Electronic newsletters have been around for as long as I’ve been in business; prior to that, I can remember getting them in the mail. Newsletters seem very 1990’s don’t they?
They don’t have the flash of “new media” or the shimmer of a shiny new social media site just waiting to be discovered, but what they do have is visibility. In some cases, more visibility than you’re getting on all of your social media sites combined.
At the Romance Writers of America conference this year, there was a lot of buzz around newsletters and why you need one.
If you’re not paying for placement on Facebook, it’s very likely your stuff isn’t being seen. And with everyone on sites like Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter (which also will start monetizing posts) it’s really hard to get your audiences’ attention.
If you decide to publish a newsletter, it doesn’t have to be long. I know some authors that just use their newsletter to “touch” their audience with a brief (500 word) update.
Your newsletter doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be consistent. And it has to be professional and on point.
I’m amazed by how many people still have no idea how to manage their own newsletter. I see sloppy copy or newsletters that haven’t been edited (am I really going to buy from someone who doesn’t have the time to edit their newsletter or make it look nice?).
I also see newsletters that veer off topic so much that I instantly unsubscribe. And, my absolute favorite: how on earth did I ever end up with this newsletter in the first place?
If used correctly, newsletters can be a great way to get your message out there, offer helpful advice, keep people in your marketing funnel, or simply remind them of who you are. We’ve had our newsletter for fourteen years and it’s been a solid way to stay in front of our audience and educate them about their market and what we do as a company.
Candidly, I would consider getting rid of a lot of things, but never our newsletter. It’s often the single biggest business driver to our company. It’s not easy, it requires work, but the rewards are tremendous.
Convinced you need a newsletter? Here are some quick ways to start it:
2) Give a great offer to get folks to sign up. By great offer I mean something they’ll want. If you’re a fiction author you can give exclusive content from your book, a gift card (hold a monthly drawing for one gift card) or some other valuable content your readers will want.
3) Make sure you have a mail system to manage it like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact and create an auto-responder:
An auto-responder is a great way to stay in touch with your reader/consumer and remind them of who you are. An auto-responder might go out weekly, or monthly, or it might just be a one-time “gift” you send readers for signing up.
Our auto-responder is our 52 Ways to Sell More Books which is separated into 52 segments and delivered twice monthly into our readers’ inboxes.
Be on the look out for next post in this series, Part 2: Newsletter Publishing Best Practices.
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