A blog + a newsletter are foundation building blocks for ANY BUSINESS that wants to use the internet to marketing or promote their business.
I’ve already written a "primer" on newsletter basics.
Once you have your blog launched with a sign up for your newsletter, it’s time to get to work getting people to sign up for your newsletter.
The second toughest trick is to get people to sign up for the list. (The toughest one is to create a newsletter that readers will actually READ!)
The obvious first place to "fish" for subscribers is your own email contacts list.
WARNING: I do NOT advise that you send out a mass email using Outlook or some other email client to 50, 100 or more people on the cc or even the BCC.
I do advise that you can send out INDIVIDUAL emails to the people (both in your email contact list AND those whose business cards you have collected) to TELL them about your new blog and newsletter. To make CERTAIN it doesn’t get reported as spam, you need to send a each an personal email.
Here’s a sample email:
We met at [insert name of event] and you gave me your business card and told me to stay in touch. If you’ll remember, we talked about [insert what you discussed at event].
I just wanted to let you know that I’m launching a newsletter to keep people just like you informed of what’s going on in the [insert activity/group/business type] community. If you’d like to subscribe, just visit my blog [insert blog url] and you’ll see the newsletter sign up box in the right hand column.
It was great meeting you at [insert name of event].
Another great tool is to include your blog url in your signature file so every email you send is a promotion for your web site/blog/newsletter.
With this said, I STRONGLY suggest that before you issue these individual party invitations until you’ve got a LOT of choices on your "blog buffet". Don’t send out this invitation while your blog has fewer than 10 posts.
I often use the word picture to encourage clients to view their blog as a party at a public park. You pick a pavillion, decorate it with balloons and streamers… and set out an impressive spread of food to delight your guests.
As guests are enjoying the food and company, you’ve provided a discreet way for them to be notified of FUTURE parties you’re having. You provide a sign up for where people will sign up to RECEIVE the newsletter, which will act as their invitation to future events.
The problem is, if guests arrive before the food is set out, they’re not likely to sign up to be reminded to return. In other words, if visitors don’t see anything of interest on the blog, then they probably won’t sign up for the newsletter. That is UNLESS you provide a legal bribe or a gift for signing up for your newsletter. Offering a free resource of value as a legal bribe does increase your sign up rate signficantly and will help you grow your newsletter even more quickly.
Remember, visitors who subscribe to your newsletter want to know more about your products and services. These are HOT prospects. The more information you provide on your blog, the more subscribers you’ll find you get. (Seems counter intuitive, but it’s true.)