Originally published on: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney/~3/NRUVjIofmvo/
What You Should Include in Your Email Newsletters (and Answers to 4 FAQs About Email)
Do you email your blog readers regularly?
Maybe you put ‘set up email newsletter’ on your ‘someday’ list ages ago, but still haven’t done it.
Or maybe you have a newsletter list, but you haven’t sent one in months.
You might think it’s optional – something you can do once you’ve finished everything else on your to-do list.
You might even think email is dead (or at least old-fashioned), and that you’re better off building connections through social media. (Which is nothing new, by the way. I was talking about bloggers having similar concerns nine years ago.)
The truth is, email is still one of the best ways (if not the best way) to connect with your blog’s readers.
Email is a big part of my strategy on both of my blogs. It drives traffic, and helps us build our community, understand who’s reading our blog, and monetize both directly and indirectly.
If you’re not using it, you really are missing out.
But what do you email?
What is the content you include in your communications?
Email can be used in many ways, and you can sent a variety of email types. But today I want to talk about creating a regular email newsletter, which for me is the foundation of my email strategy.
A few of the most common questions I get about newsletters and email strategy:
What tool should I use?
What content should I put in my emails?
What format should they be in – plain text, rich text, HTML?
How frequently should I send emails?
What other types of emails should I consider sending?
How do I get more subscribers? (I’m not going to cover this today, but recommend you listen to episodes 68 and 69)
Links and Resources on What to Include in Your Email Newsletters:
How I Use Email Newsletters to Drive Traffic and Make Money
Comparing Email Service Providers for Bloggers
6 Reasons Why Your Blog Needs an Email Newsletter
3 Examples of Content You Can Include in Your Email Newsletter
Other Podcasts On Similar Topics:
PB117: Case Study – How One Blogger Used a Blog Post, SlideShare Deck, Lead Magnet, Email Sequence and a Webinar to Earn Over $28,000
PB107: Affiliate Marketing Tips – What Links to Use in Your Emails
PB069: Create an Opt-In to Increase Your Email Subscriber Numbers
PB068: How to Increase Your Email List Subscribers By 100% Or More Today
161: 3 Things Most Bloggers Don’t Pay Enough Attention To
Tools We’re Using: (These are affiliates and we get a small commission on purchases.)
Drip — the current email service provider for ProBlogger
ConvertKit — a tool we’re just starting to experiment with that looks very promising. Built from the ground up for bloggers.
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Hey there and welcome to Episode 220 of the Problogger podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, a podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks, and soon to come some courses, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog and to make some money from it as well. You can learn more about Problogger at problogger.com.
And while I’m mentioning it, sign up for our newsletter, Problogger PLUS. You’ll see calls to action to do that wherever you go on problogger.com. That will keep you in the loop in terms of our new content, but also some of the new things we’ve got coming for 2018.
In today’s episode, I wanna talk about email. It’s a fairly introductory… I guess the frequently asked questions that I get about email, particularly what should you include in the emails that you send. I think most bloggers know that they should be sending some emails and collecting email addresses, but I regularly get asked the question, “What should I put in my emails?”
I wanna talk today about what we do with our newsletters, talk about some of the questions we get around whether you should use plain text or rich text or HTML, how frequently you should send, and other types of emails that you might wanna build into your sequence as well.
We’re talking all things email today. If you haven’t yet got a newsletter or an email list, today is gonna be good for you because we’ll also mention some tools that you might wanna use. And if you have got one but you haven’t been sending, this would be the perfect podcast for you, I hope.
Let’s get into it. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/220.
Do you email your blog readers regularly? Maybe you have had this on your ‘to do’ list, your ‘someday’ list, for a long time now. It’s amazing how many blogger I meet have got ‘Set up an email list’ or ‘Start sending emails’ as one of the items on their ‘one day’ list.
I wanna encourage you today, as we approach the end of 2017, move into a new year, to put this on your today list. I really wanna encourage you to make this an essential item, a big part of what you do in 2018, because as I look back over the years in my blogging, this is one of the most important things that I ever took action on, starting to send emails.
You might think email is dead or an old-fashioned medium and that you’d be better off building your connections through social media, which is certainly one way that you can build relationships with your readers and drive traffic to your blogs. The truth is, email is still one of the best, if not the best, way to connect with your blog readers.
