Every one of your customers has an email address, yet many people are abandoning email newsletters completely, or not launching one, to focus exclusively on a blog. You may even be considering abandoning your blog to focus exclusively on Twitter and/or FaceBook. I suppose many people are doing this because it's easier and takes less time.
But that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. I've had a newsletter for ten years. As technology has evolved, I've added a blog, FaceBook, Twitter, etc., but I've never abandoned my newsletter because it's very effective at tying all of those “satellites” together. Here are some tips for using your email newsletter to drive traffic to your blog, FaceBook and Twitter pages.
Archive Your Newsletter. There’s no sense in producing a newsletter if it’s unavailable after you publish it. Make your newsletter work for you for years to come by archiving it online. I archive mine at my website, but you can also archive it at your blog and/or your social networking site.
This makes it easy for you to refer to old newsletter issues in new ones, which increases visits to and time spent at your site pages. It also creates an easy way for people to enjoy back issues of your publication. I receive emails regularly from people who say they are enjoying an issue from months or even years ago. (If you include your sponsors in the archives, it’s also a great incentive for them!)
I use Sparklist to publish my newsletter, but I draft it online in the archives first. Once I complete the archived version, it’s easy to send out the announcement by transferring the photos and introductory text to the announcement template. This is an admittedly old-fashioned way of doing things, but it works for now. I am told that MailChimp (and perhaps other services) make archiving easier and more efficient, and I plan to check those out. I will let you know what I discover.
Feature Supplemental Blog or FaceBook Content. Fill your newsletter with content that supplements conversations at your blog and FaceBook Fan Page. Not only does this make it easier to create newsletter content, but it also drives traffic to your blog and FaceBook.
For example, last month, I hosted a discussion at my FaceBook Page about how to spruce up your FaceBook Fan Page. This produced over 100 separate status updates and comments at my FaceBook Page. The next day, I summarized what was discussed at my blog. The following week, I summarized what was discussed in my weekly newsletter — with links to the blog and FaceBook of course. This was not a cut and paste job. Instead, it was a re-working of the content designed to appeal to people who read my newsletter.
My efforts paid off, producing dozens of blog comments, hundreds of new FaceBook Fans and hundreds of new site visitors and newsletter subscribers. People who had been newsletter subscribers for months or years suddenly made an appearance at my blog and FaceBook Page!
You can do the same thing within your niche. Choose topics that you enjoy and that you know your customers and prospects are interested in, then reach out and engage them. You don’t have to do it in the same order as I did in the example. The conversation could start as a blog post and then later, take up residence on your FaceBook Page. The point is to use the newsletter in some way to tie them together.
Make It “Tweetable”. Each issue of my newsletter announcement contains a link that readers can click on to Tweet the newsletter issue. You may need a programmer to help you with this (I did!) but once the code is in place, all you have to do is replace the last newsletter link with the new one! When a reader clicks the link, a new window opens up that automatically fills in a Twitter status update for them. All they have to do is update their status to share the publication quickly with their followers.
How easy is that?! People can edit the update however they’d like. Here’s an example of what one of the status updates looks like.
- Include Graphical Links To Your Blog, FaceBook, Twitter, Etc. Each issue of my newsletter announcement contains graphical links (not just text links) to the social networks where I can be found. Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn and others are included. This creates a very easy way for people who enjoy connecting at those places to reach out to me there. The graphics are neatly organized down the left side of my newsletter announcement so they are easy to find and easy to use. They link directly to my page at the social network.
While I don’t think these links are as effective as some of the graphics and features that change from week to week, the template makes it easy for people to connect quickly and easily with me where they feel comfortable doing so.
Question: What are your tips for using an email newsletter to increase participation at your blog and other sites? Please share your comments, questions and tips below.