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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:

…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 write a newsletter + email marketing tips to get more subscribers  - PeppercornCreative.com | website design agency and blog & business mentor in Vancouver BCHow 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!”
    “uuuhhhhhh….. awkward”.Right?

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?

 2 Ways:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. Immediate cash and quick term payoffs.
  2. 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:

To grab the downloadable printables, simply right click each image and “Save As”. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Free Newsletter Plan of Action Printables - Get more Subscribers! ohksocialmediaFree Newsletter Plan of Action Printables - Get more Subscribers! ohksocialmedia

Free Newsletter Plan of Action Printables - Get more Subscribers! ohksocialmedia

Free Newsletter Plan of Action Printables - Get more Subscribers! ohksocialmedia

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!

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26 Comments on Amp Up Your Newsletter: Get More Subscribers, Engagement & Return (Free Printables!)

  1. Susan Cooper
    September 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm (3 years ago)

    Who isn’t looking for more subscribers? I do love what you’ve shared. Some of the things I’ve heard before but other I haven’t given much thought to. I haven’t yet started a newsletter, there is so much to do with oh so little time these days. Thanks for the gentle push to get my butt in gear.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Sweet Days of Summer: #StoryMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      September 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Susan!

      Thank you for taking a few moments to comment. I totally understand – there IS so much to do! If you want to chat at all about time management, I’d be happy to offer a few ideas. I’m pretty darn good at it 😉

      Reply
  2. Lenie
    September 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm (3 years ago)

    I don’t have a newsletter yet, I’m still trying to define my blog – but many of your tips work for bloggers too. I’m bookmarking this site and will return again…and again. Thanks for all the info.
    Lenie

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      September 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm (3 years ago)

      I can understand that Lenie for sure. Getting our blogs right is complicated to say the least. You could always start collecting email addresses though and not send out a newsletter to begin with. That way at least you’re ahead of the curve and you’ll have a steady stream of people who want to consume more of your content. That being said, you’re right. Newsletters (and their content) can definitely translate into blog tips.

      Best of luck – great to see you!

      Reply
  3. Jacqueline Gum
    September 2, 2014 at 7:23 pm (3 years ago)

    My goal with my blog is to introduce folks to my writing style and hope that they are inclined to buy my book or any future books that I may publish. So, I don’t think a newsletter fits my goal. However, You have offered some stellar points in getting more subscribers to my blog! Great stuff! Thanks:) Now for the doing part…..
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Smart… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      September 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm (3 years ago)

      Happy to help Jacqueline! Like Lenie said above, these tips DO translate from newsletter to blog so I hope you find them helpful 🙂 Getting a newsletter base started is an additional way to promote your books and get them into people’s inboxes. Have you thought about getting set up for that, even if you don’t send out a newsletter yet? That way you can collect email addys in the meantime and when you’re ready, send one out.

      Reply
  4. Beth Niebuhr
    September 3, 2014 at 5:40 am (3 years ago)

    Great suggestions to take the mystery out of getting more subscribers and being more efficient.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Then and NowMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      September 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much Beth! I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my article. I hope you find it useful! Let me know if there’s anything I can clarify 🙂

      Reply
  5. Jeri
    September 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm (3 years ago)

    I’ve found it easier to come up with newsletter content now that I am only posting once a week as opposed to twice a week. I’ve also been toying with coming up with a nice-looking sign-up graphic to place at the bottom of my posts.
    Jeri recently posted…#Inspiration: Creativity and Learning–Lost Girl RoadMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      September 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm (3 years ago)

      Jeri you’re absolutely right!!! We don’t need to put EVERYTHING onto our blogs – save some of it for the people who have invested in you. That way, you invest in them.

      A graphic is a fantastic idea too – entice them! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Jason B
    September 4, 2014 at 6:43 pm (3 years ago)

    This is my first time checking out your site. I like this 4 part series. I have a newsletter that I am trying to make better. These tips will definitely help me out.
    Jason B recently posted…This Post is……About YouMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      September 24, 2014 at 11:57 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Jason! I hope it helps you in your newsletter efforts. Can you tell me what you think it is about your newsletter that needs improving? If I can help further, I’d love to.

      Reply
  7. Carl Hedinger
    September 5, 2014 at 2:37 am (3 years ago)

    I love LOVE your organizing method! Especially the clean and visually appealing printables! And who doesn’t love a comprehensive checklist?!?

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      September 24, 2014 at 11:58 am (3 years ago)

      I DEFINITELY live for comprehensive checklists Carl! hahaha. Thanks for the compliments and I hope to see you around more 🙂

      Reply
  8. Bindhurani
    September 5, 2014 at 10:50 am (3 years ago)

    Great article . Love all the tips. I still have to learn how to have a subscription form for my blog-spot blog. Sharing your post to my social media
    Bindhurani recently posted…I feel alive: Mixed Media WorkMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      September 24, 2014 at 11:59 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you Bindhurani! Which newsletter subscription service do you use? I can help you get it up on Blogger if you need it. Otherwise, I’m stoked to see how you integrate it.

      Reply
  9. andleeb
    September 6, 2014 at 4:11 am (3 years ago)

    I only have blog but many things work there as well.I never thought of newsletter but know knows? I will try to make a checklist of things that are applicable in my situation and try to improve many things. I hope to have more subscribers.
    Thank you for nice ideas.
    andleeb recently posted…Bleeding GazaMy Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      September 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm (3 years ago)

      The key thing about having a newsletter (even a short one once a month) Andleeb is if for some terrible reason something terrible goes terribly wrong and you can’t access your blog anymore (ie a server issue, an update that conflicts with something else, etc…) you can still have access to and reach your audience. It’s like a blog back up, but for people rather than content 🙂 The only way to get more subscribers is to promote it and get it up on the site – good luck with it!!

      Reply
  10. Lisa
    June 11, 2015 at 9:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Just sat down and read your entire series. Thank you! I’ve been looking into setting up a newsletter, and this was beyond helpful!
    Lisa recently posted…Blogging Goals UpdateMy Profile

    Reply
  11. Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai
    January 23, 2016 at 1:01 am (2 years ago)

    I am planning to start a newsletter for my blog, so I goggled, “things to include in a blog newsletter,” and found your awesome series. It has been very informative and helpful. You validated many of my feelings and ideas, and brought up some wonderful suggestions that had not even crossed my mind. Now, I am excited to get started building my newsletter.

    I did notice that you did not mention Mad Mimi as a mail service. Is there any particular reason for that? I use Mad Mimi now for my RSS and my Linky Party email reminders. I have been very pleased with them–their customization capabilities, ease of use, support and friendliness of the team. I also have simple sign-up forms, customized and generated through Mad Mimi, so my email collection is already growing.

    Thank you so much for this series, and the great printables! 🙂

    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai
    Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai recently posted…Home Matters Linky Party #70My Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      February 26, 2016 at 8:10 am (1 year ago)

      Hey Lorelai! I’m so glad you’ve found my series helpful. In all honesty, your feelings and ideas ARE valid – and writing a newsletter with these things in mind gives us authenticity and helps us connect with our subscribers. So yeah – good on ya!

      As far as MadMimi is concerned, I haven’t worked with it. I’m a huge advocate of Mailchimp simply for design flexibility, user interface and analytics. It’s what I use myself and what I install for clients. There may be nothing wrong with MadMimi but MailChimp is my personal preference 🙂
      Kristy Gardner recently posted…Why You Won’t Make Money Blogging (and how to fix that!)My Profile

      Reply

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