Newsletters are probably the #1 most profitable sales medium for internet marketers. Why? Because, assuming you have a good list, you will have the most targeted product hungry buyers anywhere. There are many thing you have to know and do well before you can actually start selling to a list. Most notably you actually have to have a list. Not always easy. So lets get started on teaching you the basics of newsletters!
First and foremost, you have to know what exactly a newsletter is. From Wikipedia:
A newsletter is a regularly distributed publication generally about one main topic that is of interest to its subscribers. Newspapers and leaflets are types of newsletters. Additionally, newsletters delivered electronically via email (e-Newsletters) have gained rapid acceptance for the same reasons email in general is gaining popularity over printed correspondence.
So for all intensive purposes, a newsletter (for us Internet Marketers) is a glorified e-mail. The typical newsletter is actually plain text. Though many companies opt to include HTML and images in their newsletter to ‘spice it up'. If you don't want to, there is absolutely no need to. Most of the top internet marketers use plain text only newsletters. Why? Because it's MUCH simpler to write and setup. It really is that simple, you write up your newsletter (or e-mail, whatever you wanna call it) then click send on your newsletter software or service. Easy as pie, no?
“But what do I actually put in a newsletter?”, you ask. Anything you want. Most marketers include updates to their site and project(s). One extremely popular use is sales! This can go any number of ways, but a lot of newsletters are ‘reviews' for affiliate products. That way, all you need is a targeted list and no product of your own. Then poof! You can make a extremely nice profit from affiliate sales. Of course you can also promote your own product.
Though here are some of the best tips I've picked up from my time on the internet about newsletters:
- Use plain text. It's simpler and smaller. Easier for readers to handle.
- One e-mail/newsletter one topic. NO MORE! If you want to talk about 5 things, then send 5 e-mails. The most effective newsletters (as far as I know) follow the K.I.S.S. principle.
- If you are promoting a product, include THREE (3) links in the e-mail. One near the top, one in the middle and one at the bottom!
- Always set a e-mail rate. Let your readers know how many times you are going to e-mail them a week. This leaves no surprises and they will know exactly what they are getting. Happy reader means your wallet is happy as well.
- Stick to your mentioned rate. If you said you will e-mail the people once a week, then mail them ONLY once a week. 3/wk? then 3 it is. Ect, you get the idea. Don't mail them too often or too little. Readers have VERY little patience.
Keep those in mind and you'll be off to a very good start! Also, don't forget to check up on your list. See if anything went wrong with the mailings or whatnot. It's like a car: maintain it and she'll give you a great ride.
Getting people to sign up for your newsletter is a bit trickier. There are many ways to do this, so I'll leave that up to another article. For now, one of the most effective strategies I can recommend is to use a squeeze page. A squeeze page is a page that forces a person to sign up before they can get to your content. If you don't know what one looks like, click this link. That is a squeeze page. Some are better some are worse. It doesn't have to be that extravagant. Only good enough to catch people.
One of the most important aspects of a newsletter is the software that manages it. In a previous post (WordPress + PHPList) I recommend a 100% free newsletter solution, though it had some major faults. One being the management software was extremely ugly and hard to use. Also it lacked documentation. Though on a plus side, if you like digging around in code this is perfect because PHPlist + wordpress gives you the greatest amount of flexibility of any newsletter solution!
Though I highly recommend you use Aweber! They are (probably) the leading e-mail newsletter service around! I also plan to give a whole review for you to read about them soon, so stay tuned for that. But in the meantime, believe me when I say they are the best. So why should you use a payed service (any service really) instead of a free one like PHPlist? Well, the paid services handle all the nasty back end stuff for you. So all you have to do is put up a little widget box (like I have in the top right. Please subscribe by the way 🙂 ) and write the e-mails.
Don't think of having a service as an expense, think of it as out sourcing. Which is key for any internet marketer. They do the heavy lifting and you float towards profits.
If you are interesting in trying out Aweber for free, check the link on the side of this article. Sign up free and it's all yours to drive around for a while. Kinda like test driving a BMW for a few days (which, by the way, is VERY fun. If you haven't test driven a luxury car for a few days I really recommend you do. It's EXTREMELY fun. Very fun looks you get from friends!)
So now you have a squeeze page, stuck a aweber (or other) sign up widget on it. Now what? Well, you'll have to do a few things to finish everything up. You'll need a confirmation e-mail on your newsletter, which basically says something like “Thanks for signing up, please click your special link in-order to confirm your e-mail address. If you don't we can't send you updates!”. You also really should create a 1st follow up e-mail. This e-mail/newsletter will be your first sales pitch to the reader. Or if you don't want to toss a curve ball yet, simple tell them thanks again and give them their opt-in bribe.
OH! Which brings me to a very good point: You should really use opt-in bribes! These are small things, like a ‘free report', to ‘bribe' people to sign up for your list. It's a little extra incentive for them to sign up. So, after you have a) your website b) optin form c) bribe d) follow up e-mail … you should now create several automatic follow up e-mails several days apart.
These might be more sales pitches or just more information. Something like this really shows your readers that you care. And that's really important to them.
Now all that's left is to drive traffic to your newsletter. That is also another big article and topic so I'll leave that for another time.
Good luck and happy e-mailing!