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If you’ve been blogging for a while, be that 3 months, 3 years or a decade, you’re probably thinking if it’s time for you to be launching a newsletter of your own.
And I get that, because I was where you are, about a year ago. At that time, I’d been blogging for a decade. Without a newsletter. Guess what! It was perfectly fine too.
When you decide to make the shift to sending out a periodic newsletter, it helps to bear the following points in mind. A lot of this is trial and error, so these are guidelines, more than rules. See what works for you and discard what doesn’t.
1. Ask why you are launching a newsletter
This is the very first thing you need to ask yourself. Are you launching a letter because everyone else is doing it? Or do you think you can use a newsletter for a specific purpose? Remember that a newsletter is different from the automated mail that goes out to your readers every time you publish a post on your blog.
In a letter, you get to connect with your readers, talk to them, offer them something extra that you don’t necessarily offer on the blog.
Tip: Find your ‘why’. This will be your voice and why they will choose to read you over everyone else in your niche.
2. Who is your target audience?
The first mistake I did when I launched my newsletter late last year was that I created a single letter for all my readers. As you may know, my blog has multiple niches: Parenting, Pinterest, Productivity, Social Media & Blogging tips.
What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was targeting too many people with the same newsletter. It was only when I got feedback from parents that they weren’t interested in blogging tips or bloggers that they really didn’t want parenting help, that I decided to segment my list.
Tip: Add segments to the sign up form so that people automatically get sorted into their preferred letter at that stage.
3. Learn from the experts in your niche
When I decided to launch my newsletter, I went looking for letters by other experts in my niche: blogging, Pinterest and parenting. I signed up for their letters, bought a couple of e-books and got down to figuring out what would work for me, as a person.
The thing to remember here is that you have to find your own voice. Don’t copy others, but learn what works and what doesn’t, so you can apply it in your own case.
Tip: If you are just getting started, no matter what your domain, I would recommend checking out this free course by Meera Kothand: E-mail Lists for Newbies
4. Design your landing page
A landing page, as scary as it sounds, is actually pretty simple. It’s a stand-alone page on your blog or website that directs people to a specific purpose: sign up for your newsletter. This generates interest in your work, what you have to offer and why people should opt in to your mailing list.
This page can just be a ‘subscribe’ page, like this one.
Or, in most cases, it is usually a page that offers a freebie or a lead magnet to get people to sign up for your newsletter. For instance, based on my niche topics, I have the following landing pages:
Tip: There is no limit to the number of landing pages you can create. Keep playing with ideas to see what works. At some point, you can compile all of them into a single Resource Library on the site.
5. Create your Newsletter
Now we come to the fun part! Creating a newsletter is a lesson in a number of things: design, psychology of colours, visual formatting, bullet points, page breaks, length and tone.
The beauty of this exercise is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Some people love block templates. Others prefer a plain vanilla letter. If you use Mailchimp (which I recommend for those just starting out), you have the option of multiple templates which you can play around with. Do that, send yourself test mails as well as send them to friends to get their feedback before launching the letter.
After a while, you will find your groove. I found mine after 8 months, but hey, I found it! That counts 🙂
6. Embed the CTA in important places
If nobody knows about your newsletter, nobody will sign up for it. The Call-to-action (CTA) should be visible on your website. Ideally, you should have a CTA on your home page, at the end of your posts, in a pop-up as well as in the sidebar.
Remember that you have to give the reader a compelling need to sign up for your newsletter. Be authentic and be clear about what you offer and don’t be shy about it.
Tip: I love the Max Button plugin that allows me to add a CTA button to the end of my posts. You can also add a clear image to do the same.
7. Create a buzz
Talk about the newsletter on your social media channels. Let people know that you’re launching one and ask them to sign up. Remember to offer them an incentive to do so.
*Check point #4 above.
Tip: I love Instagram for this because I find the most valuable engagement for my newsletter comes from this platform, in addition to my private Facebook group.
8. Decide on the frequency
Many people over-extend themselves when it comes to regularity and burn out. So, when you start out, pick a frequency for the newsletter that you know you can commit to.
I decided I would opt for a monthly newsletter because that fits into my schedule. Additionally, a schedule makes you predictable and creates a better open rate for your letter.
Tip: Whatever the frequency, don’t send out the newsletter unless you’re providing value to the reader. People have way too much email in their inboxes. They won’t have the time to read you if you’re just popping in to say ‘Hello’ and nothing else.
*If you’d rather watch a video of these points, I did a Facebook Live in my private support group, outlining all these points in greater depth. The group is for the subscribers of my monthly newsletter.
Click here to ask to join the group and watch the video.