Discover the reasons why you should send newsletters … and how you can monetize them!
I sent my first newsletter in the ’90s when I worked for AOL. That was back in the Internet Dark Ages and newsletters were totally a thing. So when I heard that bloggers were still sending out newsletters these days, I was really surprised. Why would we want to e-mail newsletters in the age of social media and video? But the blog course I was taking, Elite Blog Academy, told me I should — so I did. Week after week I dutifully mailed my newsletters. Then one day something happened and I totally GOT IT. I understood WHY we send out newsletters and why it is SO powerful.
So let me tell you what happened that day. I’d been sending out my newsletters for a few months at this point. I will admit I wasn’t managing to send one out every week, but I was trying hard and doing pretty good at it. I was on Facebook and happened to hear about Amazon Prime Day. At first I shrugged it off, then I thought… would my readers like knowing about Prime Day? There were a number of good deals on things my readers would like.
I decided to go for it. Knowing that I couldn’t put Amazon links in an email per their terms of service, I created a blog post about the cool deals I saw coming up for Prime Day. Then I composed a simple letter about the great deals in general and linked to my blog post. It was short and sweet.
I will admit I was nervous. Would my readers hate me? Would they all unsubscribe?
But nothing bad happened. I’m sure some people unsubscribed, sure, but quite a few opened it (33%), clicked it (13%), and visited my blog post and subsequently Amazon. By the end of the day, my little letter had made me over $1000 in Amazon affiliate revenue.
And not only did I earn money, but I had a number of my readers write to me to thank me for alerting them to these deals. They found my email timely and valuable. I had connected with my readers!
I was flabbergasted that this was even possible. Up to this point, my blog was making under $1000 a month (well under!). So to make over $1000 in a day was HUGE for me.
I realized that this was only possible because of those newsletters I’d been sending all along.
One of the simplest and most compelling reasons to send a regular newsletter is to keep your name in front of your readers. Many readers will visit your web site once, get your freebie, and not come back again unless they stumble across you, thus never really learning who you are. Research shows that people need to read or hear about something more than seven times to really notice and take action. This is known as the Rule of 7. Having your name appear in their mailbox is powerful. Get your name out there and start building that recognition. I really feel you are more likely to get clicked on in social media and search engines if your name (your brand) is recognizable.
A good newsletter can help your readers come to know and trust you. When you share interesting, personal, and valuable information through your newsletter, you build a relationship with your readers. This relationship is important because when you are ready to launch a product or share a good affiliate product, your readers are more likely to resonate with and trust your message, are more likely to click through, and more likely to make a purchase. The more regularly you communicate with your readers, the stronger you make the bond and trust.
When you pack your newsletters full of things you readers really want, they’ll love you for it. They’ll open your newsletters more frequently and act upon your words more often. And when your open rate goes up, you’re less likely to be labelled as spam and more likely to connect with your readers. I love to give lots of value in my newsletters! It’s a total win-win.
The more you connect with your readers through regular newsletters, the more often you are to get feedback that can give you direction for your blog and business. I try to ask my readers a question in every newsletter and encourage them to answer me. The information I get back is amazingly helpful. Plus every time a reader replies to your email, they are that more likely to actually receive your email in the future (instead of have it to go their spam folder).
I am not a machine and I sometimes get stuck on creating blog posts. But knowing I have a newsletter to send out every week, rain or shine, is a huge motivator to get content up and out there for my readers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written a post just so I could mention it in my weekly newsletter. This works really well for me and guarantees I will keep creating awesome content I know my readers truly want, because I am making it for them each week.
If you struggle with getting people to visit your new blog posts, a nurtured mailing list will click on your links in your newsletters and send traffic your way. At this point in my blog (300k pageviews a month), my newsletter days are also my highest traffic days because of these clickthroughs.
Each newsletter I send out has a short section with things I think are great deals my readers might enjoy. Each of these deals is an affiliate link (through those programs that allow emails links). As a result, I get affiliate sales with every newsletter I send out. In a recent newsletter, I earned over $800 simply by including a relevant affiliate link to a product my audience wanted.
When you’re ready to launch a product, having a well-nurtured list will make ALL the difference between success and failure. My first product launch was sent only to my mailing list and resulted in over $12k in sales. The second time I launched to my mailing list I earned over $35k. (Read about how I monetized my list with these launches here.) All within 1.5 years of starting my blog. Without this list of people who knew and trusted me, I would not have had the success I did.
These days, I pay a great deal of attention to my newsletters and craft each one lovingly. It’s not uncommon for me to spend more time writing my newsletter than writing a blog post. There are readers who mostly know me through my emails and may not visit my blog so much anymore, and that’s totally okay. Those same readers may still give me valuable ideas, affiliate revenue, and product sales.
I’ve experimented with different formats of newsletters and the one I keep coming back to looks something like this:
A. Personal story that relates to my readers’ interests and situations
B. Solution to a problem I think my readers might have (often this is discussion of link to a tutorial)
C. Question and/or weekly challenge for my readers
D. Links to recent and/or relevant content on my site
E. The latest deals relevant to my readers (my affiliate link section)
F. News or mentions of my products (a brief product section)
I like having a structure like this because it helps me create my newsletters, ensures I cover the important points, and helps my readers know what to expect each week.
It’s important to note that even though I have structure, I keep my newsletter simple. I use text only (rich text) without any fancy formatting. I typically include just one image. This helps my deliverability, and I also feel it helps my readers connect better with me, because my newsletters look like an email their best friend might send them and not one from a big company.
Here is an example of one of my weekly newsletters: DIY Paper Gazebo. This newsletter had a 32.7% open rate, 6.2% click rate, and a .0035% unsubscribe rate. I received 59 email responses to my letter, which I loved!
Have I convinced you of the importance of newsletters? I hope so! I challenge you to send out a weekly newsletter starting THIS week, regardless of whether you have 1 or 1000 people on your mailing list. It will help you in so many ways.
I actually send out TWO newsletters these days — one to my crafters and one to my blogger friends. My blogging newsletter is filled with blogging tips (for both new and experienced bloggers), inspiration, motivation, and anything else I think might help you find success as a blogger. You can sign up through the form below!
If you want to learn more about building and nurturing a mailing list, I offer a list-building course called LIST LOVE. This course reveals the exact method for how I got from 0-10,000 subscribers in six months on a new blog. (I’m now at nearly 50k subscribers!)
I hope you found this story and tips helpful! Feel free to ask me any questions here or via email at [email protected]