Should you create an email newsletter? Many writers ask if starting a newsletter has benefits for their freelance biz. And if you’re a small business owner, blogger, or solopreneur, you may wonder if the effort is worth your time.
My answer: yes. And not just because everybody’s doing it. You need to be convinced that starting an email newsletter is right for you. But first …
An email newsletter is an online publication that you send at a regular interval to subscribers. You can offer your email newsletter for free or for a fee.
You can use an email list manager to build an email list, create each issue, schedule and send it, and manage bounces.
Some biz owners and bloggers believe that “an email newsletter is basically an email used in a marketing campaign.” I disagree. An email newsletter and an email marketing message are two different types of content.
A newsletter provides information, announcements, tips – and true to its name, occasionally even news – as a way to build a relationship with readers. In an email newsletter, content is king. Readers opt in and stay subscribed because the newsletter provides information that’s useful to them, no matter what the niche.
An email marketing message, on the other hand, is transactional. Its purpose is to get the reader to take a specific action, such as confirming their address or purchasing a product.
To be fair, an email newsletter can be considered “soft sell.” That is, you provide all that luscious information in order to eventually sell your services, offer your products, or otherwise engage subscribers in your cause. But at its heart, an email newsletter offers information that is so relevant and valuable to the reader that she continues to click “Open” again and again.
Think of the email newsletters you receive. Why do you stay subscribed when you could opt out at any point? Because you like the information you receive … you want to read what the sender has to say … you get special offers. You’re a fan of the sender, whether it’s an individual or a big business.
If you are a writer, ministry, or small business, then you want to build a following.
A quality email newsletter is a good way to achieve all those outcomes. It allows you to showcase your expertise in a particular area.
Let’s say you own a local garden center. You decide to create an email newsletter and send it once a week. In each issue, you offer one simple tip that describes steps to take to maintain a healthy garden, whether it’s a reminder to fertilize the tomato plants or a quick tutorial that explains different kinds of garden fence options.
Your readers come to rely on this useful information. Soon, they’re eagerly waiting for your email so they know what tasks they need to complete this week in the garden. You discover they’re forwarding your email to their gardening friends and sharing it on social media. You’re earning plenty of good will in the community.
You’re earning something else, too. Since an email newsletter keeps you in front of those reader regularly, who do they turn to when it’s time to buy plants and mulch and water hoses? You.
An email newsletter forces you to produce content.
Callous, I know. But if you create an email newsletter, readers should expect that you’ll send useful content. If they don’t receive it, they’ll opt out.
Commit to adding new content to your website or blog every time you send your email newsletter, and you inadvertently give yourself a writing schedule. You add pages to your website or blog every time you send.
More pages on your online site automatically mean more traffic from non-subscribers who find you organically.
And those new pages and posts lead to more clicks from subscribers. I’ve found that my highest traffic rates are on days that I send my email newsletter. Readers will follow links from your newsletter to your website or blog.
Whether you want to build an online business or simply promote a brick-and-mortar store, you need to advertise. An email newsletter is inexpensive (or free) to publish. In fact, several platforms allow you to create an email newsletter and send it for free. Two of my favorites are …
Week in, week out, you receive that helpful email newsletter from your local garden center. The articles are practical, easy to read, and you can put the information to use right away. The garden center has become a type of cyber-friend – one that understands the problems you face in maintaining your garden, yet always willing to help.
And the help is spot on. The tips and tricks you learn and the products that have been recommended to you – well. They work. Your garden is more productive that it’s ever been.
What’s your opinion of the garden center? You respect it. You value the staff. You call or stop by when you have a question. The garden center has earned credibility.
Your email newsletter can do the same. Work hard to produce quality content – and do it consistently – and you’ll build credibility with readers.
Maybe you’re tech savvy or maybe you’re not. Regardless, you’ll have a learning curve when you create an email newsletter.
The good news is this: the initial set up lasts only a short time. You may start with just one subscriber, but you will only grow from there while your opt in works passively day in and day out to build your email list. And once you create the initial email newsletter template, you can re-use it over and over. You’ll get faster with each issue.
There’s no way around it: content doesn’t simply create itself. You need to set aside time each week or each month to create an email newsletter and schedule it. However, if you’re serious about building your blog or building your business, it’s time well spent because …
If you create an email newsletter and then send out just one or two issues – and then readers don’t hear from you for a couple of months – then they will wonder if you’re serious. Be consistent and send your email newsletter regularly. Send quality content that makes a difference in your niche.
Then, subscribers will rely on you. Because you’ve proven that you’re reliable.
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