Keep in mind just because you publish something online, doesn’t mean it will be seen. Having an email newsletter is an excellent way to build and serve your community.
Social media is a great place to share your blog posts, but there are problems. Algorithms are changing the landscape of social media constantly. Your loyal followers may end up not seeing all your updates.
It’s a good idea to have some sort of option available for readers who would like to receive an email when you publish new blog posts.
The truth is email is still one of the best ways to connect with your readers. If you’re not using it, you really are missing out. Connect with your readers and let’s get this misconception out of the way.
Some steps to create your email newsletter:
- Create An Email Campaign
- Design Your Email
You might think of an email newsletter as a weekly content-rich email complete with feature article, links to your recent blog posts, and maybe a round-up of what’s been going on in your niche. This is just one example, and there are plenty of other ways you can run an email list.
Some people send out their newsletter once a month. Others may email irregularly – an email every few days in the run-up to a launch, but otherwise only every month or two.
You might decide to send out your blog posts by email. Whatever you decide, here are a couple of suggestions:
- Email at a frequency that suits you and your readers.
If they want a weekly newsletter, and you can comfortably manage that, then go ahead. But if you can only manage one a month, then make it a monthly newsletter. There’s no point sending one a weekly newsletter that’s full of careless mistakes because you had to rush to get it finished on time.
- Whatever sort of email list you run, make sure your emails aren’t too infrequent.
If you don’t send an email for six months, many readers (especially ones who’ve just joined) will forget who you are. They may even mark your emails as spam, which can have a serious impact on them being delivered.
Before you begin, it pays to take a bit of time to consider your plan.
Here are 5 key questions to consider.
What is your goal?
Creating an ongoing email newsletter can take a little work but there are rewards. Consider why you want to build your following and community through a regular newsletter.
This isn’t information you need to make public but it’s good to keep in mind.
- Perhaps you want to network and enjoy future career opportunities (a new job, promotion, or speaking engagement?).
- Maybe you want to form a strong relationship with the parents of the students you teach. We know how powerful that is.
- Perhaps you want to build your PLN so you can learn from and with other educators across the globe.
This goal is probably related to the reason you set up a blog in the first place.
Which email marketing platform will you use?
Mailchimp is free until you have over 2000 subscribers and it’s one of the most popular platforms out there. It is also easy to use (drag and drop).
How will you collect email addresses?
Obviously, you have to do this legally. You can’t just start emailing people without their permission.
When you set up an account with a platform like Mailchimp, you’ll have access to a URL with your sign-up form. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to know about your newsletter and how they can opt in.
Here are some key places to consider sharing your sign-up form:
- On your blog (on the sidebar, on your About page, and/or at the bottom of your blog posts). Some people also like to have pop-up notifications.
- In social media posts or in your bio
- As a link under your email signature
- Email the link to your sign-up form to your contacts who might be interested
What will you include in your emails?
The main thing you probably want to include is your latest blog post(s). Some people copy and paste the whole blog post into an email, but a more popular approach is to summarise it and include a link for subscribers to keep reading.
Some people also like to include other information in their newsletters such as:
- Other great posts you’ve read
- Online tools you’ve come across
- Podcasts or videos you’ve enjoyed
- Classroom or personal anecdotes
- Pep talks or inspirational quotes
Your content could basically be anything you think might be of value to your readers. Are you aiming to educate, entertain, inspire? Perhaps a mix of all three?
It pays to consider the needs of your audience and stick to the topic(s) you’re known for and know a lot about.
Also, consider whether you want an image-heavy email or a simple plain text newsletter? There are pros and cons but simple does work for some people.
How frequently will your emails be sent out?
You don’t have to tell people how often you’ll be sending out emails, but it can be a good way to stay committed to your blogging goals.
For example, if you say you’ll be sharing a new email every two weeks or every month, you’ll have the incentive to do it! Your readers will be waiting to hear from you.
Why emailing your readers is so important?
Some bloggers – especially newer bloggers – find it hard to see why emailing readers is so important. To them, bringing in traffic through good SEO or building their social media following makes more sense.
Here are six reasons why email is still important.
- Emails give you control over your traffic.
