How to start a newsletter – 10 tips

Email newsletters and blogs are great marketing tools.  By starting a newsletter you  give potential clients a way to learn more about you in an easy non-threatening way.  Have some sample articles and a sign up form available on your website.  This will allow people who may be interested in signing up to see the value of you and your newsletter. Here are some tips on how to start a  newsletter.

1.      Get your email list ready. Collect email addresses of clients,  former clients and potential clients.  Get in the habit of telling people about your newsletter and asking them to give you their email addresses so you can put them on the list.  Have a form on all the pages of your website so potential clients can sign up for your newsletter and/or blog broadcasts.  Include a sample article or two so they know what they are getting.

2.      Get the content of your newsletter ready. Make a list of topics you want to write about.  If you have several target markets write articles for only one or possibly two.  Decide on the one(s) you want to grow.

3.      Identify key words to use in your articles. Make sure those key words are words people search on by checking through the Google adwords tool.  Here is a link to the free tool.

4.      Read what others write. Check to see who else writes on your topic and read a sample of what they have written. Subscribe to other newsletters and read other blogs. Comment on other blogs in order to become known in your field.  When signing up for newsletters notice what others use to give people an incentive to sign up.

5.      Decide on your incentive – Although your newsletter is free people need an additional reason to give you their email address.  Early on when I started my newsletter(~1999) just the newsletter was enough.  Today people give e-Books, White Papers, assessments etc to get people to sign up.  You received a values assessment if you signed up recently for my newsletter.

6.      Find your voice. Identify your own unique perspective that you think others will find useful and write from that perspective.

7.      Write two or three sample articles. You can use these in the first newsletters or blog posts.  Many people have started newsletters and abandoned them after a few issues.  The same is true for blogs.  Before you begin have some articles ready and then write some more while you are using those.  Establish a habit of writing an article once a week, every other week, every month based on the frequency of the newsletter you are planning.

8.      Identify your newsletter host. Find a vendor to host your newsletter and/or blog.  There are lots of them and there are differences between vendors.  Constant Contact is a popular one.  Aweber is the one I use.  Some shopping carts have an integrated newsletter function.  If you need a shopping cart to sell a product, this might be your best option.

9.      Input your email list and names at the host site you have chosen. Consider hiring someone to do this for you if all this seems too time consuming to you.  Start with small list of friends then add the rest once you have completed #10.  You need to confirm that you have permission to email everyone on your list.  If you send email to people who have not agreed to getting your newsletter you are violating the law and can get a serious fine.  Most email hosts have a double opt in policy.  With double opt in you let people know they are on your list and they must confirm by clicking on a link provided in the email in order to be on your list.

10.   Practice sending newsletter out to small group of friends. You will want to see how the newsletter works from end to end.  Be sure your name is on your list so you get a copy of the newsletter too.  Get feedback from friends as to the content and appearance. Once you are confident that the newsletter looks good and is a good representative of you and your work, send it out.  Ask your newsletter readers for feedback as your first call to action for your readers.  The more feedback the better.  You want people to read what you write and comment either positively or negatively.  Either way they read it!!


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