One question I get asked frequently is how to setup an email newsletter. So today, I want to share some very basic strategies and tactics I use:
- Choose an Email Management Service.
I use Aweber to create, manage and deploy my newsletters. They offer a robust service at a low cost. If you are just starting out, I believe it costs $19 a month, and you can send emails as often as you like – they charge by the size of the list you are sending to.Create an account, setup a new list, and then create a sign-up form that you can embed on your website. Aweber provides a cool form creation tool, so you can make it as simple or complex as you want, design it easily to suit your style, and then they give you a little bit of code that you add to your blog or website.
The service gives you all the tools you need to create an attractive template, manage your list, and deploy the newsletter each week, plus metrics to see how well it’s doing.
- Create Useful Content.
Clearly, the newsletter content depends partly on your area of focus, your goals and your audience, but I recommend keeping it somewhat more personal than the rest of your online content. Email is personal – give people something special.The number one rule, of course, is that your content must be USEFUL or entertaining. The newsletter should give a behind the scenes look at you or the topic you are an expert in. It should also be content original to the newsletter – even if it’s just a short intro. You need to give people a compelling reason to sign up. If you are just repurposing content they can get elsewhere, that limits the value of the newsletter.
Personally, I try to share a mix of original content, as well as content that will be published elsewhere. If you can, make it fun.
- Set a Schedule.
I am a huge believer in the weekly schedule. More than once a week is fine too, but at least once a week is a requirement.You want to build expectation with your audience, but not overwhelm them with too much connection. Depending on your goals, your content and your audience, you will have to start somewhere, and adjust as you go. Some newsletters work best weekly, others daily, and some do well with multiple sends a day, such as HARO.
- Jump In.
I won’t get much into promotion at the moment, but I will say this: jump in. The biggest challenge to launching a newsletter is not the technology, it is your own willingness to get started. Tell your Facebook friends about it, your Twitter followers, post the sign-up form on your blog.Consider who your intended audience is, and what they desperately need most. Then, try to deliver that in small ways each week. You don’t have to create something that will ‘go viral,’ you just need to provide one useful or entertaining nugget.
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