Hey business dreamers,
it’s already Monday and time for another episode! This week I spoke about something that is super close to my heart – helping people build a solid newsletter list! Tune in to hear about:
- Why I think this is so important for your independence as a business owner
- My thoughts about social media vs. newsletters
- How to choose the right newsletter provider
- Making sure you shout about it from the roof tops without being annoying
- Free things you can offer as an incentive to sign up
- Other newsletter building strategies I love
If you’re interested in the software and systems I am using to build my newsletter list you can learn more on this page.
Listen to the Embodied Business Podcast
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⋒ Hi, my name is Yarrow and I am your host.
My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a livelihood with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I offer practical guidance on tech, strategy, ethical marketing, creativity and money and interview other small business owners who do things their own way.
You can learn more about my work, listen to other episodes or join my community at PinkWellStudio.com
You can also sign up for my newsletter - I share free workshop invitations, resources, ideas & new episodes about once per month! ⋒
Hey, everyone, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the DIY business magic podcast. Welcome back. I can’t believe it’s Monday already. But I’m really excited to speak to you again. And I have a super exciting topic, actually, I think it might be the one so far I’m most excited about it is all about building your newsletter list. And also why that’s so important. So I talk a little bit about social media versus newsletters, choosing the right newsletter provider, about what you can offer people that sign up, and also how you can kind of incorporate some newsletter building strategies into your business. I really think whatever your business is, whether that’s service based, or product based, or whatever, really, I think this is super important. And I’ll tell you why. And I’ll share my best tips. Before we get to start talking about this stuff, just one quick announcement on the fourth of December and running a free online workshop on business planning for 2019. There’s an awesome group of people that have signed up already. And I really, yeah, one of my biggest dreams for next year is to build a community around the do DIY business magic programme and to also create a directory so that we can support each other. So in the workshop, I’ll be asking all of you to share your handles and your websites. And I really just want to give everyone a chance to support each other because I think there’s such a beautiful community has formed around this podcast and my newsletter in the programme. And I just want to get all of us together and make sure that we can connect properly. So we’ll do some business planning and dreaming and channelling. I’ll share some stories from the last four years of my business. Say what my future plans are, and I will share some tools and approaches. And you’ll get the chance to ask me anything. So I’m really excited for this thing, it’s going to be my favourite workshop of the year, and I’ve run more than 20 this year. So yeah, you can sign up for that through the link in my show notes. And I would really love to meet you there. So now to today’s show, how to build a newsletter and why that is so important. So the first thing I want to say to the question of why that is so important is that social media is changing all the time. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really love social media. And I’ll definitely covered in more episodes. But I think one of the things that I find frustrating sometimes and irritating, and a bit scary is that things change all the time. So algorithms change what you have to do to get exposure changes, the rules change around what you’re allowed to share, and what not. And that can kind of create a lot of
work. And it can take up a lot of headspace for small business owners. And I think, especially in the beginning, there’s a lot of pressure to build a solid foundation and to kind of post every day and stay on top of things. And it can be really stressful. So I really think that alone is a good enough reason for us to build a solid newsletter list at the same time. And to make sure that we’re finding ways of really enjoying social media without depleting ourselves, and to also make that sustainable. And so the beauty with a newsletter list really is that the rules don’t tend to change, you know, you choose a provider. And, and that’s kind of like a longer long term, ongoing relationship. And you also really own your contract. So you can download your Excel sheet anytime with all your contacts if you want to move to a different provider. And you can just move your Instagram followers to Pinterest, for example. So you really have a little bit more control in that way, which I love. Another reason that’s really great is that you sometimes get deeper feedback and a better feeling for your audience through a newsletter. So of course, it’s cool to kind of see what people like on Instagram or what they comment on. But I really feel that this year, I’ve written a bunch of newsletters that I received longer responses to sort of people just hit reply. And there were saying things like, we love what you said, that makes sense to me. I’d love to hear more about this or that or here’s my question. And it felt more intimate and more real than many interactions that I’ve had on social media. So I really appreciate that too. And then, of course, like I already mentioned, that isn’t the risk of losing your connections. On Instagram, though it is a very small chance that is always a tiny risk that you might have your account suspended or deleted, for breaking some rules. And, and that’s hard, especially if you worked for on it for a long time. So that is not the case, when you build your newsletter list. And I also feel that you create a space for yourself and your business in which you can really express yourself exactly the way you want to. So it sounds a bit abstract to say with a newsletter, there’s more intimacy, but here’s why I think that’s true. So When someone follows you on social media, that’s great. And they probably like your new work or they’re curious in some way. But if someone invites you to into their inbox, that’s just a really much bigger step, you know, we feel so precious about our inboxes. Many of us feel overwhelmed with them. And so if someone signs up, they’re really kind of excited about what you’re doing. And so it’s much more likely that they’ll appreciate what you’re sharing, even if it’s something that’s vulnerable, or weird or cute or funny, or even sad, you know, and I think that really makes a difference and how we’re feeling less conscious. And we’re expressing ourselves more authentically, sometimes in our newsletters. And then also, of course, you can visually