Things are changing all the time in the space that we’re operating in. But email is not going away. It hasn’t gone away. It one day may go away but I can’t see it going away in 2018, 2019, 2020. Whilst all of these other options of communicating with your readers do come and go in terms of their effectiveness, email is still a very effective way to reach your readers.
And it’s a big part of the strategy on both of my blogs. It drives a lot of traffic every week. It helps us to build community. We use our email to direct people to some of the social media accounts that we’re building community on, to drive engagement. It helps us understand who is reading our blog because we can get feedback from those who subscribe. And it helps us to monetize the business as well, both in terms of selling our product but also directly monetizing the emails.
We actually sell advertising in some of the emails that we do, particularly on Digital Photography School. So it’s paying for itself, and is a profitable part of our business.
If you’re not doing email, please consider it, and make it a priority for 2018 in terms of starting that email list or making your email list more effective for you.
I do get a lot of questions about email. And I wanna cover some of the more common ones today because it can be used in a variety of ways. There’s no blueprint for how you should do it but I wanna explore some of the different methods that you can use to use in email.
Particularly, there are six questions that I wanna talk about today. In fact there’s five and I wanna give you some further listening for the sixth one.
The first question is, “What tool should I use?” I get it all the time. I wanna suggest to you a few tools that you might wanna consider.
Number two question is, “What content should I put in my emails? What are my options in terms of sending a newsletter?” particularly.
Number three, “What format should they be in?” Should you be sending plain text emails, rich text, HTML, pretty, designed emails.
Question number four, “How frequently should I send emails?”
Number five is what other types of emails should you send in addition to that newsletter that you do.
The sixth question, I’ve got some further listening for you, is how to get more subscribers for your list. I’m not gonna cover that specifically, but I do have some further listening which I’ll mention at the end of today’s show.
That’s where we’re headed today.
The first question, let’s get into it, what tool should you use. There are an amazing array of tools on the market today. When I started doing email, I think it was back in 2004, 2005, there weren’t really that many tools. But today there are so many. Every time I ask in our Facebook group what tools do you use, it’s amazing how many different tools are mentioned there. They come in all shapes and sizes, with different levels of features and different price points.
What I really encourage you to do is to pay for an email service. Don’t use a free one. Don’t send your newsletter from your Gmail account. It’s just gonna get you into trouble in terms of spammy practices, and it’s gonna hurt your deliverability. You do want to invest in an email service provider. It does cost, but if you use email right it should pay for itself through selling products, through selling affiliate products, through potentially even having advertisers in your email.
It’s not that expensive to start out. Most of the tools that are out there have free entry points, or they’ll give you trial for certain amount of subscribers and then they increase the price as you get more subscribers. You shouldn’t have to pay too much to get started.
This isn’t a time or place to compare all the different options out there. But what I will say is over the last 12 months we’ve looked at quite a few of the options at Problogger for our own use. For many years, I’ve been using AWeber as a tool. It is a solid option that I know many Problogger readers use. It’s been around for years, it’s reliable, it’s relatively affordable.
But over the last few years, we’ve increasingly come up against challenges that are starting to hold us back in terms of what we are trying to do with our email list. Some of the features aren’t quite there in comparison to some of the other tools out there. You can do a lot, but you kind of have to hack it together. It’s a little bit clumsy in terms of the way that it’s arranged. But it is a good solid tool if you just wanna send a newsletter every week and you don’t wanna get much more sophisticated than that.
We’ve decided to start looking around at some of the other options. It’s been years that I’ve been using AWeber. We’ve started to also notice a little bit of deliverability issues. That could be partly because of the size of our list, and because our list is quite old as well. We have a lot of people who signed up for that list in 2005, 2006 and so deliverability is kind of… there’s some issues there for us as well.
So when it came to looking at what we should switch our business to in terms of email, we considered a lot of different tools and we came down to two. There are two that I would recommend for you.
The two that I would encourage you to consider, and we’ve got links to these on our show notes, are Drip and ConvertKit. We’ll do an episode in 2018 with more detail on these tools and talk a little bit about the actual features of them, but we came down on Drip. We’ve decided to move to Drip. We’ve actually switched Problogger over to Drip in the last six months and it’s been amazing. We’ve loved using it. It’s very powerful. It enables us to do a lot more segmentation of our list and deliver different types of emails to different people to create different sorts of sequences of emails. It’s very powerful and it’s incredibly intuitive to use.
