Not long ago, I confessed I had a newsletter and didn’t have a clue how to use it effectively. I had finished listening to the Joanna Penn broadcast with Tammi Labrecque, the Newsletter Ninja herself, and learned a ton just during the interview–so of course I bought her book. The good thing is, I was also participating in a Ryan Zee BookSweeps campaign at the time to gain more readers. That campaign ended recently, and now I have a brand new list of names–a whole host of potential friends to appeal to, and at least this time, I’ll have a better idea how to start.
But first things first. I have to deal with my current subscriber list.
The Newsletter Subscriber Ax
Before the BookSweeps campaign ended, I needed to send out a letter to my current subscribers, so I took some advice from Tammi and whacked a whole lot of those subscribers off my list.
I bet that woke you up! After working so hard to build the list, why would you shorten it?
Here’s the thing: MailChimp, and probably other newsletter hosts, allows you to see who opens your newsletter and who doesn’t bother. I can even see who clicks on the links and which links get the most attention. And that’s the what you want: subscribers who at least open and presumably read your news. The ones who click are solid gold, and those who buy are platinum! (You can tell you’ve made sales through your distributor’s websites and compare the sales to the date on your newsletter, but you can’t tell with any certainty who the buyers were.)
Admittedly, MailChimp is pretty generous in how many subscribers you can have before you have to start paying for their service, but why pay for subscribers who aren’t reading your letter? They’re a drag on your “open” stats and a possible danger to your meager marketing budget. So, ax ’em.
I cut mine in half, so that when I sent out my newest edition, the “open” rate skyrocketed. And there was nothing shameful about my click-rate either. Makes sense, though, right? The list contains only those who generally open the newsletter anyway. There is a chance that I’ll cut more out, but I want to give them time to see if they just missed my last newsletter. It’s like I’m starting just beyond a clean slate, keeping only those who I’ve managed to truly connect with.
Entirely Different Newsletter Content
One of the things Tammi suggests is that we allow ourselves to get personal with our subscribers. And the reasoning is obvious: our newsletter isn’t to be simply a vehicle to sell our books–it is to be a smiling welcome for new friends and a warm hug for established ones. In other words, we are to build up a fan list, and fans like to feel part of an inner circle.
So, in my last newsletter, I opened up and let my readers see some things that are going on in my personal life. Fortunately, this year promises to be jam-packed with hectic activity, so at least for 2019, I’ll have something to write about on a regular basis.
The results were that not only did my open- and click-rates go up, so did the personal responses. I started getting emails from friends and fans, complete with well wishes, offers of congrats, and pronouncements of prayer for me. Not only did my inbox begin to fill, readers contacted me in other ways. When my newsletter goes out, it sends an ad to my Facebook fan page and my Twitter account. I’m amazed how many comments I received through those.
So, this feels promising. I’m actually excited about my newsletter now. But I still have to address those who joined through the BookSweeps campaign.
I’m in the chapters of Newsletter Ninja that explain how to effectively bring new subscribers into the fold of trusted friends and fans. I already have tons of ideas, based on the information in Tammi’s book, and I’ll let you know how everything turns out as soon as I know myself.
But one of the things I know for certain and can share now: I’ll lose readers from that group. They signed up, not to get to know me, but to win the prize offered in the campaign, so it’s up to me to bring them on-board. I’m not going to win everyone, and certainly don’t expect to. There are readers who are willing to give new or new-to-them authors a chance to wow them, so I’m going to jump at that chance. If they’re not wowed, that’s fine. But I bet a nice percentage of them will be, and that’s all I want.
Another Shameless Plug:
If you want a front-row seat to watch my experiment with this, sign up for Coffee with Linda and receive the first, freshly designed newsletter in the on-boarding process.