So you want to start a newsletter, do ya?

Have you ever gotten a newsletter from someone who was “excited to start” their “monthly newsletter” and then fell off the planet? Perhaps they re-entered your inbox a year later and apologized for not sending a newsletter in so long—then disappeared again?

THIS, my friends, is what we must avoid when deciding to have a newsletter. It’s the equivalent of sending an announcement to notify prospects that you’re inconsistent.

Needless to say, the inconsistent approach is not a great client-getter—but when done right—a newsletter can be an awesome way to engage clients and prospects, and even land new projects! Before committing to a newsletter, consider these tips:

  1. Newsletters aren’t something you do whenever. They need to be done regularly; you must commit to a timeframe—whether it’s monthly or quarterly—and stick to it. No, it doesn’t need to be the same day every single month, but prospects will notice its absence if months go by. Most importantly, if you skip an edition or get slightly off schedule, get back on the horse and stop apologizing for being away.
  2. Content can’t be an afterthought. Each newsletter should have some recurring features where you highlight newsworthy things: speaking engagements, awards you’ve won, your latest project. Like mine, you can link to your blog posts. One of my favorite newsletters that I receive is a roundup of articles about responsive web design, where recently, the sender opened with a line about his baby. It makes it so personal, and I admire that. That’s why I like to share what’s happening in my business or my life.
  3. Entice folks to subscribe. A great way to add subscribers to your email list is to offer something free in exchange for their email address. Here are some tips for creating an awesome free report.
  4. All the pieces need to mesh. To allow people to subscribe, you will have a signup form. Then, prospects will get a thank you message or be directed to a thank you page. (This will be set up through your email service provider—MailChimp makes it easy!) All the language should tie together and the process should work seamlessly. It bothers me when I sign up for somebody’s newsletter and I get the generic thank you page on MailChimp. All of the forms are customizable so they can completely tie in to your branding. Also, have an archive of newsletters so prospects can see what you talk about. Here’s mine.

What do you think? Will you be committing to a newsletter? And if you already have one—what tips am I missing?

And if you’re considering a blog—read this first.

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