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With feed stats becoming less reliable, more and more bloggers are looking for ways to quantify and protect their followings. Can you relate? If so, consider the blog newsletter. According to experts, it’s hard to find a better marketing tool in terms of ROI than the newsletter, and that’s as true for bloggers as it is for businesses. By allowing your followers to opt in to a list, you gain a ready audience anytime you need to send out a message or announce a big change.
So when you know you want to start a blog newsletter, what’s next? Where do you begin? To help answer those questions, here’s a step-by-step look at how to launch an email newsletter today.
1. Choose an Email Marketing Service
Launching an email newsletter begins with choosing a provider. There are many different email marketing services available today, and the one that’s right for you depends upon your goals, budget, and support needs. You want to select a service that you’ll feel comfortable using, one that makes it easy for you to get your content out to readers. Here are a few to consider:
- AWeber: 120,000+ customers, $1 signup
- Constant Contact: Free trial available, pricing starts at $15/month
- Mail Chimp: 4 million+ users; free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 monthly emails
- MyEmma: Free trial available, pricing starts at $30/month
2. Set Up Your First Email List
After you register with the service you choose, set up your first email list. Add a signup form to your website, let your followers know about the new newsletter on social media and your website, and start adding to your list. This list will become the group of people you communicate with via newsletter.
3. Set Up Your Opt-In Email
Most email marketing providers will have a built-in function that confirms a reader’s subscription before it’s valid. In other words, when someone signs up for your newsletter, an email will come back to him or her, asking for confirmation of the subscription. You may customize this letter as you like, so adjust it to reflect your voice and to reinforce your brand.
4. Set Up a Thank You Page
After readers confirm their subscriptions to your newsletter, they’ll be directed to a thank you page on your site. You need to set up this page, probably at yoururl.com/thankyou. Here are some of the things the page should include:
- Thanks to the person for subscribing
- A welcome to your newsletter
- A request for your sending email address to be added to their contacts, so as to protect your newsletters from being marked as spam
- Contact information for questions
5. Plan Out Your First Few Newsletters
In order to maximize the effectiveness of your newsletters, plan out the first few and what they will talk about—thinking of them as a coherent whole will make them more powerful. Maybe you’ll do a 10-newsletter series that covers a rundown of tips or a roundup of stories or a variety of interviews. Maybe you’ll plan a theme for each newsletter for the first few months, each one focused on a different topic. Whatever the case, by setting up a plan, you create a blueprint for yourself that will make it easier to keep content flowing.
6. Test Your Newsletter
Before you send out your first newsletter to your subscribers list, test it by sending it to yourself. Double-check everything about it—the content, the images, the readability, and the links. Correct any mistakes before sending it out.
7. Send Your First Newsletter and Repeat
After these initial steps, your newsletter is ready to be sent to your audience. Send it out, and continue doing so on a regular basis (i.e., every week, every two weeks, every month).
If you’ve considered launching an email newsletter for your blog, what are you waiting for? Why not start today? Using the steps in this post, you can be up and running in no time.