Automated Email Newsletter Guide
Automated Email Newsletter Guide
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This automated email newsletter guide explains what automated email is, how it works, and how you can benefit from using an autoresponder on your blog.
There are many different of these autoresponder services available and they all work in similar ways. Once you select a service provider, then you simply follow their particular instructions to set up their system in their blog.
There are scores of autoresponder companies. It seems like everyone swears by their favorite and thinks it’s the best, but I have gone to some pains to test a number of automated email systems, and I’m going to offer you the top three based upon my research.
However, before you see my evaluations, let’s see why an automated email newsletter is so crucial to your success.
Why You Need an Automated Email Newsletter
The idea behind BloggingSuccessPlan.com is to help you start a blog filled with content you enjoy writing, and that appeals to a wide audience within a particular niche.
Once you are supplying this kind of content on a regular basis, you want to build your readership. I have explained ways to do that through relationship marketing. Building a relationship with your readers forms a bond and they keep coming back to read what you have written. When you build relationships with readers, they are more inclined to share your blog content with others through “word-of-mouth.” In the Interest era, this word-of-mouth is not carried out by neighbors talking over the back fence. It is done through social media.
You want to write and do what you can to keep reader interest high so you can trigger this kind of sharing. That’s a cheap and effective way to build traffic to your blog. And, in almost all cases, the more traffic you get, the higher your income will be from ads, affiliate offers, and any of your own products and services you may offer.
An automated email newsletter is the cornerstone which helps you reach all these goals. You are able to capture the names and email addresses of site visitors, and that provides the opportunity for you to build a relationship with them.
The Autoresponder Process
This graphic illustrates the complete autoresponder process.
1. You want to offer a free premium to blog visitors as an enticement to subscribe to your newsletter. They usually sign up on a pop-up screen that appears, or on a dedicated sign-up page. All the autoresponder service providers allow you to create pop-ups.
2. Your autoresponder service will send a confirmation email to the person who subscribed. This is called “double opt-in” and provides proof that you are complying with the CAN-SPAM Act.
3. Once the subscriber confirms that they did indeed intend to subscribe, they automatically get a second email.
4. The second email usually contains a “Welcome to the family” type note from you, and it always contains the link to the free premium digital download you promised.
5. The link leads to a special download page on your blog. It is hidden from search engines and from regular blog visitors. Only people who have received the email have the link to this download page. The new subscriber downloads the digital premium.
6. The subscriber is now on your mailing list, You can drip-feed them automated emails that you have prepared, or you can send manual emails to your entire list (or parts you select) any time you wish. They can unsubscribe at any time, but that too is an automated process that you don’t need to worry about.
You have a two-fold goal. You want to build a relationship with your readers, and they should look forward to getting emails from you. Also, you want to build your list. The larger the number of subscribers, the greater the flow of blog visitors you get, and the more money you’re likely to earn.
My Favorite Newsletter Option
There are many confusing choices. I have evaluated two of the companies you hear about all the time and one company you probably never heard of. Should you explore some of the off-brand auto newsletter tools you have heard about and others might have praised? Yes, if you have the time, do it. But no matter how zealous others may be about their pick, this option is bedrock, and you’ll probably end up switching to it sooner or later.
My choice? ConvertKit. That’s what I use. No, that is not one of the highly advertised companies, but they are the choice of a large number of professional bloggers. It has a nice balance between ease of use, functionality and email deliverability, so that makes it desirable. It is easy to set up custom campaigns that get results. The price is right for the level of service you get. Support is excellent.
My second choice is AWeber. I have used them in the past and recommend them. Again, AWeber is not a household name, but well-known in professional online marketing circles. They are a pioneering company in email marketing and their deliverability rates are among the highest. That means people see what you send and your email does not end up in a spam filer. Also, they have a very systematic approach to creating lists, sign-up forms of all kinds, and the mass scheduling of emails. You could set up a campaign to send two emails per week to your list, and AWeber would handle it all automatically. It’s that good.
Do I recommend MailChimp, GetResponse or some of the other brands you see advertised on TV? No. Both ConvertKit and AWeber are professional-level tools, and that’s why I think they are the best choices. Sometimes people start with a company like MailChimp because it’s cheap, but later they want to switch to one of the professional companies I mention. That’s a hassle you don’t need. Start with the company that will help you build your email list the fastest, and stick with them.
The great thing is that you set up the autoresponder system once, and it handles your list automatically. It is “set and forget.”
Once you have configured your system to your liking, you do need to supply content to send. You can create a year’s worth at one time if you wanted, and your autoresponder system will faithfully send each to the list on the schedule you set.
Or, you can set aside a time each week to write an email, paste it into your autoresponder system, click a button, and it will go to your entire list.
Some bloggers set up months of emails so they go out on a regular schedule. But when they have something to add at a particular time, they simply go into their autoresponder system and paste the latest events into the scheduled email.
Many bloggers are at a loss about what to include in their newsletter. Here are some ideas.
- Announce the article you have just posted. Tease your readers just enough so they will want to visit your site and read it.
- Offer a new tip or technique
- Provide a list of helpful resources
- Engage readers by asking them a question about their experiences regarding whatever your blog topic may be. They can reply through your Contact Form.
- Ask readers for ideas about blog posts they would like you to write about in the future
- Give them a success story related to your blog topic
- Provide a case history on your topic
- Off a special series, like a 10-week email course related to your topic. These do not need to be complex, just interesting and helpful.
- Offer encouragement or inspiration
Always make sure your email newsletter content relates to the topic of your blog. Your readers will hate you if you go off-topic.
These tips will help you:
- Your emails do not need to be lengthy. A few hundred words are often enough.
- You want to write a series of emails in most cases. Random emails have less influence.
- Your content must always offer your readers a nugget of helpful information.
- It’s okay to include something for them to buy (where you make money) that will be of interest to them, but avoid the “hard sell.”
- Let your personality shine through. Make people smile whenever you can.
You don’t want to email too often. I generally unsubscribe from newsletters if I get them more than twice a week. I’m happy to see weekly emails if I’m interested in the topic and the emails are engaging. I almost always read those that come once or twice a month. You have to gauge the proper mailing frequency for your particular subscribers. If you have a high unsubscribe rate, it probably means you should send fewer emails with better content.
Here are some key ideas about your automated email newsletter:
- Nothing will help grow your blog faster than a we-implemented automated email newsletter. It is your prime tool for building ongoing relationships with your readers.
- It is not something you implement in the future. Make sure you have installed and tested your autoresponder starting before your launch day. You will lose valuable future traffic and sales if you don’t have your autoresponder running from Day One.
- Don’t cut costs on the autoresponder service you use. People think they can easily switch to a better service later, but that is not generally true. The CAN-SPAM Act and autoresponder service policies make that difficult, so you may lose all the names and email addresses you collected. Plus, if you do it right, you’ll have automated campaigns installed, and it is time-consuming to move them. There is data associated with the emails sent to specific people, and you will lose all that. Based on my experience, my advice is to stick with either ConvertKit or AWeber no matter what you see on TV or the opinions you read on Facebook.
- Write a fantastic free giveaway to entice people to sign up for your newsletter. This takes serious thought and research. If you don’t want to write something yourself, find a digital product someone else has done, and make it available as a premium if you are legally entitled to do so.
- Make your first autoresponder campaign a part of your early planning. Write and load a few months of emails to your autoresponder before you launch your blog.
Your automated email newsletter is not an optional add-on. It is an essential part of your traffic-building strategy.