Remember how just five years ago, everyone was more excited to receive emails than they are today? In the past few years, we have all been getting more emails than ever before. We now have to decide in a split second which emails to delete, and which ones to keep.
This means that even if someone gave you their email address willingly, you will still have to deliver great value to that person over time, or they will opt-out of your mailing list and tell you to stop contacting them.
A great way to build reader loyalty is to have a periodic newsletter, such as twice weekly. A good newsletter should focus on delivering great content, and be pleasing to the eye.
Let’s look at how you can create your own newsletter, and more importantly, how you can make money from it.
1. The Layout Of Your Newsletter
There are various types of sections you could include in your own newsletter, and in various layouts. The important point is to create a format with the sections that you feel comfortable creating on a regular basis.
An example of a newsletter that we publish at Thriving Business two times per week is shown below, with the following sections:
- A newsletter banner at the top
- An issue number
- An introduction from the publisher/editor
- “Main Essay” section that contains the main article
- “Your Thriving Business Assignment” section that contains the action steps you should take to best implement the concepts from the Main Essay for yourself
- “Check It Out” section to promote something related to the main article that readers may want to buy
- “Connect Us” section where people can connect with us through social media sites
- “Today’s Video Inspiration” section where we include an inspirational video to help motivate and inspire others
- “Share Your Thoughts” section where readers where we share feedback we receive from Readers about our newsletters
- “Quick Tips” section that shares quick tips on “Body, Mind, and Spirit” topics
- Our company name, address, and photo
Notice how our newsletter is delivered in a two-column format, and is easy to read. We used to follow a single-column format and that worked well too. But when we added several new content sections, we felt that the two-column format would deliver the information in a more concise, yet pleasing fashion. You just want to choose a format with the sections that you are most comfortable with, and can create on a consistent basis.
2. Content To Include In Your Newsletter
You should always focus on coming up with new ideas that a current and relevant, and that your subscribers want to hear about. People want to stay on the leading edge, and will subscribe to those newsletters that give them value.
We all get a lot of junk email, and the few emails that actually get read are those that deliver great content that readers get excited to see hit their inbox.
You should always ask yourself, is this content good enough that I would read it myself? If you can’t consistently answer that question “YES”, then it is doubtful that other people would find it interesting too.
There are numerous ways to create content for your newsletter, even if you don’t write any or all of the articles yourself.
For example, you can create an expert panel full of experts who contribute all of the articles for you, and where you just introduce the articles from each expert. An example of such a “panel model” is Working Moms Only. Jynell and I are expert contributors who write articles for that site on a regular basis, and then our articles get published.
You can also write all of the articles yourself, or use a hybrid model like Jynell and I use. You may have noticed that in previous issues, we have published content written by other writers, such as Dan Kennedy. I introduced the article, but I wasn’t the person who wrote the article. But I knew that Dan’s article would be interesting to our subscribers, and I included it as one of our issues.
So even if you are not the best writer in the world, don’t let that stop you from considering newsletters as a viable model for your own business.
3. Making Money From Your Newsletter
The way you monetize your newsletters is by offering products and services to your subscribers, and ideally offers that are related to the main article. Your readers can buy the product if they want more information, but never feel like the product is being shoved down their throat.
This soft-selling approach builds greater loyalty, and also can increase your sales far more than traditional email marketing when it is done correctly.
You can include these product or service offers within a dedicated section like our “Check It Out” section, or in banner ads placed throughout the newsletter.
If you have your own products to sell, you can either focus on promoting your own products, or also feature third party offers from time to time so your readers don’t get bored with the same offers all the time.
4. Growing Your Subscriber Base And Delivering The Newsletters
That may sound great, but you may be wondering how you get people to subscribe to your newsletter to begin with…and how you then can deliver the newsletter to those who subscribed.
You first have to setup what is called a “squeeze page”, like we do on our Thriving Business home page, to collect the name and email address of people who are interested in receiving it. Those names get loaded into an Autoresponder such as OfficeAutopilot, InfusionSoft, or aWeber so that you can then send each issue to your subscribers.
You can setup a newsletter template in one of those Autoresponders and then fill in the sections for each newsletter issue. You then select which of your subscribers to send it to, which would be those that have requested to receive the newsletter.
You can then get people to subscribe to your newsletter by advertising your “squeeze page”. There are tons of free and paid ways to advertise your free newsletter to drive people to that page to sign-up.
For example, you can participate in forums and blogs, and put the link to your free newsletter in your author footer. You can write articles for other people’s newsletters in return for them promoting yours. You can pay for visitors to be sent directly to your squeeze page. These are just a few examples.
But the key to success with a newsletter is to set a schedule and stick with that schedule, and to provide valuable content in each issue.
Then, look for other ways to leverage your newsletter content in multiple ways, such as by creating an iPhone app that can distribute your content to more people. Apps that just pull content from an existing blog or web site are super-easy to create.
To help you with this, Jynell and I created a special report that shows you how to make money from iPhone apps that you create using simple wizards for free or very inexpensively. Click here for more details.
*Originally published as Issue # 126 – September 25, 2012