Business from home

How To Start An Email Newsletter
Date: Sunday, January 29 @ 21:55:16
Topic E-mail Marketing

You regularly send out relevant and anticipated email newsletters to your
ever-growing list. You have a form on your website that asks people to sign up
for your email newsletter. When someone signs up, they give you their name and
email address and they receive a few automatic and customized emails that you
previously crafted while they wait for their first newsletter edition.

How To Start An Email Newsletter

Author: Jason OConnor

Here are the goals:

You regularly send out relevant and anticipated email newsletters to your
ever-growing list. You have a form on your website that asks people to sign up
for your email newsletter. When someone signs up, they give you their name and
email address and they receive a few automatic and customized emails that you
previously crafted while they wait for their first newsletter edition. You have
a database that stores each person's email address and you have a way to send
out regular emails to them all, including beautiful HTML newsletters (e-zines).
You watch the list grow over time and watch readers turn into customers.

Here are the benefits:

You are continually building a list of loyal readers that grows over time
Your readers spread the word that your organization is helpful, knowledgeable
and experienced.
Your readers are regularly reminded of your organization's continued
existence, growth and relevance.
Some loyal readers will turn into loyal paying customers.
You learn more about your customers and site visitors by asking them to
communicate with you through the newsletter.
You generate a new income stream by selling advertisement space
You'll have a regular source of fresh and original content to add to your
website which will help search engine rankings.

There are two distinct, but equally important aspects of starting an email
newsletter that need to be addressed for you to accomplish the goals and gain
the benefits listed above. First, you need the infrastructure and functionality
to make all this happen, such as a database, an HTML form, a method for sending
out emails in quantity and so forth. Second, you need the content that will be
in each newsletter. This article will explain how to do both.

The Needed Infrastructure & Functionality for an Email Newsletter

Does getting the infrastructure sound difficult? Does it sound like you have to
know a lot about programming? Neither is true. This wheel doesn't need to be

There are a number of websites that offer paid services that provide the entire
infrastructure for you. The cost is a fraction of the cost of developing the
infrastructure yourself. Two good examples of this type of service are Constant
Contact and Aweber. I prefer Aweber and find its interface intuitive and easy to
use. I use Aweber for our company email newsletter and suggest it to all our

Using a browser I can log into my Aweber account and create text or HTML email
auto-responder messages for people to receive when they visit our site or sign
up for our e-zine. I can create a simple HTML form that asks for people's name
and email as well. In fact, the html code for the form is created for me and all
I have to do is cut and paste it into my site. No programming needed.

Each person's information is stored in a database on Aweber's servers. I can
manage my leads list in my browser and sort by different ways. It also allows me
to see how many of my auto-responders have been sent already. And every email
that we send out has a personalized first name greeting.

There is a place in Aweber where I can manage my messages, whether they are
regular emails to part of the list or a newsletter that's sent to the entire
list. And there is a place where I can enter my messages, edit them, check to
see if they will trip any sp@m filters, I can test the messages by sending them
to my own email address first, and finally I can send them all out at once with
one simple click.

The Needed Quality Content for an Email Newsletter

Its not good enough to just have the infrastructure and functionality. You need
content that makes people want to accept and read your newsletters over and over

Your newsletter ought to be related to your website and organization. Every
person and organization has valuable and unique knowledge and experience to
offer others. And you'd be surprised at how many people want your unique
knowledge. Sharing this knowledge and experience with your existing and
potential customers is what the Web is all about. People use the Web for getting
information. So make your newsletters about various aspects of your business or
organization, and make them educational, so that your readers come away with
more useful information than they had before.

So if you're a Web design firm, write about Web design in your newsletters. If
you're a small local bookstore, write about how to become an author, or how to
start a local bookstore. If you're a financial advisor, write about how people
can make sound investments. If you're a furniture builder and seller, write
about how to fix up old pieces of furniture on your own.

Newsletters that are just extended advertisements don't cut it. If your
newsletter only has announcements of new or improved products or services, or
specials that you're running, then you're missing the boat completely. There is
so much more you can offer.

Creating newsletters that contain useful, relevant and anticipated information
for your readers is what to aspire to. You want to give away ideas and concepts
for free that can be used to help improve some aspect of your reader's lives.
You obviously dont want to give away the whole farm since a lot of your
expertise is what you charge for in the first place. But giving some information
away for free is a win-win.

Most often, your readers don't care about you or your company or your specific
products or deals, they only care about what you can do for them. If they take
the time to open your email newsletter and read it, it better provide them with
some real value or they won't bother again and your list will not grow, but
eventually wither away into oblivion.

In return for providing useful, original content, you develop a constantly
growing list of loyal readers who will spread the word that you are an authority
in your field. Your readers may eventually buy from you if they haven't already.
And you can use your list to occasionally sell your products or services, but do
this very sparingly. You can use the newsletter for selling advertisement space,
but again, use sparingly. Finally, you can use your list to learn more about
your customers and site visitors. You can ask the people on your list to fill
out an online survey, but be sure to offer them an incentive for their time.

If you don't know any programming or HTML but want to send out a regular
newsletter, you can use Aweber to create text-only messages. If you want to send
out professional HTML email newsletters, then either learn HTML and design
(which is obviously time-consuming, but certainly possible), or hire a Web firm
to do it for you. I would also suggest hiring a firm to help you with writing
the content as well if youre not comfortable with writing.

But as you can see, you don't need much to get an email newsletter going. If you
can regularly create quality content, just sign up for an online service like
Aweber and away you go. An internal customer email list is a very valuable asset
for any organization. Handle it with loving care. Never sell or rent your list
to anyone, try to offer value in your writing, and don't overuse it as an
advertisement medium.

Good luck and happy e-zining!

Jason OConnor is president of Oak Web Works, LLC, a full-service Web
firm. He also runs Get Your Tickets


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