Sending out an email newsletter is a great way to engage your audience. You can connect with your website’s users, while sharing with them your expertise, how beneficial it is to work with your business or how much convenient and efficient your company is.
This is because your newsletter can be anything; insider information on your niche, coupons, discounts and reminders of upcoming sales, opinion pieces, editorials, and Q&A columns, how-to’s for the weekend or guides. Your newsletter can be an extension of your site and a way for you to solidify your brand and boost your business.
Producing a newsletter does take time and real effort – you need to commit a few hours a week to writing or editing your material. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Plan Before You Go Public
Before you announce your newsletter or offer an opt-in on your site, make sure you have the time to follow through. At the beginning, a weekly newsletter covering niche news might seem easy to pull off. But what happens when life gets in the way of your deadlines?
Planning ahead is crucial. Organize a calendar; make a list of topics for future newsletters so you’re not caught with nothing to say or no one to write. Make sure you can meet your deadline commitments, because skipping an issue is not an option – definitely not in the beginning when you are building a reputation. This leads us to our second tip, which is:
2. Start Slow
A weekly newsletter is an excellent way to wedge yourself (and your business) into your customers (and potential customers) everyday life. But to get your newsletter to land in inboxes as regularly as the daily paper landing on the doorstep takes a lot of work.
You need to build an audience, and more importantly, you need to build your content!
Starting with a monthly or quarterly newsletter is a good way to make sure you meet the needs of your target audience, find the right voice, provide enough of the right information to be useful, and the right balance of promotion to encourage sales, not irritation.
You’ll have time to build your list and you can get used to sending out a newsletter, without fear of deadlines. Four weeks will fly by when you’ve got to put together content, coupons or guest columns, so make sure you follow step 1.
3. Get Help
No, we’re not talking about a therapist or an assistant (but both can be useful), we mean use an autoresponder service.
An autoresponder service is a computer program that automates emails. It’s the best way to prepare and send newsletter. You can use the service to maintain your email list, send an immediate email whenever someone signs up for your newsletter (which is a best practice) and you can, of course, prep your message and design your newsletter before sending it out through the service.
There are three autoresponders services we recommend: AWeber, iContact and ConstantContact. The prices range between the three; and you can sign up for different service offers depending on your newsletter needs. The monthly fees are low, and definitely worth the cost. Trying to manage an email list and send a newsletter without an autoresponder can take so much time and effort that it will divert your attention from your website and its needs, which can hurt your business.
Before you sign up for an autoresponder service, do a little Internet legwork. See if your competition offers a newsletter, and if they do, sign up for it. See what the authority sites in your niche offer. Take a look at your schedule as think long and hard about what you can move around to fit in creating a newsletter. Think about what you’d like your newsletter to look like and what it would include. We’ll be back with more tips on newsletters to help you create, produce and publish.