In my recent article Don’t Write an E-book, there were some questions about the purpose of building a list. I believe a couple people actually said “my readers don’t want a newsletter, they already get my feed”.
In reading those I both understand the sentiment and where you might find success creating one.
List building is a critical element of an online business. Without the ability to contact your audience “at will” do you really have an audience? Or are you the kid with the lemonade stand on the side of the highway, just interacting with the traffic when it slows and rolls down the window?
I totally agree with the idea that there is no place or time for a “general newsletter” anymore. Especially for an active audience engaging with the feed and Facebook. Sure your grandma will read your newsletter, but most people will open it 45% of the time for the first two months then only open the seasonal ones.
Suppose you were to write a couple gluten free recipes and you get quite a few nice comments from that. That would be telling that you have an audience appreciative of gluten free recipes. Perhaps you could type those up and offer them as a “kitchen printable”. If you had them “opt-in” with their email to get this printable, you’d start to develop a “gluten free specific” list.
This would be a group that has a certain affinity to which you could learn more about. You could learn the phases of being Gluten Free. You could echo what sucks about being Gluten Free and what’s great. You could put together a pretty good email program, specific to that part of your audience, with recipes, books, blog posts, ideas, images, and more to serve them. Your entire audience might not be interested in that, but your Gluten Free fans would.
Let’s do a quick test, which of these do you open?
SUBJECT: January Newsletter
SUBJECT: 40% Off the Khaki Jeans you like
Parsing your list into affinity groups means every message is relevant. Every “newsletter” has meaning. Your open rates go up, your click through rates go up, your income goes up. If you want to learn more about List Building, Phil Hollows of Feedblitz wrote a great book on the topic. You can read more about that here: List Building for Bloggers.
Is it more work? It can be, but there are lots of ways to automate list building, parsing lists and email marketing to make it both easier for you and a better experience for your audience. If you would like to learn about the automation part, let me know in the comments and we’ll tackle that next.
Dan R Morris is the founder of LettersFromDan.com, a website dedicated to improving your revenue stream from online efforts. Dan is an infomercial producer, niche website owner, product developer, author and Mastermind leader. Dan actively encourages marketers to take that extra step so that “Hope” doesn’t become the marketing plan.