Last year I attended #RStheCon and came away with a ton of new information, but the biggest by far was the importance of having an email newsletter. I’d had a sidebar widget that allowed people to subscribe, but for a long time, I just let it sit there collecting emails and never actually putting it to use.
So why should you have an email list? Here’s a few good reasons…
1. You have a group of dedicated followers ready to hear what you have to say.
2. Allows you to reach your readers on a personal level – their inbox.
3. Keeps your blog in front of their eyes and makes them aware of new content and new projects you are working on.
4. If you ever decide to sell a product or service, you have an engaged audience ready to buy.
Once you’ve decided to start a newsletter, you’ll need to decide what platform to use and then how you’re going to format it.
Google’s Feedburner allows you to send an RSS feed of your posts to subscribers when new posts are added. While this might seem like the easiest option, I also think it’s the least personal or special.
I use a MailChimp email newsletter for several reasons. It still allows me to send out an RSS Feed if I choose, but it also allows me total control over the look of my newsletter. You can add your own branding and special elements to it so that it looks professional and more interesting than just a list of posts. I’ve also realized that there’s really two ways of tackling the email newsletter.
1. RSS Feed of Recent Posts
By far, the simplest way to get your content to your readers! Mailchimp allows you to set up an RSS campaign thats looks really professional! While this might seem like a great idea, sending readers the same thing they can get on your blog isn’t the most inticing reason to sign up, so let’s talk about a different route that makes people actually want to sign up!
2. A Custom Newsletter that You Manually Create
I like this route because it allows you to be far more personal and real and also give your readers something extra. A listing or summary of your recent posts is a great reminder for them to visit your site, it’s not the best reason to get someone to sign up for your newsletter. Offering something special and unique in your newsletter that doesn’t appear on your blog is one great incentive for people to sign up for your newsletter.
Giving something away is another great way to get people to sign up. Just like my newsletter here, I offer a free download of ‘5 Tips and Tricks that Helped Me Grow My Blog’ with your signup and promise in-depth content that doesn’t appear on the blog. Suddenly signing up for my list sounds a lot more appealing, right? So think about what you might be able to offer your readers and position your newsletter to do just that!
A combination of these two is also great! For the Fox & She‘s weekly newsletter, I always include a special note from the editor as well as a truncated RSS feed and sometimes sale details and other goodies. It’s my way of reaching out to readers on a more personal level in hopes of making them feel more like they really know me.
So, the real point? You need an email newsletter. How you do it is up to you, but you’ve got the facts, so the decision is yours!