…No you shouldn’t.

Wait, what?

I know what you’re thinking. You literally just clicked onto my blog post because I told you that you SHOULD start an email newsletter and then I turn around and whip out a giant can of WTF.

Okay, let’s start over. You should definitely be building an email list for something like a newsletter, but don’t actually send out a newsletter. Hang with me a sec. If you spend much time reading and consuming content on a regular basis, you’ve no doubt signed up for a few newsletters yourself. Now think about how you feel when they come in – are they entertaining? Engaging? Informative? …Or do they suck?

How to Start An Email Newsletter - 4 part series - ohksocialmedia

Too often, newsletters suck. They’re bland, obtrusive, salesy things that I either promptly delete without opening, unsubscribe or quickly scan before tossing it in the heap of junk mail that is my trash folder.

Your newsletter shouldn’t suck. You newsletter, shouldn’t be a newsletter. To steal the title of Amy Lynn Andrews‘ email marketing campaigns, it should be a USEletter! And you need to start one. A-sap. Jon Morrow talks about this brilliantly as well.

The key to great email marketing (aka newsletters) is that you provide ADDED value to your readership. I try to do this every 2 weeks in my Food Blog newsletter – subscribers get incredible food porn, additional real food recipes, exclusive and pre-release info on my giveaways, blogging and cooking tips, seasonal eating info, direct input on my future blog posts, invites to collaborate and be promoted and more. I also happen to subject them to various real food rants, non-food obsessions and products that I think they’ll enjoy (none of which are affiliate associated).

Your “useletter” is a dialogue of trust between you and your audience. Essentially, it should be an opportunity for your readers to connect with you on a more intimate level. I never EVER try to sell them something. Or at least, not very often. The last thing I want in the newsletters I read is yet another sales pitch. Fuck that. A “useletter” should be useful, entertaining and gift added value. And if – if – a great opportunity arises that I think my readers will appreciate, it may make it into an email campaign. But rarely and sparingly. Because who wants to have a conversation with someone always trying to push something on them? That’s what drug dealers are for.

Uhhhhhh…..

Tweet: “Build relationships, not content”Tweet:
Click to tweet this!

Right. So you SHOULD have an email marketing strategy but why? For the love of all that is good and pure and holy, when you have a blog to write and promote, a podcast on the go, or a business to run, why should you dedicate time, energy and resources to email marketing? Simple. The reason a newsletter is important to your brand, business or blog is two fold:

  1. The house on rented land analogy. As we’ve seen with the derailment of Facebook and the anti-social collapse on Twitter, access to your audience can go up in smoke very quickly. So if shit goes down, how do you reach them? Email marketing allows you invited access into the most private parts of your audiences’ online lives: Their inboxes. And 99% of email addresses don’t change so that’s access you can count on.
  2. It helps establish trust. I’m sure by now you’ve heard that the “trust factor” is key to making sales, building a following and generally being successful online AND in life. By creating a newsletter the right way and engaging with your audience on a (semi) regular basis via an email marketing campaign, you leverage that trust and create loyal followers. And we all know that means: Super fans.

So now that you know that you should have a newsletter, what are the specifics? Wax on, wax off my friends.

Over the next four weeks, I’m going to gear you  – and your newsletter – up for Fall so that come September you’ll have the whos, whats, wheres, hows, whens, and sometimes whys of email marketing so you’ll be ready to start kicking ass and taking names (and email addresses). If you’ve already got an email marketing campaign going, we’ll take you to the next level and get you more sign ups, responses and ultimately return on your efforts.

In this four part series, we’ll cover:

  1. You Should Start A Newsletter that Doesn’t Suck.
  2. HOW to start a newsletter: The ins and outs of what to do, how to do it, on which platform(s) and how often.
  3. What TO include in your newsletter and what NOT to include in your newsletter.
  4. How to Get More Subscribers, Engagement and Return PLUS A FREE downloadable to get you rockin’ and rollin’!

Come back next Tuesday to get the party started. And in the meantime, shoot me an email if you have any specific questions, ideas or comments about newsletters and email marketing – I may just include them – and the solution – in one of the posts!

When was the last time you got a really awesome, entertaining, inspiring newsletter? What is it because my friend, I want to check that shit out. Do you currently have a newsletter? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? What has held you back from starting one? Share your thoughts below and I promise to respond personally!

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2 Comments on You Should Start An Email Newsletter that Doesn’t Suck (4 Part Series)

  1. Megyn
    August 7, 2014 at 1:16 am (3 years ago)

    Kristy
    I hope you address the different kinds of newsletters based on your audience. You have a food audience. So they want lots of pictures right?

    My audience (more into personal development) wants content right? I follow several people in my niche, and some make me want to delete and unsubscribe. Others are much more informative — while basic, these people I have stayed in touch with for years. A lot of pretty show and sparkle doesn’t do it for me. I also hate being sold to everyday. There are some people who never give content, only market their stuff or others. Pat Flynn has the best newsletter I’ve ever read. It’s basic, not pretty, but informative and giving. He also is personal. I trust him. I would love to hear your thoughts in this series.
    Megyn recently posted…What If You Were Right Where You Were Supposed To Be?My Profile

    Reply
    • Kristy Gardner
      August 7, 2014 at 11:13 am (3 years ago)

      Hey Megyn!

      That’s a great idea – thanks for suggesting it! I’ll definitely incorporate various things you can include in your newsletter, depending on your audience.

      I don’t think image based content is only for food, nor do I think personal development should be pigeonholed into just written content. As we’ve seen with the explosion of social networks like Pinterest and Instagram, and the proliferation of pictures on Facebook and Twitter, EVERYONE likes a good photo or graphic. We can convey a lot of feelings, thoughts, emotions and messages through picture based media – sometimes better than we can in words.

      THAT being said, what one person prefers will vary from another. I like simple, straightforward newsletters for sure. I receive Pat Flynns as well as Chris Brogan and Rob Hatch and they’re always just text based and awesome. But I incorporate a lot of pictures in my She Eats newsletter because I dig that too.

      It’s really up to you as to whether you want to include pictures or no pictures. The key is in the added value you provide your audience with and the engagement you receive as a result. How you choose to do that is entirely up to you.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment – always great to hear from you!

      Reply

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