Email Newsletters and List Building: The What, Why and How Explained

Wed, Oct 24, 2012

Attracting Email Subscribers, FAQs


Email Newsletters and List Building: The What, Why and How Explained

Email Newsletters: The What, Why and How Explained

Email newsletters offer visitors to your website or blog the ability to subscribe as a way to receive updates and information from you by email. These emails typically contain announcements about what you are writing on your blog, changes to your website content and exclusive content that they can only receive if they subscribe. By promoting your newsletter as a way for your visitors to receive exclusive content, you will increase your subscribership. Increasing the number of people who subscribe to your newsletter is your ultimate goal of the newsletter.

Why? This automatically builds an email list of qualified and interested prospects for you. Building a qualified list is one of the most important keys to growing your business.

But why a subscription instead of simply offering an RSS feed? The simple answer is that RSS feeds do not capture email addresses / qualified prospects. A person doesn’t need to give you their email address in order to subscribe to your RSS feed. The more complicated answer is that you can’t track your RSS feed readers and you are limited to what you can offer to them as far as content goes. You could have hundreds or thousands of people subscribed to and reading your RSS feed, and you would never know it. Your RSS feed also limits what you can send. Some RSS feed readers are text only, while some RSS feed readers will strip out URLs and other key content for your readers.

You should offer an RSS feed for those who are more comfortable with receiving their content through this method, but you should also promote your subscription service and newsletter both on your website and through your postings that are read via the RSS feed. Let your RSS feed readers know that they may miss valuable content and exclusive offers and promotions that are only available via the newsletter subscription.

If anything, you should encourage your readers to sign up for both your newsletter and your RSS feed to be sure they don’t miss out on any of your great content. Just remember to always offer value to your readers before trying to gain value from them. If you provide worthwhile content and offers, there is no reason a person wouldn’t subscribe to both methods of receiving your content.

In addition to offering a Newsletter signup on your website, you can also build your list by doing the following:

So you have a list – now what?

One of the key questions I receive is “Okay, I have this list of email addresses… what do I send to them, and how often?”

This can be a tricky question and can depend greatly on a few factors such as your industry, the type of readers you have and the type of emails you are sending to them. In most cases, it is good to send emails to your list at least once a week, but no more than twice a week. I know some marketers believe that heavy email sending (an email a day) is the way to go. I have to politely disagree. An email a day for the first few days is okay, as it will familiarize your readers with who you are, and these can be simple autoresponders that go out automatically for you to remind your reader what they have subscribed to and where they can get more content.

After the initial “break-in” period, you should cut back on emailing the person or they (or their email service provider) is likely to get annoyed with you and send you to the spam box. This is an honest truth that many marketers choose to ignore until it’s too late and they are left with a list of opt-outs. You should have confidence that your readers want to get your emails, but you shouldn’t be over confident that they will want you filling up their inbox on a daily basis.

Don’t, however, disappear off the radar. A weekly update (or newsletter) is the perfect way to keep your readers interested and remind them of who you are and the type of content you provide. Although you should always try to provide valuable content to your readers, I know that writing a weekly newsletter can sometimes feel overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to pull in content and guest authors from other blogs or websites (they will scratch your back too!), and don’t neglect sending your weekly email even if you only have a paragraph of things to say. You should try to send your newsletter on the same day each week so the reader starts to expect it and gets into a routine.

Setting up this email routine has a hidden agenda as well – if you send an email outside of this routine (such as a promotional offer), your reader automatically has a mental reaction to the break in routine and will see that email as something special. I am sure that if you are subscribed to any current newsletters that send on every Friday, for example, and you suddenly get an email from the person on a Tuesday, you mentally say “Oh! What could this be?” and open the email out of simple curiosity.

So, to recap – you will be sending your qualified email list three types of emails:

  1. Autoresponders – these are an unlimited amount of automated emails you set up in your list campaign that go out automatically over time.  These can be the “break-in” email series that you send every day for the first 3 to 14 days that thank the person for subscribing and then deliver them value content or deliver on the promise you give in your customer magnet. (this is your first impression, make it count!)
  2. Newsletters/Broadcasts – these are the weekly emails you compose and send out to your qualified list. They can be in full newsletter format, or they can simply be a paragraph with an update. Don’t be afraid to pull in guest authors to beef up your content-value. Remember to send this email on a routine – same day and time each week if possible.
  3. Promotional offers. These are the broadcasts that you can send separately from your newsletters, and you should send them outside of your newsletter routine. Don’t flood your reader’s inboxes with these; these emails should be treated like “golden tickets” – rare events that will get your reader’s excited and their curiosity to open the email without them thinking about it too much.  Many advanced marketers never send promotional emails. Each time they promote a product or service they simple write an article or email educating their readers on how to achieve a result, they just happen to be using the product or service to achieve that result. This is a very effective way to introduce products or services without bombarding your following with offers.

