Why newsletters are important

When you share a post on Facebook, only a small percentage of those who like your page will actually see the post in their news feed. This fact is becoming increasingly true on other channels like LinkedIn and Twitter.  Though more traditional, email newsletters are still the best way to ensure your message is received by your customers.

Why building a big list is difficult

By law, you need permission to send the newsletter to clients.  Most larger companies have fine print when you purchase something, usually stating that by purchasing you are agreeing to receive the newsletter.  Many smaller companies often break the law by sending emails to their customer list even if those customers never agreed.
For example Apple requires customers to agree to the ‘Terms of Service’ when making purchases, which includes a privacy policy. These terms state that they can collect personal information, including email addresses, to send out promotions. Because they give the consumer the choice to opt-out of these emails, they are in accordance with the CAN-SPAM Act.
So if you play by the rules you will start to slowly collect emails, but you’ll also want to be sending newsletters to your expanding list.  Current subscribers often forward their newsletter to others which helps the list of recipients grow longer.  The problem is that it takes at least a few hours to compose a quality newsletter.  It’s hard to get any return on investment from that time when your list is only a few hundred emails.

What you can do about it

Use an Automated RSS Email while the List is Small
RSS driven emails are a great way to send monthly emails without much effort.  Your most recent blog posts are automatically sent out once a month, once a week, or anytime a new post is published.  This keeps the newsletter going until you have a larger subscriber base.
RSS emails are available in MailChimp, Constant Contact, and other email providers.
Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 2.48.53 PMEncourage Sign ups from Contact Forms and Order Forms
Not everyone enjoys unchecking these boxes at the end of the order process, but they are a proven technique.  If a user is filling out a form on your website, they are probably a great addition to your email list.
The option to uncheck the box gives the user confidence that you will abide by the rules of sending a newsletter.  When you automatically opt them in by including something in the fine print they may not trust your brand, and they are more inclined to mark it as spam.
Create an Offer for Newsletter Recipients
Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 2.22.27 PMThis is a great incentive to not only get clients to join your list, but to also give them a preview of what your newsletter has to offer.  If you send exclusive deals or specials to your audience, then reward their signup with an exclusive deal.  If your newsletter provides valuable information then reward a sign up with a special piece of content.
Combine your Offer with a Popup Box
To really accelerate your list growth, you’ll want to use popup boxes on your website. A popup appears after a person has been on the website for over 10 or 15 seconds.  Using a cookie ensures the same person will not be shown the popup a second time, preventing the popup from becoming too bothersome.
Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 2.33.56 PM
What NOT to Do
Many people decide to purchase a list of emails, or they export a list of contacts to start with.  Not only is this illegal, but it can also get your domain name blacklisted.  Most email services have advanced spam filters.  When enough people mark your newsletter as spam, then your domain name will be added to a blacklist.  Once you are blacklisted, it can be difficult to send even basic emails from your domain name without being filtered as spam.
Another common problem is committing to a schedule without committing to content.  Once a month is a nice goal to start with, but if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it!  Sending a newsletter that does not contain anything useful is worse than sending nothing at all.  People will quickly unsubscribe if newsletters are sent too often or lack important information.
Get a System In Place Today
At first it may seem like a daunting task, but a solid recipient list is well worth the wait. Employing the above tips will almost certainly pick up the pace of your list growth. Most people have no problem joining a mailing list when they know the emails will be beneficial and they are confident they can easily unsubscribe at any time.

Posted In: Marketing, Social

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