I’m sure you have heard many online marketers touting the benefits of having a newsletter. I have used newsletters in the past for many sites. I’ve used them as a source of revenue by having advertisements embedded within the newsletter content. They are also effective as a means to keep a site sticky – to “anchor” clients and bring them back to the site. Newsletters can also be a great selling tool to provide free information, samples of your expertise or services, and as a taste of your full product/service. The lure of free content from newsletters can help you to turn casual surfers to potential customers and then finally paying customers.
I find the biggest problem for me personally is to consistently provide new content (which is strange since I have no problems writing a daily blog, go figure!). Consequently I have looked for methods to get around this problem.
Many of the sites I control I enjoy for the business management side of things and don’t actually provide the core services myself. For example at BetterEdit.com I don’t do any of the editing. I have professionals on staff that handle that aspect of the business. Consequently I have found it difficult to write newsletters that appeal to my target audience. Other times I’ve just grown bored of the subject matter and it becomes a chore to write a newsletter. If you don’t have enthusiasm your output is not going to be very good.
Over the years I’ve developed ways to make money from newsletters without writing them myself.
While initially you do have to write the content yourself once it’s written your done. You don’t have to constantly provide new content and your course can be sent out to unlimited subscribers. The benefits of an e-course is that you can really focus on what your speciality is. Your course acts as a showpiece for your core competency, your skills, and allows people to try before they buy. You can monetise the course by inserting affiliate links, advertisements or selling your own services/products (or all three!).
You might be thinking this is all well and good, but how do I manage my newsletter. How do I handle an e-course being sent out every day for seven days to hundreds of different people without being blocked by SPAM blockers. What technology is available and what do I recommend.
Personally I use Marketer’s Choice to handle all email communications but if you just want a newsletter service it’s definitely way too expensive (it more of an all in one marketing tool – see Using autoresponders to grab clients for more details).
I’ve tried a few different newsletter software packages. Some you install on to your own server and then manage online, others that are externally hosted subscriber based services and one that functioned a lot like an email client that sits on your desktop and sends out emails through your mail server. All of these have pros and cons. Of course it depends on your budget, but as I have stated you often get what you pay for so be wary of the free packages out there.
Before you commit to any newsletter software make sure you check how they deal with SPAM. Do they have an official policy and description of how your newsletters will be received? Are they just mass broadcast? Your newsletter software should provide double-opt in protection which means your subscribers have to opt-in and confirm their subscription via email before they receive anything. This helps to keep you from being accused of spamming.
One of the main reasons I chose Marketer’s Choice was because they have a very good system to make sure your mail is delivered to your subscribers. They have an in-built SPAM checker which reviews email you send out and tells you the likelihood your mail will be blocked by anti-SPAM software. It has the capability to personalise every email that is sent out so it appears with “Dear clientname” rather than just a generic “hello”. This is an important feature both as a sales tool (people tend to read emails that start with their name) and it’s more likely that your mail won’t be classed as SPAM by anti-SPAM software, which flag non-personalised email as potential SPAM. It’s the extra benefits that professional services provide that make them worth the cost, but you do have to go out there and test to find what suits your needs.
Really I can’t think of many reasons not to have some form of newsletter or e-course on your site. Yes it does take time to set things up but it’s worth the effort. I suggest you write it in your to-do list now if you don’t have a newsletter already!