Okay – you have a list, and you understand what to send and how often… Now how do you get started?
It’s actually much easier than you think!

Step One: Signup For a FreeResponse Magic Account

Yes, I said Free.

Response Magic is a fully featured autoresponder system that lets you create lists, send autoresponder emails, create and schedule broadcasts and newsletters and even track your sending statistics – all for free. No strings, no gimmicks, and no credit card required either.

The free account will let you save up to 100 names / contacts, but that is enough to get you set up and started on building your list. Once your list is established and you’ve gotten yourself into a routine, you can easily upgrade your Response Magic account to a larger contact package. Don’t worry, they are the most affordable system on the market today.

Click Here to set up your free account and get started.


Step 2: Setup Your First Autoresponder

Your Response Magic account will come with a campaign list already set up for you. All you need to do is add an email or two to this list and create a capture form so people can subscribe to it.

We’ll start with the capture form. Once you log into your Response Magic account, click the Attract button.

This will take you to the Customer Magnet creation page where you can customize your capture form. There is a video on that page which I recommend you watch. It gives some additional tips on the how and why behind an effective lead magnet.

You are able to choose what questions to ask your readers, and we recommend that you stick to the basics – Name and Email. People have become very used to providing their name and email online on a daily basis to access content on websites, so most will do it without a second thought. Adding additional questions may deter people from subscribing.

Don’t forget the Thank You page! Many people forget this step. This should be a URL to the page you wish your subscribers to be taken to after they fill out the form. Response Magic has a built in Thank You page, so you may choose to leave this option blank. However, a Thank You page is a great way to give your subscribers additional content / bonus content and offers after they subscribe. A Thank You page can simply be a page on your blog or your Facebook Fan-page.

Once you have selected your options, you click the “Submit and Get Code” button that is at the bottom of the page. This will take you to a secondary page that will give you a few options on how to place your created customer magnet form online. These methods include WordPress, Facebook or an HTML website you have created.  Depending on where and how you are posting your form, follow the provided instructions on that page.

Once you have your form online, we recommend that you fill out your form to test it.

Next, you should add some autoresponder emails for your subscribers to receive.

These autoresponder emails are the “break-in” emails that are intended to thank the reader for subscribing to your list, remind them of who you are and give them a preview of the type of emails they will be receiving.

Go back to the Home page of your Response Magic account and click the Convert Button. This will take you to the “Email Management” area for your list.

There are two types of emails in Email Management:

  1. 1.       Autoresponse – this is the email that goes out immediately (within five minutes of filling out your form) to the person. This email is great for thanking the person for subscribing and reminding them what they just signed up for.
  2. 2.      Sequence Emails – these are the emails you add to the list after the autoresponder. They will go out on a timed sequence that you set up, such as one email per day for the next four days.

We recommend that you add an Autoresponse and then four or fourteen emails to get your list started. There is a video on the Email Management page that will show you how to add both types of emails.


Step 3: Sending Your First Newsletter / Broadcast

With Response Magic, you are able to create your weekly newsletter / broadcast emails in advance and schedule them to go at a specific day and time. This means you don’t have to set aside a specific time each week to sit down and write your email. You can choose when to write the email when the idea hits you and schedule it to go out later. It is important, however, to keep your content relevant and not dated.

To get started, go to the Home page of your Response Magic account and hover your mouse over  , then  click Broadcast Email from the drop down menu that appears. This will take you to the Broadcast Options page. This is where you choose what list you want to send your email too and when you would like it to go out. There is a video on this page that will explain how the Broadcast system works.

When creating and scheduling your broadcast, remember the importance of keeping your content relevant to what the reader subscribed too and creating a routine.

After you have created your capture form, added some of autoresponders, and have sent out your first broadcast, you will be able to start tracking the effectiveness of your campaign using Response Magic’s built in analytics. This is found under the Review menu in your account.

Thank you for reading this post, and as always, I hope you have found it informative and helpful!


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