Examples)

Grow your business with email newsletters

Getting started with email newsletters can feel like a big investment of time and cash. But when you break it down, there are significant advantages to putting in the effort. Email marketing lead generation doesn’t have to be an uphill battle either. Using an email marketing platform, like Flodesk, can help spread the load, providing a one-stop shop for creating and sending beautifully designed newsletters that deliver real value to your target audience.

Flodesk is the fastest-growing email marketing platform on the market, helping small business owners design emails people love to get. With stunning templates and immersive forms, our platform makes it easy for beginners and experts alike to build their email lists, engage their audiences and convert subscribers into customers—all without a website. 

Plus, our detailed analytics help you make data-driven decisions about performance so you can monitor return on investment and take action to boost your revenue.

At just $38 per month, we offer members unlimited email sends, unlimited subscribers and unlimited access to all features. Unlike many of our competitors (that charge more as members grow their lists and send more emails), Flodesk offers a unique flat pricing model, so you don’t get penalized for your success.