I have always tried to do things for my email newsletter list to reduce opt-outs and create long term subscribers. I have people on my first email list for 3,4,5 years. Getting email newsletter subscribers is not that hard. Keeping them is yet another thing. These five worked really well for me:
1. Give good gifts
I just got an email newsletter from Hugh MacLeod (http://www.gapingvoid.com) fame. For the third or fourth time he has sent me a high resolution cartoon which I can print and put on my wall. He even came up with a name for them “˜Cube Grenades’. That cartoon is not being put on his blog. It is just for his email newsletter subscribers. Hugh makes me feel very special to be on his email list. I have something that not everybody who reads his blog has.
I regularly build stuff – reports, audios, single page hot sheets – that I would email to my newsletter list only. It also helps that you mention it in the newsletter that nobody is getting this but them and actually keep your word and not sneak around and put that report on 1,000 blogs. We all want to be treated with genuine caring and doing this is a lot of work for a small number of your overall readers but that is what makes it so special.
2. Interview the success story
In every industry and every niche there are people who are doing very well. Most of them are game for a 30-minute phone interview. It makes them feel great about their success and you get not just great content but content that has some celebrity aspect to it for your email list. It may not mean anything else outside your world but in your email list, these 30 minutes of audio are exciting.
I would do these interviews on a conference call, which got recorded, and I would get a link to download the file and upload it to a page on my blog, the link to which was sent in the newsletter to my subscribers only. It was time sensitive and I took it down after one week.
How hard is it to do an interview like this? I wrote down 5 questions that typically got five minute answers each plus five-minute introducing each other and you got 30 minutes done. How did I come up with the list of questions my email list would actually care about?
Build your interview about the five biggest challenges or trends happening in the world that your email list lives in and ask your guest’s opinion about them. Look at your email for the last four weeks; what questions is your list asking you that come up frequently? Visit three online forums in your industry – what are people talking about? It takes 15 minutes or less to come up with five great questions that your email list is actually interested in hearing about.
3. Share discovery or disaster
I have tried new things in my marketing and in my business that worked out great. I also have ended up several times with serious egg on my face. In both cases I was pretty frank about sharing the details in my email newsletter. A look over my shoulder email told in first person always comes up as a good read. I also write about things that I am working on right now behind the scenes in my own business and every week write couple of lines about how it is coming along. It gives the email newsletter a very “˜real time’ feel and it keeps the subscribers interested in the next week email newsletter.
4. Find really interesting stuff for them
I have a folder in my Firefox Bookmarks called For Future Newsletters. When I come across interesting websites, I bookmark them in that folder. I also use Evernote to clip web pages, stories, images and everything else and store them in the cloud.
When I am traveling the web, there is always a thought in the back of my mind to hunt for good links and interesting tidbits to share in the newsletter. I also tear out interesting articles etc for reference when I am reading magazines and keep in a folder. I rarely start with a blank page for my email newsletter. I also share what tools I am using in my own business as this is a question that comes up all the time in emails to me. For example what software do you use to keep in touch with clients? Or what video camera do you use to shot an episode for your Facebook Business Fan Page? Most of us are so busy running our businesses and using these tools that we forget that it took us some trial and error also to find the ones we like and sharing this information is very helpful for our readers.
5. Invite them to a party
I would do a conference call open only to my email list. I have done four-hour seminars just for my email list. Last year I did four of them. Back in the days I would post pictures on my blog and point out the fact that they were invited and nobody else was because of whom they are: my email subscribers.
For new folks coming to the blog – that was an automatic unsaid signal that when you join my email list, good things will come to you. The offline local events also served as a great opportunity for me to meet my local email newsletter subscribers face to face and learn more about their business. These events are places to hear success stories from our email list, get a fresh list of topics from their questions that I can blog about and we always ended up doing some business deals out of these meetings.
About The Guest Author: Mark Ijlal is the CEO of Internet Strategy Club which builds & manages online lead generation campaigns for businesses. He blogs daily at Ijlal.com.