Where did that month go?? I swear it was just yesterday that we started this 4 part newsletter series but it was obviously 30 days ago (more or less) and now we’re into the final installment of How to Create a Newsletter that Doesn’t Suck! We’ve come a long way from zero to hero in the last 4 weeks:
- Week 2: Why You Should Start A Newsletter that Doesn’t Suck.
- Week 3: How to Create A Newsletter that Doesn’t Suck.
- Week 4: What to Put in a Newsletter that Doesn’t Suck (and definitely what not to).
…So now let’s jump right into how you can get more subscribers, engagement and return on your existing newsletter! Quickly followed by 4 stellar printables that you get free-o-charge so you can get this shit together, up, running and amazing within the next week!
FYI: Today I’m also answering 3 of the most popular questions you’ve sent me over the past month with respect to your newsletter. Think of it as kind of a free newsletter consultation – as if these past 4 posts weren’t! I might well be putting myself out of a job by giving you this much detailed information about creating and executing your newsletter but ultimately I want you to feel empowered to reach your audience because a happier audience = a better business and online community for you, me and our clients.
How to get more subscribers to your newsletter:
There are a whack ton of tools you can use to get more subscribers. And non of them involve pop ups. Here are a few ideas you can use to leverage your newsletter and get sign ups every single day:
- Have someone create a stellar – yet simple – sign up button and graphic and direct people to a custom sign up page with enticing copy to get them to sign up right NOW.
- Keep forms simple and short – the longer a form is, the less likely someone will fill it out.
- Utilize free tools like “HelloBar”, a custom header or in-post sign up form to increase the visibility of your newsletter and ensure it’s visible on every page of your website.
- Include the sign up URL in all your social network profiles and be clever! Never underestimate the power of humor or witty taglines. They foster the need to connect and encourage loyalty. Loyalty = subscribers.
- Incentives. This may be a free ebook, product, service or even digital mix-tape! Who doesn’t like a good mix-tape??
- Share it on social media when you send out a mailing (and sometimes even when you aren’t sending out a mailing). Make sure people know it’s there but don’t just yell “Check out my newsletter!” – remember, be clever. And always make it about them, not you.
- Ask others to share it on social media. But only after you’ve invested in them. Substantially.
- Partner with other businesses, bloggers and brands to provide valuable and relevant giveaways and include newsletter sign ups as a form of entry.
- Gain access to readers you normally don’t have access to by guest posting and writing articles for other industry websites and blogs. Include a link to your newsletter sign up page in your bio.
How to get more engagement on your newsletter:
- Make it about them. I can’t stress this enough – if you’re talking about yourself, make sure it’s relevant to your audience. Remember, everything you send them should be either: Informative, or entertaining.
- Speak from the heart (or in my case, the wine belly). Be honest, transparent and friendly and people will connect and respond.
- Don’t get too wrapped up with the numbers – focus on providing quality content in your newsletter, blog/website and social accounts and engaging with your audience directly; they’ll engage back.
- Ask questions. Use one question as your call to action that we talked about. Make it specific and make it easy for your subscribers to reply.
- Ask for a share and make it simple for them to do so. Click to tweet is awesome for this. You can also do “pin it for later” attributes or Facebook updates.
- Give it time and don’t ask for anything without giving first. The quickest way to walk into a room full of crickets is to demand something before you’ve given enough first. Could you imagine if someone did that in real life?…”Hey Sally – this is George. George, Sally”
“Hi Sally. How are you today?”
“Buy my PRODUCT!”
How to get more return on your newsletter:
- Do all of the above. No bullshit.
- Also, send mailings! Create your plan (keep reading) and then execute. You can’t get a return on your newsletter if you aren’t sending one.
And now, the top 3 questions direct from you, the reader, on your newsletter:
I already give just about everything on my blog. How can I find something unique and of value that i can offer in a newsletter?
- Scale back. Your blog should definitely provide a crap ton of great stuff for your audience but you don’t have to give away the whole cow – save some milk for the newsletter subscribers.
- Use the newsletter as an extension of your blog. Provide additional resources, articles, infographics, pictures, inspiring quotes, stories, related experiences and anything else that jumps into your pretty little head. Make sure it’s relevant, valuable and consistent and your audience will love it. It can be as simple as a few links out with a blurb about why you think they’d like it or as complex as image curation, separate sections with titles, etc… Totally up to you and what you have the time and resources for! I regularly collect the content I share through my newsletter through out the week and store it in a folder on my desktop. Makes it easy when mailing day comes.
Super awesome free consultation tip: Spend no more than 35% of your time creating content; The other 65% should be spent promoting it and engaging with people in quality ways on social media. It may mean you write one less blog post per week (I only write one on ohksocial; 2 – 3 on She Eats), but the results are well worth it. This will open up time for your newsletter as well.
I use pop ups on my site because they WORK! Yeah — 98 to 100% may not read it but the other 2 percent do and that’s enough to make money. How can you ask me not to use them?
They can definitely work. I guess there are two different camps when it comes to making sales online. I’m sure there are more but a lot of the people I’ve met fall into one of these 2:
- Immediate cash and quick term payoffs.
- Nurtured relationships that pay less in the beginning but more in the long term.
My major beef with pop ups is that they don’t take the audience into consideration. I obviously fall into camp numero dos – my reader’s comfort, ability to absorb my content at their own pace, etc… is much more important to me than getting the quick buck. Not only do I get to know the people who come to my site and elect to subscribe to my newsletter or follow my social accounts, but I also get long term, return clients who value that I value them.
I think you’re totally right – 2% of the readership will read and buy from pop ups. I’m more interested in the other 98% and fostering business relationships with other people who do too. Just a difference of philosophy.
How do I make money from my newsletter if I don’t directly pitch a product or service?
See above. I make all my sales from engaging with people in quality, thoughtful ways via my blog, social media accounts and newsletter. Very, VERY rarely do I actually pitch anything. Even in blog posts, it’s not often you’ll find a link to my Services Page or ask you to get in on the latest affiliate program I might be a part of.
I’m in the business of fostering relationships which in turn make a profit because people trust me. And then they come to me when they need a logo design, new website, creative branding development, social media coaching, community management, or photography, writing or editing services.
The same can be true for you. Like we’ve talked about before, there’s nothing wrong with letting your audience know what’s up when you have a new product, service or promotional offer, but that doesn’t mean you have to hard sell them on it. Get them to trust you, make it about them and the sales will come.
Now, if this series and the Q & A weren’t enough, here’s a little package (ow ow!) to get you rolling on your newsletter. Included:
- A newsletter checklist you can use to get you from zero to hero! Use the posts in the series to elaborate on each point.
- A goals work-sheet you can print out over and over again as your blog, newsletter, business and brand evolves.
- A layout work-sheet where you can sketch out your layout as a tactile pencil-paper exercise. Great for creativity!
- A calendar for you to print out and actually schedule when you should curate, create and develop content for your newsletter, promote it and anything else you want! I use these for my blog planning binder as well, along with a blog post checklist and blog planning printables.
- And of course, the forever and always promise and invite to shoot me an email if you have further questions or want to talk more about your specific newsletter. I’d be more than happy to hear from you about your strengths, fears, successes or confusions when it comes to email marketing (or pretty much anything – tell me about your worst hang over if you want).
To grab the downloadable printables, simply right click each image and “Save As”. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
How has this series helped you? Did you discover anything you didn’t know before? Will you start your newsletter that doesn’t suck now? Do you think you can get more subscribers (sans pop ups)? What points did I miss? What questions do you have? Share your thoughts below and I promise to respond personally!