Do you have a newsletter?
Is it everything that you dreamed of, or is it just… meh?
Even if you are satisfied with your mass emailing method, here are a few to-dos to take it to the next level.
1. Collect email addresses
Have you ever been to one of those conferences where they collect everyone’s business cards as raffle tickets for a prize? I bet you would never guess what they did with those cards later.
The unfortunate souls who eagerly handed in their cards became prey to the conference host’s newsletter.
Collecting emails offline is fine… but don’t do it like that. If you collect business cards and force feed people into your subscription, you run the risk of being labeled spam.
Begin growing your newsletter online.
Add social share buttons to the email newsletter so that your subscribers can share what you send out with their friends (Mail Chimp has this option as well as some fantastic others).
Attract people to your newsletter online by making it simple, safe, and shareable. – Click to tweet
Now you can build your list offline.
Collect email addresses at conferences, book fairs and you-name-its. There is an important caveat to collecting subscribers offline: You must have proof of their permission, and you must email them immediately (so that they don’t forget that they subscribed to your list).
If they forget that they subscribed to your list, then they may mark your late email as spam. If they mark your email as spam, you become labeled a “spam sender” and you cannot revoke that title (and the consequences thereof) unless you have proof of their permission.
Add people to your list offline only if you have proof of their permission, then email them immediately. – Click to tweet.
2. Make it attractive
(Important note: We use, and heartily recommend, MailChimp. It allows for a plethora of options in your newsletter and is free up to 2,000 subscribers.)
Begin by picking an attractive title and a professional email design for your newsletter.
Pick a descriptive title that is short, sweet, and tells the readers what’s in it for them, rather than what it’s about. Example: Joe Smith’s newsletter vs. Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. Which one would you subscribe too?
Find a professional email design. Using a template off of Mail Chimp is a much better idea than building one yourself. (MailChimp builds, tests and uses the templates to make sure they will get the job done right.)
Make your newsletter pretty. – Click to tweet.
Now work on content.
The content itself needs to attract people to your newsletter.
Avoid “Me-Mail.” Remember, no one cares about you. Filling your readers’ inboxes with personal updates, which have no significance to them, will lose you subscribers and possibly get you labeled as spam.
Add value to people. Find their felt needs, not the needs you think they have, and work toward satisfying those. A few ways to do that are:
- Share news (news that is important to your readers)
- Give advice (you can share your blog posts too)
- Provide training
- Make people laugh
- Encourage people
- Or just let them know when your next book comes out.
Lastly, keep your newsletters consistent, short, and sweet. If you miss an email, that is okay. It is better to miss an email than send an extra email.
Make the newsletter all about your readers, be mindful of their time and steer clear of being spammy. – click to tweet.
3. Send out special offers
Offer your readers a carrot.
Give them an immediate benefit to signing up for your newsletter. For example, you could give away an e-book to those who subscribe during a specific time. Have unique material available as a reward to readers who subscribe, share, or you name it.
Don’t keep this carrot a secret either! Share it on your social media outlets. You want the word to get out about your newsletter. Those bonus chapters you are handing out are also promoting your work.
A popular newsletter is one that gives value to its subscribers. Make it a private pipeline of “newsletter only” discounts, neat activities and special opportunities. If word gets out, and it will, people will want to be a part of this singular group who is privy to the goodies.
Make your newsletter like a private club with its own bonuses and unique content. – click to tweet.
Rule of thumb: do not become spam!
If one of your subscribers labels you as spam, spam filters will label you as a spam sender and ALL your emails to ALL your subscribers become labeled as SPAM. In other words, you become dead meat.
This is easy to avoid. Make your suscribers less likely to label you as spam by catering to their felt needs, providing good content and not using spam key words.
What has been your subscribers’ favorite part of your newsletter?
Great post. I am thinking about starting a newsletter, but I would like to gather a critical mass of interest before I hit the start button. Do you have any insight on how to go about building up a list, before launching a newsletter?