Making use of your mailing list

sam hollis

Sam Hollis is a Web Designer, Business Owner, Dad,  Digital Marketing Expert and Podcaster

‘I’m always happy to chat and advice is always free’

Any emails in your distribution list are usually hard-won and worth making the most of. But what is the best way to make the most of these precious resources? It is worth having a plan in place for collecting email addresses for your distribution list. I have an article here that helps explains different ways to do this.

Why would you want to have a mailing list and stay in touch with them?

The main reason, to me, is based on simple statistics. The vast majority of people who find your website aren’t ready to buy from you at that moment. It might be they are interested but need to build up trust. It might be that your service is just not something they need right now. The key is, right now. They might well want your product in six months or a year. They might be interested in your product once trust has been built. Getting these people onto your mailing list and using that mailing list will mean they get regular emails from you. These go straight to their inbox. It’s not like Social media posts. These they may be online at the wrong time or your post might be squashed by the algorithm so hardly seen. Your email will get to them. If you then capitalise on that and you are sending them the right information. Then you will be at the front of their mind when they are ready to buy.

The newsletter

woman reading a tabletThe most common approach to keeping in touch with your distribution list is the newsletter. There are a lot of different versions of this and I’m sure you’ve all seen the good, the bad and the ugly of newsletters. You are competing for attention with a whole host of other emails. Why is someone going to open your newsletter? The simple answer has to be because it’s relevant, interesting and valuable to them. They found it useful last time and they want to look again. We’ve all had the newsletters with updates about the office cat and Julie’s recent holiday to Cuba. Is that relevant, interesting and valuable to us? Are we going to bother opening that email again? Is your newsletter like that? – be honest. Your newsletter has to contain content your readers will find useful, relevant and engaging. This is also a good chance to show you are an expert. By giving something away you are building trust. You are also showing yourself to be an expert and providing value. That’s better than telling us about the cat, and much more valuable.

Are you ready to commit to sending a newsletter?

This is the time, to be honest, and realistic. Do you have the time to commit to this? If you want to do the newsletter route it can do wonders for your business, if it’s done well. You need to commit the time to create the valuable content that your list will find useful. You need to commit to sending out the newsletter regularly (I would suggest monthly as a minimum). If you can’t commit to these then either outsource some or all of it. Or don’t bother. As with almost every other marketing approach. Half-hearted options don’t work. Leads appreciate those who consistently show up and provide value.

What if my distribution list is diverse and it’s hard to find relevant content for them all?

You can’t please everyone all of the time, so aim for those that are most likely to turn into clients. In some ways, this may mean those least likely to become clients will self select and unsubscribe. Another option is to split your distribution list into groups. Then send slightly different versions of your newsletters to different groups. You can shift the focus of each groups newsletter for their needs.

Tools to help you

Moosend Logo
There is a huge range of mailing newsletter solutions out there. Never use your standard email address. At present, if you have a distribution list under 1000 I strongly recommend Moosend. Everything is free at this size and the support is excellent.

Hemmingway is a website that checks through your writing. It gives you feedback, to make it as easy to understand as possible. If a 12-year-old can’t read it (Grade 7 in their language) simplify it.

Grammarly is an excellent free website that checks your spelling and grammar (there is a detailed review of it here). It does a much better job of it than Word. The free version is excellent, will store documents for you.

The headline of your newsletter

Your headline and your extract are really important. These sit in peoples inbox and what they say are the basis of whether your newsletter is opened or binned. So spend some time on them. Don’t rush them at the end. “June’s update” is not very compelling and sounds like your newsletter is going to tell me about that cat. “ten, easy to implement ways you can get more profit for your business” sounds more interesting and perhaps worth opening. The institute for advanced marketing has a great headline analyser tool. You can use to see how effective your headline is.

Other options

The newsletter isn’t for everyone. It takes time and commitment, or money to make sure it happens and happens effectively. So what other options are then available to you for staying in touch? Automated emails, to me, seem the other logical approach.

Automated emails

a large pile of letters
Using Moosend or other software you can send out a string of automated emails. You can write twelve emails in one go set them to send out once a month automatically. You then have nothing to do for a year, while your distribution list is receiving your content. A year down the line you can write another twelve. This takes much less continuous input from you. It’s not as time relevant as a newsletter. It won’t be related to what’s happening in the news or changes in the law, but it’s simple and effective. These emails can be sent in two forms. They can be like newsletters with fancy formatting, images and call to action buttons. They can also be sent as plain text emails. Although less pretty these look more like you’ve just sent a personal email and can be written in that style. As with the newsletter the content of these emails has to be right for people to read with them and engage with them. They still need to build that trust and be useful, relevant and engaging. If you don’t feel you can write effective emails like that, then get them written for you. It will cost you less to get twelve emails written at once than to have twelve newsletters written for you.

Are you doing this now?

Building and using a distribution list is a great way to maximise the use of your website. And stay in touch with potential leads. Done well it’s a great way to grow your business. Why wouldn’t you want to stay in touch with everyone interested in your business?

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