Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Writing a Newsletter: Marketing It!

Wait....I write a newsletter to market my product, and now you're telling me I need to market my newsletter?

That's correct.

It's been a couple of weeks since my last writing a newsletter post, so let's recap:

As we learned in part one, a newsletter is important because it: 1.) grabs the attention of the reader, 2.) provides a way for you to "talk" to your customer, 3.) can easily become printed promotional material.

In part two, we discussed: 1.) you can take your newsletters wherever you go, especially for craft shows and potential partners, 2.) newsletters are important collateral material to include in customer orders, 3.) basic newsletter design.

And in part three, we discussed setting up your online newsletter, primarily by using the free Monkey Chimp services.

So today, I'd like to offer a few suggestions on how to grow your newsletter subscription list.  Please know, most of my suggestions are based upon my use of Mail Chimp.  I'm certain there are similar applications for other vendors.

1.) Create a distribution list.  As we discussed in part three, add the email addresses you've been collecting over time to a new list.  I creatively call mine "Newsletter list." Now, before you panic and go looking for email spam laws, please know the laws do allow you to email to a list provided to allow those you've sent to the opportunity to "unsubscribe." And Mail Chimp has the capability to quarantine any unsubscribers so you do not inadvertently send to the same email account again. Just to be safe, in the first newsletter I sent from Mail Chimp, I announced the change from my basic email newsletter, why I made it, and fully acknowledged that any unsubscribers would not receive additional correspondence from me.  The key to this is to live up to your promise.

2.) You have your basic subscription list.  Now you need to grow it.  The next step I take is to contact those who have purchased from me in the past month.  How do you do that? I'm sure you're asking.  Etsy doesn't condone sending a convo to past customers.  Well, I don't convo them within the Etsy network. If you click on the hyperlink of the buyer, you'll find at the bottom of the popup the email address of the buyer.  I then create a Mail Chimp listed creatively named "Etsy Customers." All previous month's customers are added to this list.  The campaign they are sent contains the following basic language:

"Hopefully, you've enjoyed your recent purchase from D'Lites by Dorene.  First, as a thank you for your support, I would like to offer you a xx% discount on your next purchase.  Second, I'd like to invite you to join my email newsletter list to learn more about new products and promotions throughout the year. To subscribe, please click here. This email is not intended to be spam. Please know if you are not interested in signing up for my newsletter, you will not be contacted again. Either way, please keep the coupon code as my gift to you."

In the spirit of candor, my open rate is over 75%, and my subscription rate from this list is 10%. My coupon code has not been used. But the statistics here are not what's important (says the person who deals with statistics in her day job). The point is you've extended two offers for a continued relationship with your customer. And the continued relationship is what's most important in any marketing initiative.

I send this campaign about a week prior to the development of my newsletter, giving past customers time to sign up for the current newsletter. They are added to a new list "New Customers" because I so love seeing who's been recently added.  Those who don't respond?  I keep my promise and I do not contact them again.   Mail Chimp has the additional functionality of matching emails and not allowing duplicate entries, so there is a rare and random chance that I would email someone who previously requested to be unsubscribed.

Now that you've added those you already have a relationship with, let's discuss other opportunities to add subscribers:

3.) Link your newsletter subscription link to your Facebook page. For complete instructions, please see the instruction page offered by Mail Chimp here.  In a nutsell, you'll copy the API key, open the tab designer, add the newsletter signup widget, and select your settings.  When complete, you should ensure your signup link appears in the top row of your Facebook banner.

4.) Encourage subscribers from your Twitter followers. The simplest way I've found to do this is by creating a tweet: "October newsletter coming soon.  Be the first to learn about what's new here: xxxxx." Using my Mail Chimp, I go to my "New Subscribers" list, select "For Your Website" from the menu bar, then copy the "Signup Form Link Code" into my tweet.  I use Hootsuite to schedule most of my tweets and am able to save my tweet as a draft, thereby giving me the opportunity to reuse the tweet as needed.

5.) Add a subscription link to your blog. I use Blogger and have found it remarkably simple to add to my toolbars with knowing little to no html coding.  Convert to your design mode, select "add a gadget", and select HTML/Java Script. After adding the title of your choice (something simple such as "Sign up for my newsletter here"), copy the same html code you used for your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

And last but not least,

6.) Collect email addresses everywhere you go. I'll give away a home fragrance basket at a craft show and request email addresses as part of the sign up form. Please be sure to include on your signage that you're collecting email addresses for a newsletter sign up. On your Mail Chimp account, create a list "Craft Show." Send a customized campaign such as

"Thank you for visiting my booth at Saturday's show. We didn't have much time to talk, but my products include yada, yada, yada. All of my products are available at www.DLitesbyDorene.etsy.com. To thank you for stopping by my booth, I'd like to offer you a discount of xx% from your next purchase. I'd also like to invite you to subscribe to my newsletter here."

Again, you're using the pull marketing technique you used for your former customers.

Building your newsletter subscription base takes time. Additionally, you should be promoting your published newsletter to your Etsy teams, and any other social media outlets available to you. Ultimately, these will be your best customers.  Some of my best referrals have come from those who read my newsletters but have never made a purchase themselves.

A lot of questions have been asked in the comments over the past few weeks, and I encourage you to ask any additional questions now.  Next week, I'll address any questions asked but not answered over the past few weeks of our newsletter journey.

If you've learned a nugget over this past discord, please let me know. I'd love to feature your success in an upcoming post and feature as well.

Until next week,


P.S. Please sign up for my newsletter here, if you haven't already!

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