It is more expensive for us than AWeber but we’re already seeing, as a result of high deliverability and more powerful tools, that we’re going to be able to make our money back on that. And we will be moving Digital Photography School over to Drip next year. That’s a big task for us because we’ve got so many lists and so many subscribers there.
So Drip has been very good for us but ConvertKit, I would highly recommend that as well. It is a newer tool, perhaps it hasn’t matured as a platform quite as much as Drip, and not quite as advanced in some of the tools.
When we looked at the size of our list and some of the things we wanted to do, it wasn’t quite there, ConvertKit for us particularly when we made that decision ConvertKit, you couldn’t do HTML emails. That may be coming or it may have already come. You had to do plain text. I know for a lot of bloggers plain text is totally fine. We’ll actually talk about why plain text might be the best option for you anyway. But we came down on Drip.
If you are perhaps not wanting to do something quite as sophisticated as Drip and you want a tool that has been specifically designed for bloggers, ConvertKit is amazing. I would highly commend that company to you as well. Both of the companies are brilliant in terms of their customer service. Do have a look at both of them. If you wanna signup for them, I’d appreciate it if you’d do it through our links on the show notes because they are affiliate links and we do get a small commission on those things, help us to keep Problogger running. But even if you don’t, check them out. I do highly commend them to you. Both have a really good customer service as well, they’ve been very helpful for us.
They’re the two tools that I would use. I know others of you are using other tools. Most of the tools out there do have the same types of features. Again, if you haven’t set up a list yet, do pay for one. Don’t send your emails from your Gmail account. It’s just gonna get you into a lot of trouble.
Question number one was tools. Number two is “What content should I put in my emails?” And “How should I format them?”, I guess, is the third question as well. That’s where I wanna turn our attention to.
There are no rules for what you should send in a newsletter. There is one thing I would strongly encourage you to consider and that is to be consistent and to be regular, be consistent. Email subscribers are like blog readers, they like consistency. They quickly form expectations of what they’re gonna get from your list. They will signup and they’ll see your first email and they’ll see your second email. If they are similar to each other, they’ll expect your third email is gonna be like that.
If you are storytelling in your emails and then you suddenly switched to an opinion piece and then you suddenly switched to tips and then you suddenly switched to promotional stuff and you’re mixing things up constantly, some of your readers are gonna get frustrated with that. If you’re using different voices in your newsletter, they’ll begin to get a bit frustrated with that. We’ve actually found that our subscribers really like it when we do the same thing every week. I’ll tell you what we do in ours as well.
There’s a variety of things you can do in your newsletter but try to keep some consistency there in terms of how it looks, how it reads and I guess the benefits of it as well. They’re much more likely to stay subscribed and just stay engaged with your list, keep opening your list, keep looking for your emails if you have some consistency there in terms of what they get and also when they get it. Don’t stray too far from the normal, you can mix things up a little bit. Always try to keep some consistency there particularly in the way it looks, I think, is really important.
There’s a variety of things you can do with that newsletter. What I wanna do is just give you three different options, you could also probably do a combination of these things or something else as well, again consistency is the key. These are the three most common things that I see in newsletters doing. Each has their own strength. The first thing you could do is to write exclusive content especially for the newsletter list.
I see some bloggers doing this very effectively, they send a weekly or maybe every second week or even a monthly type of email. You open the email and it’s an article in the email. There’s actually a tip or there are some news or there’s a story in the email itself. You don’t have to click on it and anything to go and read the content, they actually put the content in the email. It’s something exclusive and valuable just for the subscribers. It’s almost like they’ve written an extra blog post that week just for the email.
There are lots of bloggers who do this. I’ve used the example of Nicole Avery who is one of our subject matter experts on Problogger, she has written a lot of articles for us. She’s got a blog called Planning with Kids and she does this in her newsletter. If you subscribed to it you’ll see that she’s essentially writing an extra article or blog post every week just for subscribers, you can’t get it anywhere else.
This approach works really well because it helps your subscribers to feel a little bit special, you’re giving them a reason to stay subscribed because they can’t get this valuable content anywhere else. Your emails have the value inside them. They actually begin to look for them and begin to expect them and they open them. They don’t say, “This is all just stuff in the blog.” This is something I can’t get anywhere else. They get into the habit of opening those emails. That’s a really powerful thing.