With a big email list, you can easily drive lots of traffic to your posts simply by sending out an email. If you’re relying on Google, you’re competing against lots of other blogs. And if Google decides to change its search algorithm you could lose a lot of traffic very quickly.
Social media isn’t much better. You probably already know that only a fraction of your Facebook page’s followers will actually see any given post. To reach lots of people you need to either “boost” your post” (which costs money) or run a paid ad.
With email you have full control. Even though they can get caught in people’s spam filters, most of them will get through. And even if only 25% of your subscribers open their emails (which isn’t a terrible open rate), they can still drive a lot of traffic to your blog.
- Emails are a great way to build relationships and engage with your readers.
Emails feel personal in a way that blog posts rarely achieve. They’re also private. Your readers can reply to you, and you alone – a far cry from a comment that everyone can see.
When you write your newsletters, try adding a bit of personal information that you wouldn’t share on your blog. Emails are more ephemeral, so they’re a great place to drop in a few words about your life and what’s happening around you. (You can talk about those things on your blog, but the post could be found and read years later.)
Engagement goes both ways, and you can encourage readers to email back. You may find some readers who’ve never commented on your blog, but are very happy to engage with you by email.
- Email drives sales of your products and services.
While social media can be a great place for conversations, it’s typically not a good place for sales. It may help people find out about your blog and connect with you, but email is a great place to ask for the sale.
The cost of an email list can be a bit off-putting when you’re starting out. But the power of email to drive sales should make it far more worthwhile.
- Emails help you point your readers to where you want them to go.
Email is a brilliant way to direct readers to where you want them to go. For instance, you can:
- Link to your blog posts. Not just the recent ones, but also posts in your archive readers may have missed or forgotten about.
- Link to your Facebook group, Twitter account, etc. If you’ve set up a new Facebook group your readers might be interested in, you can promote it in your newsletter.
- Link to a survey or poll. This can be a great opportunity to find out more about your readers. Ask them what sort of content they like to see. It’s an invaluable way to find out what readers want.
- Email lists let you target different groups of readers.
With an email list you can ‘segment’ the list into smaller groups.
For instance, you might create segments for:
- People who aren’t subscribed to another list you have. This can help you avoid sending too many promotional messages to the same people (e.g. those who have signed up for both your “newsletter” list and your ‘waiting list’ for an ecourse.)
- People who joined your list at a specific point in time – within the past month, more than a year ago, and so on.
- People who joined from a specific page on your website. If you’re using social media ads or guest posting to drive sign-ups, you can target your messages or promotions to each segment’s interests.
- People who haven’t opened your emails recently (or at all).
- People who’ve looked at specific pages on your site, or who’ve bought a particular product.
- Email can lead readers on a journey.
You can design a series of emails to take readers on a journey, whether it’s teaching them something new or helping them come to a better place in their life.
It could be something quite straightforward and practical, such as teaching them how to play basic chords on the guitar. Or it could be something more personal and in-depth, such as teaching mindfulness and meditation.
You can use auto responders to send a sequence of emails – say, one every few days for two weeks.
Most bloggers use an auto responder at the start of their relationship with a new reader (i.e. when the reader first signs up). But you can also create different lists that readers can opt into separately.
It can be a great way to get readers used to opening your emails (they won’t want to miss a step on the journey), and to link to your blog posts or even paid products and services where appropriate. For example, you could “upsell” the reader on a related ecourse or product at the end of the series.
If you haven’t set up a newsletter yet, or you never saw the value of having one, I hope this post has been helpful. If you already have a newsletter list, but haven’t sent anything in a while, I hope you now understand how worthwhile emailing your readers can be.
I know it can be easy to focus on a blog at the expense of your newsletter. A blog is more visible and public, which can make posting there more motivating. But your newsletter may be the key to driving greater engagement and, ultimately, more sales.
It’s a great idea to offer readers a chance to be notified of new blog posts via email. However, you might find your emails are better received if they’re more personalised. You’ll need to invest a little time into the process, but the rewards might be even greater!
You could also write a monthly summary email. Find out what works for you and enjoy the benefits of building a community around your blog.
Any tips or questions? Leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!