My sister and her boyfriend lived on a sailboat for a couple of years and blogged about their travels. At one point, her guy complained to me about none of my family reading their blog posts. I told him it wasn’t personal so he shouldn’t get his nose out of joint. The fact is no one remembers to read anyone’s blog posts – without reminders.
That’s where an email newsletter comes in handy.
One of our new clients has been posting recipes each week to their blog but were disappointed in the tiny number of page views they received for all the hard work. What a difference it made when they began sending out an enticing email to their mailing list each time they posted a new recipe. Now they are getting thousands of visitors back to their site to read the recipe and shop for the related products.
There’s so much online content competing for people’s attention these days that we can’t expect our clients or even our friends to remember to go to our websites and read what we’ve written, no matter how good our information. Unless you are satisfied with out of sight, out of mind, make it easy for your readers to get your blog posts, recipes or whatever it is you are sharing. The bottom line is, “don’t let people forget about you.”
When I first started New Tricks, like most companies, I had a subscription form on my website, but I never sent anything out to my list. That first year, I had thirty-three people sign up to my list. I knew I would never grow my list if I didn’t have any reason for people to sign up. I decided to set up an automatic RSS newsletter that would send out an excerpt of whatever blog post I happened to write to everyone on the list. Over the next six months, I doubled the size of my list to 66 subscribers. One day, I saw that someone who I respected had unsubscribed from my list!
Oh, No! I quickly took a look at what I had sent out that day. It was obvious why they unsubscribed. What I had written wouldn’t have been helpful or interesting to my subscribers. I clearly didn’t have my attention on my readers. I knew if I wanted to grow my business, I had to change my bad ways.
That was my defining moment. I made a commitment to write one helpful and informative blog post each week and every week and to send it out to my readers every Wednesday morning.
Lo and behold, once I did that, my list of subscribers started to grow steadily. I heard back from people that they read or saved my e-mails to read later and counted on getting them each week.
While some people do unsubscribe, that’s okay. I want people on my list that are a fit for what I have to offer. If it is not a fit, then they shouldn’t be on my list.
How can you get started sending out emails to your list?
1) MailChimp is a great way to start an e-mail newsletter. It is absolutely free to send an unlimited number of e-mails until your list exceeds 2000 people. You can’t beat that. Place a subscribe form in a prominent place on your website and give people a reason to sign up.
2) Offer an incentive for people that sign up for your newsletter such as a PDF for immediate download. One of the current opt-in offers we’re using to grow the number of web designers on our segmented list is a PDF that will help them with Pricing Websites Like a Pro. ( You can get a copy towards the bottom of our home page.)
3) Decide on a content strategy and identify topics you’ll write on. Ask your readers what they are interested in. Answer questions your clients have. What tools or tips are helpful in your industry? Remember, people are not generally interested in your company news.
4) Keep on a schedule. Once you have people signed up, keep your word and send out your e-mail on a regular basis. How often you send your emails depends on your market but weekly is better than monthly because people may forget they signed up if you don’t send out e-mails regularly.
I know we are all bombarded by e-mail, but it is nice to get an email from someone we care about that contains useful information. Experiment with content and timing and see what works for your people.
Let me know how it goes!