The downside of this approach is you have to write something extra every week. It is going to go to a smaller audience than potentially your blog. You write a blog article and it’s there for all time and it gets indexed by Google and it gets shared by social media for all time. It can get a lot more eyeballs on it. It feels like you’re doing a lot of work for less effort but the work that it’s doing with your subscribers can be very powerful because it can build a deep connection with them, it can make them very thankful for it and it gets them in the habit of looking for your emails because they know they cannot get it anywhere else.
That’s option number one, you create something exclusive for your newsletter list. The type two of what you could send in terms of a newsletter is where you send out your blog post by email. Essentially every time you publish a blog post, you send an email sending people to that blog post or you actually email the blog post itself. There’s a couple of different options within this one. This is something that’s possibly a little bit easier to do because you’re not writing extra content for your newsletter, you’re just promoting that content or you’re repurposing that content for your newsletter as well.
If you’re short on time, this is a good way to go. An example of this is Jon Morrow, Jon has a blog called Smart Blogger. He argues really strongly for this type of newsletter. If you sign up for his newsletter, you’ll get an email anytime he publishes a new blog post. The email generally has two or three paragraphs that introduce the topic and then links to where you can read it. Sometimes he might have the first paragraph or two of the blog post and then says further reading or read the rest here. Sometimes he will rewrite that introduction and give you a good reason to go and read that article.
He’s sending out these emails every time he does a new blog post. This works for Jon because he’s not publishing everyday. Sometimes, I think, he publishes two or three times a month. It’s less regular. He’s not interrupting his subscribers constantly. It’s probably not recommended if you publish everyday or several times a day. I think on Digital Photography School, our readers will get highly annoyed if we email them every time we did a blog post because we publish 14 a week.
This approach is good for those of you who are short on time. It’s all about delivering traffic to your blog. The emails themselves don’t deliver a lot of value in the email. It’s not as good in terms of getting people used to the idea of opening the emails because there’s that little voice in the back of their heads saying, “I could read this on the blog, I don’t need to read this email.” You’re giving them perhaps a little less reason to do it. If the content is valuable on your blog and you’re only doing one a month or one a week, it’s possibly something that will work for you.
Another approach that I have seen on this is where the blogger has actually put the whole blog post in the email. They might publish the blog post on their blog but then they’ll also send that whole blog post in an article format in the email itself. This is where you do build some value in the emails themselves. This means your subscriber doesn’t visit your blogs often but for some of us, that doesn’t matter.
If you’re monetizing your blog with advertises, you do wanna get them over to your blog. Teasing them with that first paragraph or two and then saying read the rest here, that’s definitely a good way to go. If you are just about trying to build credibility, authority, you’re trying to make your readers connected to you, then it probably doesn’t matter where they read your content. This is an option, if that is your goal, if you wanna monetize your blog less directly by selling a product to them, then you maybe just wanna deliver that content in the email itself. There’s a couple options there.
The last type of email that you might wanna send is what I do, that is where you do a digest type email. You might send a weekly or a monthly digest of what you’ve published in that last period on your blog, you might wanna send links to all of the new content you’ve published or just the highlights of what you published in that period of time. Generally, people are doing this weekly or monthly but you could do it any period as well, you could do it every second week.
If you’re publishing several posts a week like we do, you don’t wanna be emailing your readers every time a new post goes up or as people unsubscribe. This is really where you digest it all. Digital Photography School is a good example of this. Every Thursday, I sit down and I look at the 14 posts that were published over the last week and I arrange them into categories and then I plug them into a template that we have had designed for us, it’s an HTML template. It’s basically a digest of the week.
Basically if you open that email, I can put a screenshot in today’s show notes, sometimes we’ll put a little introduction of something that happened during the week or highlighting a promotion that we’ve got on. The email is essentially a list of our new posts. They’ll be 14 new posts there, we also have some messaging from advertises there if we’re promoting something of our own or have a promotion going, we will highlight that as well but it’s generally a digest of all the stuff that’s going on in the blog. Occasionally we’ll also link to our Facebook page or our Facebook group and promote the community that’s going on as well.
