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Newsletter definition


Newsletter (© maicasaa / Fotolia.com)

Newsletter (© maicasaa / Fotolia.com)

If you are a business with a website, or if you are an internet marketer (even better!), then you absolutely need to have a newsletter. This will likely prove to be one of – if not the – most important tool in your marketing arsenal. In fact, countless creators and marketers credit it as such and say that it drives the most engagement and the most conversions of all their various strategies. A newsletter is simply an email that you send out to subscribers on a regular basis. Most often this will be weekly, but it can also be bi-weekly, it can be monthly, or it could be just when you feel like it. Generally though, having a regular news blast is better and will result in more opens and better engagement.

The idea behind the newsletter is severalfold:

  • To increase engagement with your brand in a manner that is very personal
  • To give you a new way to advertise and market your products and services. This is very beneficial because it doesn’t rely on any third party platform such as Facebook or even Google. However the web changes, we’ll likely always have email.
  • You’ll be able to sell this contact list if you ever sell your business and it will greatly increase your value
  • It will allow you to contact and poll your audience. This is great for customer feedback, polls, surveys and much more
  • To provide value
  • To drive traffic to your site and to make sure that people don’t miss out on what you’re up to
  • For brand image and for your reputation management. By drawing attention to the hard work you’re doing, the rapid growth of your blog, your recent successes etc., you can help to make your business come across in the best possible light and thereby help to ensure that it looks as good as possible and that you build more fans.

How to Build a Newsletter

In order to create a newsletter, you need to start with the nuts and bolts. The most important thing is a piece of software that is known as an autoresponder. This is a tool that will automatically send out lots of emails to a large list, meaning that you don’t need to CC everyone in – which is hardly practical and has a host of different issues.

At the same time, autoresponders manage a lot of the other admin of running a newsletter. For instance, they will allow people to unsubscribe (without you having to manually remove them from the list), they will allow people to provide feedback and they will let you schedule your emails.

openPR-Tip: Autoresponder also allow you to handle things like double opt-in which basically means that people need to confirm that they want to be on the list. This is very important in order to avoid spambots and also to make sure that you don’t have people on the list that don’t want to be there. This is called list hygiene.

Relevant to that concept, an autoresponder will also show you key numbers and details. You’ll be able to see how many people actually open your emails for instance and you’ll be able to keep tabs on who your most engaged subscribers are. This is very important as it allows you to see what’s working and what isn’t. What’s more, it will allow you to pick out key subscribers and fans who are the most likely to buy from you. Some autoresponders will even allow you to automatically message people once they pass a certain engagement threshold.

Finally, the autoresponder will allow you to create your opt in form which will go on your website and will let people sign up.

There are many autoresponders, but the most popular are:

  • MailChimp
  • GetResponse
  • Aweber

They each have different pricing structures, features and benefits.

How to Write a Newsletter

Of course, what is also important is the newsletter itself. You need to make sure it is useful and providing real value to your audience. Keep it relatively short and try to use a personal and friendly tone that is fitting for being inside someone’s inbox!

Some suggestions of what to include:

  • A quick news blast from your site/brand. Let your readers know anything new that you’ve done lately.
  • A roundup of useful/interesting links and resources on the web that are relevant to your niche.
  • Perhaps a short exclusive article or tip for your audience
  • Links to media and resources such as videos etc.

You can always go further and make your newsletter into something like an ezine – which is a digital magazine filled with tips, images, content and more. This is a good strategy because it increases open-rates, engagement and good will. But it is a separate concept.

Getting Your Emails Opened

If you want your emails to get opened, then you need to think carefully about the subject line in particular. Make sure that this is:

  • Interesting enough to grab attention
  • Not likely to get filtered by the spam filter (ideally you want to get into the ‘primary inbox’ but that is increasingly difficult)
  • An accurate reflection of what is inside – don’t use trick tactics or you’ll quickly get lots of people unsubscribing
  • Give away free things!

All these things can help a lot but it ultimately comes down to the engagement you have with your audience and also the methods you used to get them to sign up. They should be targeted and it’s important not to trick people into signing up. NEVER buy email addresses unless you are buying the entire business and brand. People don’t answer unsolicited messages and you can have your address blacklisted.

Note that you can use something called an incentive or magnet in order to get people to sign up. That means a free ebook or report that will encourage people to join if they’re on the fence. Be wary of making this too enticing though, as it can otherwise attract people with no interest in the brand – who just want a quick freebie!


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