There was a time not so long ago that I thought newsletters were wildly redundant. Being the person behind a blog or small business, you unequivocally know how much effort goes into promotion. It can be absurd. In order to be in the game, you have to be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram. Periscope, Google+, Tumblr, Flickr, and Reddit are popular, growing, and relevant. Why would someone trying to juggle it all want to start a blog newsletter when there is SUCH limited time? On top of it, blogs have the option to have RSS subscribers. So what’s the point if you have RSS subscriptions enabled? For those unfamiliar with RSS, simply put, readers can sign up to receive each blog post in their email as it is posted. With customized content going into social media constantly and with an RSS feed is there really any reason to start a blog newsletter?
3 Main Reasons To Start a Blog Newsletter
- A newsletter is customized content sent straight to your reader. They are intended to strengthen your relationship with your readers. While an RSS feed sends your readers each blog post you post, a newsletter is personalized. Furthermore, it is a great opportunity to craft exclusive offers to reward those who follow you. Giveaways, printables, free downloads, and sneak peeks on new ideas are great ways of saying thank you. If you’re thinking, that’s all great but limited time means limited time, the next two points are definite reasons to start a blog newsletter.
- RSS can have a lower conversion rate than newsletters. Yup, it’s sad but true. According to one source, RSS conversions are around 2%.
- You control your newsletter. You don’t control social media. If a social media platform, that gives you a lot of traffic, drastically changed its business policy or algorithm, you’d still have your email list. That right there is a HUGE selling point.
So how do you start a blog newsletter and maintain it?
- Choose an opt-in form. The word opt-in basically has two layers in the blogging world: The first refers to the means you collect email addresses for your newsletter. SumoMe, MailChimp, MailMunch, and other plug-ins offer great options for this. Side note: if you’re worried about adding a pop-up, hello bar, or welcome mat to your site, consider this. Part of the reason you’re likely worried is that you as a blogger are constantly closing pop-ups to comment on other bloggers content or decide whether or not to share it. The average person isn’t going on to dozens of blogs each day. It likely will bother them A LOT less.
- Craft a deliciously tempting opt-in (or two or three). The second layer to the term opt-in refers to how you are enticing your readers to sign up. Examples include special offers or privileges, free downloads, and printables.
- Situate your opt-in form strategically. Having a form that pops up on your page is great but also having forms strategically embedded into your posts can be great too. To do this, select your most successful posts, create opt-ins that would appeal to people reading these posts and then embed a form as you would an ad in the middle or footer of that post.
- Unsure of what opt-ins to create? Identifying your ideal reader is key. Actually, not only is it key to creating appealing opt-ins, it is also crucial to properly writing your newsletter and blog. Answer the questions, what type of person would like to read your blog? What are they looking for? What are common problems they have? Proceed based on those answers.
- How often you send your newsletter is dependent on how often you’d like to send one. Typical choices include weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Finding what’s right might also be a matter of determining what your readers respond to the best.
- Choose a template to write your newsletter with. My preference for under 2,000 followers is MailChimp. It’s free, user-friendly, customizable, and professional looking.
- What you write should be in your voice and be based on what you’ve identified about your ideal reader. Your newsletter should read like an email a person would want to read in their inbox. In my experience, headings like, “Limited time only!” and, “Read now!” aren’t great. That sort of language sounds spammy and likely won’t get read.
Starting a blog newsletter is definitely a process of trial and error. Slowly, you’ll begin to figure out what works best for both you and your following. In the meantime, I hope this helped!