Newsletters are one of the most effective ways to stay “top of mind” with clients and prospects. Below is the 13-Step Process to launch an e-newsletter and maintain consistency.
If you’ve toyed with the idea of launching a newsletter, you may have put it on hold once you realized all the steps required to start one … along with the potential stress of having to publish content regularly.
I get it.
But the secret to launching a newsletter— and publishing consistently — is to have a rock solid process you can follow, month after month, week after week.
Here is the 13-step newsletter launch process that I recommend for every business that I work with.
An email newsletter is a relationship-building tool.
And building relationships takes time.
So commit to publishing your newsletter for at least one year.
Write down your newsletter launch date, the frequency of publication and duration of the commitment.
Specify how you’ll reward yourself when you meet this commitment.
- Make a note of the questions prospects and clients tend to ask you
If you think about it, I bet you get the same 10-15 questions from prospects and clients regularly.
These questions is a great place to start when planning your content.
Make a list of about 20 frequently asked questions, and write down a few bullet points that describe your answer below each one.
You can create this list in a notebook, on your office whiteboard, in a Word doc, on Post-It notes, or whatever works best for you.
You don’t have to explore these questions in depth.
It’s much better to give your audience a nugget or two in each issue than to try to cover the entire topic at length.
- Write three starter articles based on these questions
Your newsletter doesn’t have to be lengthy.
All things being equal, shorter is better.
Write what you need to write to give your readers something they’ll want to read.
My standard approach is to start the newsletter with a greeting to make a human connection.
Then follows that with one story-based article that delivers an insight. Then I may then add a few ancillary things.
Newsletters with multiple articles on multiple subjects can be daunting to produce and read. So generally speaking, shorter is better and go deep on one subject matter rather than bounce all over the board.
- Research and decide on an email service provider
You’ll need to engage the services of an email service provider such as MailerLite, Constant Contact, MailChimp or one of the dozen or so email providers that are available today.
Email service providers give you the following benefits:
1. Customizable templates. These templates won’t turn you into a great designer, but they’re good enough to get you started. Most vendors have a few dozens to choose from.
2. List management. Add new subscribers and manage unsubscribe requests.
3. Data and reports. Get information about your mailings, such as the number of opens, clicks, etc.
4. Compliance support. While not foolproof, these services help make sure you’re compliant with standard regulations and aid to help you so that your e-newsletters does not end up in spam email boxes.
Most email service providers are inexpensive to use. And MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers.
- Set up your newsletter template and opt-in box
Designing your own template (or modifying an existing one) can look amateurish if it doesn’t match the colors or design of your website.
So sometimes it’s worth investing in having a designer create a custom design for you.
But if having a professionally designed template is going to hold you back, then just pick the best ready-made template from your email service provider. You can always update and improve it later.
Your email service provider will also give you the code you’ll need to drop into your website to create an opt-in (subscription) form.
If you’re not sure how to do this, look for a video tutorial on the topic. Most email service providers provide detailed tutorials on every aspect of setting up your newsletter infrastructure.
- Ask personal and professional contacts to subscribe to your e-newsletter
You can’t just add people to your list at random.
You need to have a relationship.
And even when you have an existing relationship, it’s always a good practice to get their permission to add their email to your mailing list.
- Publish your first issue
Once you have everything ready, it’s time to hit the “Publish” button!
Two quick tips about this…
First, you’ll never feel 100 percent ready to publish.
Putting your work out there can feel scary. But at some point, you just have to “ship.”
Second, include a quick note at the top of your newsletter reminding your readers that they’re on your list because you have a relationship with them.
Many WILL unsubscribe when they receive that first newsletter. And that’s OK.
All subscriber lists have a natural rate of “decay.” A certain percentage of people will unsubscribe over time, which is not a bad thing.
As people unsubscribe from your e-newsletter, you are cleaning up your email list to highly motivated readers and potential customers.
You want to keep adding new subscribers.
When you meet people, ask if you can put them on your list, and briefly explain the benefits.
Remember, it’s not a numbers game. It’s about list quality.
You want people who care about you or your content.
Eventually, you might want to add other elements that will help grow your list, such as a lead magnet.
- Upload the newsletter article to your blog
A few weeks after publishing a e-newsletter article, upload the same articles to your blog.
Having the content on your blog as well as in your newsletter is a good practice.
People can see what you’ve written before, and Google likes the content updates because it’s a sign that your website is not static.
- Promote article on social media
Get more eyeballs on your content by sharing links to it on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
- Publish on LinkedIn Pulse
LinkedIn Pulse gives you yet another platform for publishing your content and getting it in front of more people who wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.
But wait about two weeks after you put your content on your blog to make sure that Google indexes the article on your site first.
- Find other uses for the article
Repurpose the same content into other formats and uses, such as a guest post for another site, a presentation or a video. You can also turn a series of related articles into an e-book.
Ultimately, your goal is to write once, publish many times. Use your newsletter as the base for a broader content marketing effort.
- Write additional articles
You always want to stay two or three articles ahead of publication.
So once you’ve published your newsletter, go back to your growing list of article ideas and select another topic to write about.
- Repeat this process every two weeks
If you want to be viewed as an expert, you have to create content.
So you have to start. And then you have to repeat the process.
You may not do it perfectly at the beginning. But you’ll improve as you go. The key to keep writing new content and building your audience.
Are you interested to learn more about how Outsell Digital can help you with your e-newsletter and turn your CRM into a profit making machine? Feel free to review out e-newsletter options and case study.