Back in May, April posted a class to ARTrepreneur about “How to Rock Email Newsletters.” It was extremely helpful to me and I want to share with you some of what she covered and what I learned!
Why you need to have one
I knew that having an email newsletter wouldn’t be a bad idea but I never thought it was necessary. I certainly didn’t realize it was so powerful. April has taught me otherwise. One thing that really sticks out to me from April’s class is the idea that at any time your Facebook account, Blogger account or Twitter account or any other account for that matter, could potentially be shut down, deactivated, lost and gone forever because of something… and if you are relying on these accounts alone to reach people, you may find yourself in a very dismal spot should they go awry someday. It’s best to have your own personal list of contacts. (And yes, you can download a CSV file of all your subscribers’ addresses through MailChimp… and I am sure other services have this feature as well. Stay tuned to find out more about MailChimp.)
Your newsletter will remind people you exist, and keep them updated, and it will ensure that you can always reach the people who want to be reached.
How to get it started and send it
You will need a mailing list management provider. April and I both recommend MailChimp. MailChimp will provide you with all the tools you need to collect and manage contacts and send your newsletters! Lots of fancy templates and things we creative types like to play with.
Who to send it to
You should only be sending your newsletter to your subscribers! Don’t send a newsletter to someone who has not actually signed up to receive it. That is spammy and you don’t want to be one of those people. There are lots of ways to get people to sign up to receive your newsletter. One of the most common ways is to embed an opt-in box on your blog. This will allow people to simply add their email address right there. You might also want to post a link to your newsletter sign up form in your shop announcement, your automated message to buyers or on your website.
What to say
Use your mailing list to inform your subscribers about what you’ve been up to, or what you have planned for the future. Make it short and sweet and valuable. Tell them about an event you will be at, a new product you are working on or a special promotion you are running. Occasionally it is nice to send a little something super special – a discount code or a freebie of some kind as a thank you to your subscribers for sticking with you!
When to send it and how often
This is completely up to you, but April and I both send our newsletters on a weekly basis. She sends her on Wednesdays, I send mine of Fridays.
Other things to consider:
Setting up an autoresponder to send a message or newsletter to your subscribers as soon as they register, automatically! It’s like magic!
Plan and brainstorm content ahead of time. Create a list of topics, events, new projects etc., so that you won’t forget or blank out when you want to send a newsletter.
Schedule them to be sent out! You can write it up, edit it, and then schedule the email to go out at a certain time so you won’t forget to send it – this might also help with consistency.
Don’t sweat it if someone unsubscribes from your list… it’s okay. Focus on the people who are subscribed!
Use your newsletter to bring people back to your other places – Etsy, Facebook, website… you can add links to the sidebar or bottom of each email or add links throughout!
Don’t be intimidated; there are lots of people who want to hear from you – you may be pleasantly surprised.
Go forth and conquer.
About the Author: Hello! I’m Danielle, the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Administrative Assistant and summer intern and blog updater at The Merriweather Council. I enjoy sipping iced lattes, listening to boy band music, watching crime solving TV shows and putting things in hoops. I am often covered in little bits of thread and fabric but, well, ‘I want it that way’ 😉
Editor’s Note: If you got a lot out of this post, you’ll definitely get a lot out of ARTrepreneur. We’ve got 3 months worth of content in there waiting for you…including 6 classes, 9 interviews, 6 technical tutorials, 9 Photography Tutorials and Tips, 2 Design Tutorials, 5 online shop critiques and so much more.