Programs such as Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird or online email services such as Yahoo, or Hotmail are not to be used. They may be free to use, but will not give you all the options you might like to have, and besides, may also be unlawful, depending on your country’s anti-spam laws, if any.
Most Internet Service Providers, and most online email services limit the number of recipients that you can use in any single email message. Usually that number is around 20, or so, and it varies widely from ISP to ISP. This means that, depending on the size of your list, it may take you several sends to complete the “blast”. Although this may be acceptable if you have a list of 50 or so people, anything beyond that will be impractical.
If you’re using your own email program to send your e-newsletter you don’t, for the most part, have no idea what happens to your beautiful creation once it leaves your computer. You don’t really know if your audience receives your messages, if they open them, if they click on any links that are included in the content, etc.
If you’re really strapped for cash, and have a small list I can recommend this new Email Service Provider called MadMimi. Their service is free for lists under 100 subscribers.
Last word on using your own email program: if you have to use it, please, remember to use the BCC: field for your recipients. BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy, and it simply means your recipients will not see each other’s names and email addresses.