Friday, November 28, 2008

How to Create Newsletters that Build Massive Subscriber Lists

How to Create Newsletters that Build Massive Subscriber Lists
Copyright © 2008 Paul Smithson
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Building a list is relatively easy, but building a quality list that people will eagerly subscribe to, and stay subscribed to, is something different. In order to keep your subscribers, you need to develop a newsletter or mailing format that offers readers real content and real value.

If your newsletter is something people would pay to receive, then they're sure to stick around for a while. They'll also be much more receptive to buying anything you recommend, and they'll even be willing to refer more subscribers to you.

It's vital that you give your subscribers quality content. So many people just blast out ad after ad to their list, with absolutely no regard for what their readers want. They don't have their readers' best interests at heart. This is not a wise path to tread as you will slowly kill your list both in terms of the number of subscribers and the overall responsiveness.

In order to make sure your newsletter is actually read, you need to provide quality content on a regular basis. This means sending out a newsletter fairly often - at least once a month.

The more often you provide great content, the more your name will stick in the minds of your readers. Once people realize the quality of the content you send, they'll start opening your emails more often. Of course, if you send messages out too often, people will unsubscribe. It's recommended that you not send out more than three to five messages per week, and that is an absolute maximum. Depending on the topic you are mailing about you could find that even three to five mailings a month is too much.

Of course, there are always exceptions. If you are offering a daily business newsletter then you would obviously have to mail daily, but anyone subscribing to a daily newsletter would expect to be receiving it each day and so wouldn't be annoyed and such a regular mailing schedule.

So, once you've got people to join your list how do you keep them interested so that you maximize the chance of your mails being opened and read, whilst at the same time minimizing the number of people who unsubscribe?

There's one technique that has been used incredibly effectively by many of the leading online marketers and that is ...

Get personal!

Build rapport with your readers by providing them with personal information and anecdotes. The more your readers feel like they know you personally, the more they'll trust your opinions, and the more likely they will be to respond to your offerings and recommendations.

But getting personal is much more than just telling them about what's happening in your life - much, much more. Although adding a personal touch to your mailings is a good thing, the truth is that unless you're a famous actor or rock star the chances are that your readers are much more interested in the meat of your newsletter. They might get a chuckle out of hearing about your latest funny encounter on the subway, but that isn't what they subscribed for. So, whenever you give them a personal story, try tying it in with some related content.

Nearly every story can be worded in such a way that it has a hook that relates to your subject in some way. Get creative! By tying in personal anecdotes to your content, you'll build a base of readers that not only love your content, but really like you.

When you're going to send an ad out to your list, you should consider offering some truly exceptional content that is related to the product. If you're promoting a product about using AdWords, why not provide your readers will several of your best AdWords tips in the same email? It's a case of give and take. If all you are doing is taking (i.e. expecting them to part with their hard earned money) then you need to be giving too. This can be in the form of quality content or well researched recommendations. If you're just recommending something so you can earn a quick buck, then think twice.

Getting personal is a two way street. It isn't all about you telling them about your life, it's about you going out of your way to meet the needs of the reader, not just once, but time and time again. If you can do that you will have a list of subscribers who are likely to be with you for many years to come.

Paul Smithson is the founder of Intellimon and the driving force behind the best-selling XSitePro web site development tool. Since graduating in Business Strategy and Direct Marketing from two of Europe's leading business schools, Paul has set up five multi-million dollar companies, one of which is now owned by the BBC. His areas of expertise include business strategy, e-commerce, on-line and off-line marketing, software development, and maximizing the potential of on-line businesses.

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