A Newsletter Primer

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You’ve decided to embark on building a platform. You know a blog is important and you are in process of getting that set up and deciding what to blog about. But are you ready for company to drop by?
As you design your website/blog, there is an important factor you don’t want to forget. Getting permission from your readers to contact them in the future. This is how you build an audience that will want to buy your books.
Building a mailing list is the best way to get that  permission. But people won’t just give you their email address for no reason. You have to give them something in return. Enter the newsletter.
Never fear, services like Mail Chimp (which is free up to 2000 subscribers) make it easy to design and mail out newsletters to your audience.
To get you thinking, here are a few things to remember as you put together your newsletter:
  • Have a welcome edition subscribers will get right away, or they may forget that they subscribed to you, then opt out once you send the next issue.
  • It doesn’t have to be weekly to be effective. Just enough to keep your name in front of them. I send mine quarterly.
  • Be consistent and follow through on promise of delivery.
  • Give them something free right up front to encourage them to sign up.
  • A collection of devotionals you have put together in a PDF format for them to download. A free short story. A free ebook (PDF download) of some sort of “how to” advice. A collection of your own poetry. ETC.
We will be writing more details next week about the newsletter. Our Google+ Hangout in April will cover newsletters, as well. Until then:
Brainstorm ideas for what to  write about offer as an incentive to sign up.
Look at those newsletters you have signed up for and see what others are doing.
Sign up for an account with Mail Chimp. Nose around and get familiar with it.
Check out these resources (sign up for their newsletters):
Michael HyattJeff GoinsTim Grahl

Before we go, let’s ask Jeanie about her newsletter experience. 
 
Jeanie is a fellow Wordsower and newly published author with a story appearing in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen. Released February 4, 2014. Every week, she shares her journey experience of building a platform. 

Connect with Jeanie on her website or on Facebook .

How did you first feel at the thought of starting a newsletter?
Confused. “How often should I send one out? What would I include? Can’t I just hide in the corner with my Hershey bar?”
Reluctant. “Do I really need to do this?”
Overwhelmed. “I don’t understand the technical aspects of getting it to people. Where do I even start?”
What benefits are you looking for with your newsletter? Instead of screaming into the vast virtual world, “Hey, look at me,” my heart is to give people hope and encouragement. I want to engage people by offering them things they can use. For example, my first newsletter came out March 20th. In it I shared:
  • 3 different organizing methods to speed up Spring cleaning
  • A 4-in-1 story, “Perspectives.”
  • A fun interactive editing/voting opportunity.
  • A drawing for a $20 Visa gift card.
Did you run into any roadblocks along the way? Yes, an epic battle with Evil MailChimp. Actually, it’s a wonderful email marketing service…once it’s mastered. MailChimp and I wrestled like God and Jacob. Except for my nose getting out of joint, I came away fairly unscathed. I bogged down watching tutorial after tutorial, but the monkey’s off my back.
How easy/hard was it to start? I made it harder than it should have been. I was convinced that it would be a drawn-out, painful process. So I turned it into one.
What is the link for people to sign up for your newsletter? Go to www.jeaniejacobson.com Sign up before March 31st to be eligible for the Visa gift card drawing. (Cha-Ching)
 
Angela D. Meyer

Angela D. Meyer

Angela D. Meyer lives in NE with her husband and two children whom they homeschool - recently graduating their son. She has taught Bible class for over 35 years and is on the leadership team of her local Christian writers group. She loves God, her family, the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea.
Angela D. Meyer

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