Problogger PLUS newsletter is similar although simpler, we only publish three posts a week usually on Problogger, one blog post, one podcast, and one Facebook live or video on Facebook. Our Problogger PLUS newsletter only got the three links. Occasionally, I’ll also highlight a post in our archives that I think is relevant still today. I usually would include an introduction in the Problogger one because I’m trying to build a connection with readers as well, I wanna give people an insight into what’s going on at Problogger headquarters or something that has been going on on the blog over the last week.
These digest type emails are good for those of you who do have a lot of content. They’re also really good if you are trying to drive traffic to your site, you wanna get people across to your site, you’re highlighting all the blog posts but you’re not annoying your readers if you’re publishing a lot of content.
Use an introduction, I would encourage you to do that as well because that’s where you can build a more personal connection with your readers as well.
Three different types of newsletters that you can do. The third question I wanna briefly cover is what format should they be in, I get this question all the time. Should you be sending your emails in plain text, rich text which I’ll explain in a moment, or HTML. On our blogs and if you get the Problogger PLUS newsletter, you’ll know it’s branded with Problogger, you’ll see the logo in it, it’s a fairly simple design but it is HTML. There’s a picture of me in it, there’s color, there’s the Problogger color, there’s the Problogger logo. This, hopefully, makes it a little bit more visually appealing but it also reinforces the brand and it personalizes it as well because it got my face in it.
We do the same thing with Digital Photography School as well, we have the DPS colors, we’ve arranged it into categories. Particular on DPS, it’s useful to go HTML because we got a lot of content in there, there’s 14 links, there are messages from our advertises as well. We wanna draw the eye to different paths of it as well. HTML is really good if you’ve got a lot going on in your emails as well.
That costs us, we actually had to pay to get those designs done, our developers did it so we pay them to do that. It does take a little bit of time to get our emails together each week, it’s not just a matter of sitting down and writing a few paragraphs. I actually have to sit there and plug it into the template to test all the design to make sure it’s all working. It’s a little bit more involved in terms of putting it together but I do think it reinforces our brand.
Plain text is another option. I see a lot of bloggers doing it. I think there are some really good reasons for just doing plain text emails as well. Firstly it’s cheaper, you don’t have to get anyone to design it, it’s quicker and easy to put together. Generally it takes me 45 minutes or so to put out newsletters together each week, a little less for Problogger. A plain text email would be a lot quicker than that, at least half that time not including whatever you’re writing. Sometimes the writing itself could take more. The plain text email would be a lot quicker.
Also, the deliverability of a plain text email could be better than an HTML one. We’ve certainly seen that when we do our promotional emails, when we promote with an HTML email, our deliverability suffers. We generally do our sales type emails in plain text. You might wanna test that, plain text versus HTML. Every time we’ve done a split test on that in terms of our sales emails, we see plain text winning.
The other option is what’s called rich text. This is where you use some formatting. You might use bold or italics or you make any links, you link a word rather than putting the full link. This makes your emails look a little bit neater, it means you can draw the eye, you’d bold to create headings. It can be more useful if you’ve got slightly longer emails as well to draw the eye down the page. They are your three main options.
I would encourage if you’re just starting out and you’re feeling challenged to buy it all and you’re tethering on the edge of should I get into email or not, start with plain text, it’s so much simpler to do. At least you’ll be sending something every week, you wanna get into the rhythm of sending that. You can always progress to HTML later. Start simple.
Fourth question, a really brief answer to this one is how frequent should I be sending the emails. Again there’s no right answer here except to say regularity is so important, your readers will get used to the rhythm that you choose so stick to it. Personally, I really like weekly emails because it becomes a part of people’s week, it also leaves enough space between the emails that you can also send them extra emails. I’ll talk about some of those in a moment. Also, they forget who you are. That’s the danger of going monthly, is that if you go monthly, some will not signup for your newsletter today.
They may not hear from you for 29 days if they sign up on the first of the month then you send your emails on the last of the month. That distance between emails, there’s a danger there that they don’t feel connected to you, that they forget they even subscribed to you. I like weekly because it is a little bit more regular than that and it keeps you in front of people at the top of their mind.
Ultimately, the frequency you choose really needs to depend upon one, how much time do you have. If you don’t have much time, less frequent is okay. The format that you’re trying to send emails in, if you’re doing HTML, it could take a little longer so it may be less frequent. If you’re doing plain text, it’s a little bit easy to do so it may be more frequent. What are you putting in your emails, are they long, are you writing exclusive content for them, then less frequent might be okay because one, it’s gonna take you longer to create those emails but two, it’s gonna take longer to read.
