I haven’t been very good at email newsletters. I have really struggled with this, and some people see the email newsletter as the precursor to social media marketing, and, they even include it in social media marketing today.
Chris Brogan, one of the top voices for social media, advocates email newsletters and puts a lot of work and thought in email newsletters.
I am looking for ways to build my list as I have seen how it can build traffic on a website. One of my clients has used it very effectively to produce some good results in their online traffic. It can be done, and I want, need, to be better at this.
I am looking to be more aggressive getting folks signed up for my email newsletters, without coming off as overly pushy.
Don’t worry, I am not going to hit you over the head.
I have used the whole “lead mechanism” that Shama Kabani talks about in her book The Zen of Social Media Marketing. That thing you see in the upper right-hand corner is an ebook, designed to get people to sign up.
I think I’ve seen one download. I’m letting you in on that secret! Not one to be proud of I’ll tell you. I thought folks would want an ebook helping them design a website. Maybe they do, but no one really has joined the community with us because of it. Well, one person did.
Challenges to building an email newsletter
I guess it goes without saying, you need to have some traffic, and I am so busy with dfwfootball.net and building a few websites that I really can’t do much with this website. Crazy, I know. I probably should really work on this website to build some traffic. With the traffic, you really have to funnel people to get them to sign up, and this takes a little bit of strategy.
2. Content for the newsletter
I have experimented with creating unique content for my email newsletter. I wrote some nice posts last Fall which will not be posted on this website. For dfwfootball.net, we simply send an update each week with the posts from that week. It’s pretty easy and it’s automated, but, I’m not sure it’s the best thing.
Brogan usually does something unique for his email newsletters. He calls one, Sunday Morning Coffee. He tries to get it to you for your Sunday morning coffee although I usually read it after church in either late morning or early afternoon.
3. Prominence on website
I have not put my email sign up in a prominent location on my website until recently. And, I see it with businesses all the time. Many will put a barely-noticeable link in the footer. I see this with the news websites. What? Why? Successful bloggers live off of this kind of connection, and many have built six-figure incomes. Hmmm. Maybe it’s a good idea to do. I am giving it more prominence on my websites and the ones in the future.
4. Lead Mechanism
A lead mechanism is something that you give away to get subscribers. I have a love/hate relationship with this. The content producer in me says my content should be good enough for folks to want to keep up, but the realist in me knows, sometimes you have to entice people into signing up. Some examples are free reports, coupons (news websites), along with some kind of free marketing plan. What would you give away?
5. Design/User Interface of the E-Newsletter
There are several issues to deal with when it comes to the design issues. They are laid out well at Smashing Magazine and Website Designer Depot. Along with the design, visually speaking, is the challenge of layout to accomplish the goals. These are things we learn along the way.
What are your successes with email newsletters?
What are your “challenges” with email newsletters?
Do you believe it is an integral part of your communication with customers or community?
Give me your feedback in the comments below!