It’s time–you’re ready…to make a newsletter that is! Newsletters are a perfect way to keep your audience engaged and not to mention, it’s a free marketing tool! If done correctly, your newsletter will help you attract new subscribers and build a deeper bond with the ones you already have. It may seem like a daunting task to begin, but that’s why we’re here to answer all of your pertinent questions.
Where do I start?
First, you need to come up with a clear idea of what you want your newsletter to be. Just like your site, your newsletter needs to be a well thought-out, branded and a valuable extension of your online presence. A good way to determine what kind of newsletter you should create is to set a specific goal for it.
Are you looking to expand your readership and number of subscribers? Are you hoping to promote and sell more of your product? Are you looking to inspire your audience? Or do you simply want to connect more with your readership? Once you have answered the “what” and the “why” of your newsletter, you must then figure out when. When will you send it out? Deciding on the frequency in which you will publish is extremely important. You want to be visible enough that your readers remember you, but you also don’t want to bombard their inboxes to the point that your newsletters feel like spam. Be honest with yourself about how often your readers would like to see your name in their inbox and how long it’ll take you to put together a valuable newsletter. Decide on a frequency and stick to it!
How do I get my readers to subscribe?
You need to create a simple yet enticing page with fun copy to get people to sign up for your newsletter. Many people do this in a pop-up format on their homepage for maximum exposure. Don’t underestimate the power of clever and pithy copy. It’s 2015; we’ve all signed up for hundreds of newsletters so be sure to show why yours is a must read for your reader! Also, make sure that your signup form is short, ideally asking only for their email address. If your form is tedious it will deter your reader from completing it.
What do I say?
This is where your “what” comes in. Think of your newsletter like a billboard for your brand. You want it to be visually stimulating as well as mentally and emotionally appealing. You want your newsletter to be personable, interesting and above all else, valuable. Make sure your newsletter respects that everyone’s inbox is a sacred place; don’t fill it with unnecessary junk. This is a perfect place to highlight content that is on your site along with other worthwhile copy and photos to keep your reader engaged. Bottom line: provide your audience with the added value it promises. If they just wanted to read your newest blog entry they would go to your site to do so. This means you need to give them MORE here. For example, stories about industry leaders, up-and-comers and likeminded brands that will inspire your audience, personal anecdotes to entertain them, or fun tips or hacks they can use.
How do I grow my subscriber base?
Once you have a decent following, it’s time to make your subscriber base grow! Make sure you have all of your social sharing buttons in your newsletter to make it beyond simple for your audience to share with friends (free advertising ladies!). Include your sign up URL on all of your social media platforms. This way if you have someone that follows you on Instagram but doesn’t regularly read your blog, they have the opportunity to sign up as well. Something else you can do is offer incentives. Never underestimate the power of a free gift with purchase, or in this case, with a signup! If you can provide a discount on a service or product that your audience is interested in than will incentivize them to add their email to your mailing list. Giveaways and contests are always great to announce on a newsletter as well. This is also a great format for a call to action for your audience, encouraging them to share this contest with their friends and family for a chance to win. (Before you do anything, be sure to follow the do’s and don’ts of an online giveaway!)
Our final tip for newsletter etiquette: Only send to subscribers! We have all been spammed far too many times to ever subject someone else to it. Even though your content is crazy amazing and anyone would be a fool to not want to read it, that’s their choice and you have to respect that. Speaking of subscribers, every newsletter must have an “unsubscribe” option at the end of every email. Hopefully no one will opt out of your fabulousness, but it’s in good form to give the option.