You don’t wanna be sending really long articles everyday to your readers because again they can’t consume that much content so less frequent might be okay if the content is a really deep content. I guess ultimately, what are your readers’ expectations and what’s their ability to consume the content as well. They’re some of the questions I would be asking. Again, I think weekly is probably a good starting point. You can always decrease or increase it slowly over time but don’t jump and change too much.
Fifth question, it’s really the last question, is what other types of emails should you consider sending as well? We send out our weekly newsletters but in between the weekly newsletters, some weeks, there’s another email. Sometimes there’s even two. There’s different types of emails that we add into the sequence of emails that we send.
Let’s go through the three types. Promotional emails, this is where we launch a new product or run a sale on an existing product or doing an affiliate promotion of some kind or a sponsored type of campaign as well. If you’ve got a sponsor, sometimes you might send an email out about that campaign or about that offer as well.
Emails, for us, result in most of our sales. This is a really important type of email for us but we don’t wanna go overboard with the promotional emails as well. If we promote something new every three days, our readers are gonna push back and they’re gonna get mad. We really try to be as careful as possible, we wanna be promoting enough that we are profitable but we don’t wanna promote so much that we lose subscribers. You’re gonna play this a little bit by ear.
One key for us is that we map out at the start of the year what promotions we’re gonna run over the next year. We are, at present, mapping out 2018, what ebooks and courses are we going to launch, which ones that we’ve already launched will we do relaunches of or promotions on, what seasonal promotions are we gonna do in 2018, are we gonna do Black Friday, are we gonna do a Christmas sale and what affiliate promotions are we gonna do. The beauty of mapping it out ahead of time is that you can space things out.
We typically run a promotion for a week or even two weeks. We know that during those times, we’re gonna be sending out multiple emails in addition to our newsletter. We wanna space those out, we don’t wanna run a promotion this week and then another promotion next week and then another promotion the week after. We wanna space them out, give our readers a bit of a break in between. That’s another type of email that you could build in.
An autoresponder sequence would be another option. This can be a really great way to bring your new subscribers up to speed with some of the other stuff that you’ve got in your archives. If someone subscribes to Digital Photography School today, they’ve missed out on over 7000 articles in our archives. What we’ve created is a sequence of emails that goes out automatically to anyone who subscribes to our newsletter. Every 30 or so days, they get an extra email. It’s time to go out on a Sunday, our newsletters always go out on Thursday, our promotional emails usually go out on a Tuesday.
We got this rhythm that you always will get a Thursday email newsletter. You’ll sometimes get a Tuesday promotional email, this is maybe one in three weeks and then one in four weeks you’ll get a Sunday email that is highlighting something in our archives. An autoresponder is where you setup that sequence of emails ahead of time. You just let it run to anyone new who subscribes up.
There is a whole episode of this podcast dedicated to autoresponders that I’ve done in Episode 70, I’ll link to that in the show notes but you might wanna also go back and listen to that. It’s a very powerful strategy to use because it’s a set and forget type of thing. You do it once, you setup that email once and then for all eternity or until you stop, I choose to stop sending that particular email, that email automatically go out to all new subscribers at the set intervals, a very powerful strategy.
The third type of email that you might wanna send as well is more of an interaction type of email. This is where you send out a question to your readers and encourage them to reply. This might seem a little bit crazy, you don’t want all your subscribers sending you emails but it’s a very powerful thing to do. For example you might send out a welcome email and then at the end of that welcome email say, “Please tell us about your experience with…” That is a very powerful thing because it signals to your subscribers that you’re interested in hearing from them.
That adds work to you because you’re gonna start getting more emails but it’s gonna give you incredible insight into your subscribers and it’s gonna make it realize that you are not just wanting to send them emails, you’re wanting to have a conversation with them.
Another option that may be a little less work is where you setup an email and it might be part of that autoresponder sequence that we just talked about where you send out an invitation to complete a survey. This is something that we do on Digital Photography School after you’ve been subscribed to our newsletter.
