How to set up your newsletter (and not bother people too much)

Although you'll find plenty of info online debating whether or not you should invest in a company newsletter, I say: do it. You don't have to go through great lengths of troubles to implement a newsletter that people will appreciate. And, if you can convince your prospects you won't be spamming them every day but instead will be delivering high-quality content to them, it will be well-received.

1. Outlook or a bulk email provider?

Actually, I have no real reason to prefer Outlook except for the simple fact that you can email people who are listed in your CRM or on a very interesting list you received from a friend. Thanks do GDPR bulk email services have been restricted to the extent that you aren't allowed to mass email people who have not actively 'opted in' to your list. This means you can't just upload a bunch of contacts and start mailing them using such a program. It does mean, however, that the folks who sign up actually want to receive your updates.

So for the sake of this blog, let's say you're going to use a program *cough* MailChimp *cough*. By choosing this path you'll have all kinds of neat features at your disposal like automatically responsive emails, drag and drop template creation, very nice and easy to apply formatting. Basically, everything outlook doesn't have. And again you pick any kind of program you like *cough* MailChimp *cough*.

Seriously, though MailChimp is awesome. It's easy, gets the job done, and.. wait it.. FREE! Up to a certain level anyway and when you're list gets so big you need a commercial plan you'll be more than willing to pay a small fee.

2. What to share?

Content content content content content content content content content! Good, subject matter expert-like, quality content. Think of your blogs, studies you have just released, case studies, and industry reports/whitepapers.

Blogs - you have already published these on your website hopefully and your newsletter is the perfect way to leverage them again. Personally, I always put three or four blogs in a newsletter to be sure there is a topic in there that readers will be interested in. Of course, if you believe everything single blog deserves full exposure you can choose to create something like a 'Latest update on something' kind of style. I delete those emails and unsubscribe myself after two or three bad updates though, so you might want to tread carefully with that one.

Studies - especially interesting when you're trying to attract investors or development partners. Include promising (intermediate) results from studies or announcements of new studies that can be expected.

Case studies - people who are looking for information are often looking for ways to learn how to do something. This means a case study is the perfect way to actually show you're an expert because you've already done it and the reader gets to learn something. Keep in mind that this content should be focused on a specific problem and how you approached it, stating aspects like challenges and how you mitigated them. It should not just be stating how awesome you are for fixing people's problems. It's all about sharing knowledge and learning first, and your kudos come in second.

Industry reports/whitepapers - if you have data available that you believe people would be interested in or large projects which have led to great insights and info: share it! Usually more elaborate and bit more time consuming, but if you do this right, you could be loved for sharing it.

3. Drafting your first newsletter

After you’ve set up your mailing list you probably want to start using it and you want people to read it. So, below you'll find a general structure which I'll explain elaborate on in a next blog called: Creating a template for your newsletter. If you're really lazy or just not to excited about your tempalte send me a message and I’ll share one with you.

  1. Awesome top banner

  2. The personalized' Hi there, remember us?' part

  3. The good stuff (informative content)

  4. The medium stuff (news)

  5. The bad stuff (your promo)

  6. Closer with general contact information and social media buttons

4. Growing your list

The goal is to keep expanding your emailing list continuously and there are several effective way to do so. Also, keep in mind that over time your list reduces in size because people switch jobs and thus work email addresses and some will unsubscribe.

To keep up with the decline, try these options:

  • Website pop-up form

  • Subscribe banner below your blogs

  • Automatic subscribing at conferences

  • Subscribe to download…

You can also reach out to your current contacts in your Outlook, CRM, or a list you might have with a regular email asking if they’d like to sign up. Keep in mind that you have to create a landing page first so you have a link you can share with them.