Have you ever been to a store or business and seen a clipboard with a pen near the checkout for you to sign up to be added to their email newsletter list? Do you sign up? Does the business email their list?
Since I like frequenting small local businesses (from gift shops to the gym), and want to stay in touch, I sign the clipboard with my email address. Sometimes I sign up more than once. For one small gift shop, I’ve signed up three times in the last year. Do you know how many emails I’ve received? None. I rarely receive an email from any small business with a clipboard.
So do you have an email list for your business? Are you using it? Because if you aren’t emailing your list, you don’t really have an email newsletter list. As a small business owner, whether your business is online or brick and mortar, you need to stay in touch with your clients and customers.
Why Do You Need to Actually Email Your List?
- Because your customers asked you to email them.
- Because ignoring a customer is bad for your business.
- Because they want to do more business with you.
- Because you are losing business opportunities.
- Because marketing to current customers is easier than acquiring new customers.
- Because if you save your list for “someday,” it will be outdated.
Why Use an Newsletter Newsletter Service?
If you aren’t already sending emails to your clients and customers, you can set up an account with an email newsletter service and start today. While it may sound difficult, it’s actually really easy to get started with a newsletter.
The really great thing about using an email newsletter service is that:
- You don’t even need a website or a blog, but it’s good to have one.
- You can manually add names from your clipboard.
- If you use social media, like Facebook, you can add your sign up form there, as well.
- It’s one of the least expensive methods of advertising today, but it’s important that you don’t just market; the purpose is to connect.
- It’s free to email a pretty large list!
You can read about the different easy-to-use, and free, email newsletter services. I’m going to refer to Mad Mimi and MailChimp today because they are traditional newsletter services. You’ll have no trouble sending your newsletter with them. Your newsletter will stay out of spam folders easier. They both have videos, chat, and help screens, so you won’t get lost setting up your newsletter list.
Make a Plan to Start Your Email Newsletter
So here’s a plan so you can actually get started emailing your list with a simple newsletter.
Step 1. Choose one of the email newsletter services (and if you need really easy, choose Mad Mimi).
Step 2. Create a free account with your service using your business email address and your name. You will also need to add some extra business info before you send your first email.
Step 3. Once you sign in to your account, you can start by adding the email addresses from your clipboard. You have to give the list a name; you can name it Clipboard. This will tell you where you got the sign ups. Then if you add a sign up for your email list on your website or social media, you can create other lists, so you know where people came from. (Note that each service has restrictions, but if people signed up on your clipboard in the past year, you should be able to send to them; they have opted in.)
Step 4. When you’ve added enough email addresses to your list; it’s time to send your first newsletter. Choose a simple one-column newsletter template. You can brand it with your logo if you have one. If not, just use your business name in one of the fonts the template allows. You can change the background color of the header too. That’s all you need; the simpler you keep it, the better for reading on mobile tablets and phones.
What Do You Write in Your First Email Newsletter?
The first time you send to a list that you’ve collected over time, you might want to:
- Remind them who you are and how they signed up with you.
- Tell them they can unsubscribe.
- Tell them how often you plan to email them (2-4 times a year is good, if you need to start slowly).
- Tell them what you plan to email them about.
- Send them a cookie, well maybe a tip or coupon, depending on your business.
- (Notice that I didn’t say “SELL”? You want to make a connection.)
Some Resources to Plan Your Newsletter Content
So what do you write about in your email newsletter?
There is some overlap in these resources for newsletter ideas, but they will give you a good start. The important thing to remember is that you have to begin sometime. And your first email newsletter is probably not going to be epic, but that’s OK. You’ll get better with practice. Just choose a simple idea and try it.
- 33 Email Newsletter Topics You Can Use Right Now
- 30 content ideas for an email newsletter
- Marketing Newsletter Ideas
If you have any questions, please ask, but the important thing is to get started emailing your list today!
(PS. The purpose of this post is to help you “get started” and connect with your email list; it is not a comprehensive email marketing plan at all.)