I think that’s three months, we have an email that goes out automatically on the autoresponder sequence. It says, “Could you take five minutes to do this survey?” The survey has questions about their demographics but also asks them questions about their photography and it gives them an opportunity to ask questions as well about photography that they’ve got which gives us ideas for content. These types of emails are not so much about driving traffic to your archives and are not designed to get sales. They’re designed to help you understand who your readers are and also to make them feel a little bit more connected to you.
Another option that you might wanna do is adding the occasional email that promotes your Facebook group, your Facebook page, your Instagram account, these type of places as well. Again, this is about engagement, trying to get a second point of connection with your subscribers. These are the three types of extra emails that you might wanna send, there would be others as well. If you’ve got any others that you send out, that you’ve built into your rhythm of sending emails, I’d love to hear about them over in the Facebook group.
The last question that I get asked all the time from people is how do I get more subscribers to my newsletter. I’m not gonna cover this today in this episode but I do recommend you go and listen to two episodes, Episode 68 and Episode 69. These are two different strategies for building your subscriber numbers of your newsletter. I think both of those would be well worth listening to once you finish this one in a couple of minutes.
The last thing I wanna say is to make it a priority, make email a priority for 2018. I’ve seen something, the two big problems I see amongst so many blogger are bloggers who don’t have email lists, that’s the number one problem, or they’ve signed up for a service and they aren’t collecting email addresses. The second big problem is bloggers who don’t send emails. I see this all the time, people who are collecting emails everyday, they’re getting new subscribers but they’re not sending emails.
If you fall into either of those categories, one, know that you’re not alone but two, know that I’m not satisfied until you get that thing fixed. I want you to make it a priority in 2018. I really have seen the way that email has transformed my business, it has really brought a lot of traffic and a lot of income and a lot of connection with our readers as well over the years. It is a central part of what we do. Put some priorities into that. Even if you’ve got an email list and you’re still listening, make it a priority to take a critical look at what you’re doing with your email.
Do you need to change up your newsletter? Do you need to start an autoresponder sequence? Do you need to think about the design of your email? Do you need to test the format, plain text versus HTML? Do you need to do some testing in terms of the subject lines that you use? Do you need to consider upgrading your email service provider? I highly encourage you to take a critical look on some of that type of stuff.
The last thing I’ll say is if you haven’t started, start simple even if you just send a monthly plain text email once a month, a plain text email with three paragraphs that simply links to a recent post that did well for you. That is better than nothing. Don’t let the tools, don’t let the formatting, don’t let the link, don’t let the content itself hold you back, send something. Make it valuable, it doesn’t need to be long, it doesn’t need to be profound, just make it deliver a little bit of value to your subscribers and they will keep looking for your emails and it will begin to build some momentum for you.
I can’t wait to see what happens as a result of this. Remember to start simple and then let it evolve from there. You can always get more complicated with your emails but you really need to make a start on it.
Today’s show notes where there are links to Drip and ConvertKit and there’s a bit of a summary through a transcript of all the things that I’ve said and some further reading for you as well, further listening. You can find that all over at problogger.com/podcast/220. It’s the end of the year and I do wanna add my season’s greetings to those of who are celebrating at the moment and those of you who are listening in the New Year. I hope it’s been a good year for you.
We are moving now into a bit of a series of podcasts where you’re going to hear some other voices. I’m gonna introduce them but as I said in last week’s podcast, we wanted to hear some of your stories and we’ve had some amazing stories submitted. I’m really looking forward to introducing them to you in the coming weeks over at the end of the year and as we move into next year where we’re gonna start a series of content on starting a blog. I really am looking forward to that.
Those of you who haven’t started a blog yet, this is gonna be a great time for you. Those of you who wanna start a second blog, this is a great time for you to do that as well because we’re gonna give you some great content that’s gonna help you to do that, it’s free. We’re also going to help to celebrate some of those new blogs that have started. Make January a time of starting a new blog. I look forward to introducing that whole concept to you more next week on the ProBlogger podcast.
If you are looking for something else to listen to, I do recommend you go back and listen to Episode 68, 69, and 70. 68 and 69 are about how to get more subscribers for that email list that we’ve just been talking about and Episode 70 was all about auto responders. You should be able to find them all over in iTunes where I hope you’re all subscribed and have left some nice reviews for us or over on the show notes areas at problogger.com/podcast and then you just put the number, 68 or 69 or 70. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week.
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The post 220: What You Should Include in Your Email Newsletters appeared first on ProBlogger.
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