Tips to get started with a online newsletter

In my last post, I raved about how you can get so much marketing mileage out of a newsletter. Having written and published more than 40 consecutive issues of Fresh Ideas, our monthly newsletter on family-friendly healthy eating, I thought I would share a few tips on getting started.

Use an online service: We use Constant Contact. They provide tools for everything – email address management, newsletter templates, step by step instructions and more. The best way to get started is to set up an account; it is FREE for under 50 email addresses.

Pick a broad topic and own it: Select a topic that will interest your customers and prospects, and here is a key – pick a subject that is broad, so you’ll have a steady stream of stuff to write about. For example, in Fresh Ideas we profile a healthy food each month with facts, nutrition, recipes, and more. Each month we simply pick a food and get started.

Learn the lingo: Click-throughs, open rates, opt-in, mumbo-jumbo? Even if you are not technical, there are few key phrases that will help learn how your newsletter is performing. Knowing these performance metrics enables you to fine tune the format and content of your newsletter for best results.

Stick to a publishing schedule:
Don’t announce a weekly newsletter is if you don’t have the time to write it. Consider how much time you can devote and set your publishing schedule based on reality. It takes about 8-10 hours per month for us to write and publish Fresh Ideas.

Spread the word – to build your subscriber list: Add a “Join Now!” or subscriber box to your web site, but don’t stop there. Add a cal to action in your e-mail signature – mine says “Sign up for Fresh Ideas today”, include the newsletter in the “about your company” section of press releases, have a sign-up sheet at trade show. Find any opportunity to tell your potential customers about it.

Be patient – grow your list organically: I don’t recommend buying e-mail lists. In fact, a service like Constant Contact will not allow you to use their service to send to a “purchased opt-in list. They consider it Spam. Be respectful of people’s privacy – it is good net-iquette.

Once I finish publishing this post, I’m off to write the May issue of Fresh Ideas. Our targeted publishing date is May 7th and the subject is Tofu. Please feel free to visit our Fresh Ideas Archive (and subscribe). Have a great day!

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