make it anything you like. So it can be super long. You can have images in there, you can embed videos, you can give people the chance to kind of skim through it by working with headings. And these are things that you can do in social media. So it’s just giving you more creative freedom and the way that you communicating with your audience. And then finally, another also really important reason is that you’ll usually have more exposure for your announcements and offers. So as you will know, if you’ve built your Pinterest, or Facebook or Instagram, whatever profile, whenever you say something, there’s only a fraction of people that will actually see it. And then a smaller fraction will actually like it. And that’s just the nature of the thing. But usually, if you build an engaged newsletter list of people that are really keen, and I’ll speak a bit more on that later, and email them frequently in a in a way that feels good, like a good frequency, and I’ll talk about that some more also. And then you usually have a higher opening rate and a higher click rate. So more people will feel excited to engage, and it will just reach more eyeballs proportionally than it might on social media. Now, of course, that isn’t, you know, there’s no hard and fast rules around this. But that is my observation from many years of working in this field and having many, many people, both a new cyclist as well as a social media platform. Cool. So now that we’ve established why building a newsletter is so important, I want to talk a little bit about choosing the right newsletter provider. So the one I am with is mailer light, which I really love, but I’ve been on a bit on a journey, and I’ve experienced many different providers through my kinds as well. So the one I started out with was MailChimp, and then I very prematurely upgraded to ontraport is pretty expensive, because I loved the idea of having an all in one solution for my membership and my courses and the newsletter, and my shop. And I also got a special discount that wasn’t available on the open market. So I felt a bit special. I was like, yeah, ready. But actually, I left half a year later because it was just not right for me and my business. I think ontraport can be a fantastic solution, if you’re in a place where you have time and energy to either teach yourself how this works. Or you can hire someone, or just really where it makes sense in your business to make that investment to have an all in one solution. And then I switched to ConvertKit, which I really loved. So that was a lot more affordable, it still had all the functionality that I wanted, it was visually great. It gave me lots of stats. And it gave me the chance to tag and group people in very specific ways that I wanted, which is important to me, because I run free workshops every week, month, sorry, every month. And so I need to see who has signed up for different workshops. I also want to see things like who’s reading my emails, and when you know geographically Where are people more like most likely to open them? What time zones are times in a day are good to send my newsletters and so forth. And then eventually this year I switch to mailer light, because I went over a certain number and subscribers, which meant that my ConvertKit account became more expensive. And I saw that mailer light had the same functionality and a design and the email templates that also worked a little bit better for me. So that’s why I switched. In addition to those four newsletter providers, I also have experience with ontraport. Like I said, Infusionsoft, Matt, my me Active Campaign. And I worked a lot on MailChimp for my clients. So I have a good overview and I won’t say that one or the other will be better for you because it just really depends on your business. But I’ll tell you a few things I think you should check out before you decide on a provider. So the first thing is what functionality Do you need, especially in terms of statistics, grouping and tagging people as well as design. So designs is something that’s super important for me in my life. I work with templates I if you know and receive my newsletters, you will know they’re quite long, because I send them just once a month I don’t want to bombard people all the time once a month usually feel good physically To me, and then there’s additional announcements around, you know, for people who are in specific programmes, but the main newsletter goes out about once a month, and it’s so it’s really rich, it has an entire paragraph of where I am and what’s happening my life, then it has a big kind of section with upcoming free workshops and replays. Then there’s a section with podcast episodes that have come out, then there’s a section for updates on the programmes and courses I’m running and so forth. And then I have
a little graphics, I’ve kind of subheadings so that people can very easily jump straight to the section they want to look at. And I think that’s super important, given that our attention span is so short these days. The other thing that’s really important, like I mentioned, is the functionality, I need to see very clearly what groups people belong to any one content contact in my mailerlite account, could have anything between like two or 10 tags. So if someone for example becomes a Patreon, I’ll sometimes see like, how does this person get to know me? And before they decided to become a Patreon? What workshops did they attend? How often the date you open my emails, what links did they click, like, what kind of episodes and the podcast example where they’re most interested in. And that’s just giving me so much information about what people really want to know more about. And obviously, that’s what I want to provide, because then it’s a win win situation. So yeah, these are my reasons for choosing mailer light, but have a look around and think about what you really need from your newsletter provider what you’re willing to pay. And speaking of paying, so there’s a couple of free versions, mailer lite, is free up to 1000 contacts. And what I really like about it, and what’s something that not everyone else is offering is that they will provide customer care, even on free plans. And so there’s a couple of other providers that will also give you a free account up to a certain amount of contacts, but they won’t give you any support. And, you know, with good documentation, usually, it’s pretty straightforward to integrate something into your site and get it all up and running. But there might always be a little glitch or something that’s not totally clear to you. And and so, yeah, I think having access to customer care is quite important. So next, let’s talk about how you can make sure that people really know and sign up to your newsletter. So obviously, it needs to be super clear how to get on your list wherever people meet you online. And that might sound like common sense, but you won’t believe the amount of people I see where I’m like, Oh, this person seems cool. I wonder, you know, how can I stay in touch with them and I click around, I click around and I still haven’t found it. And that there’s that just cannot be the case, you have to be super clear, it has to be super obvious, like a one click situation. So I would really suggest that you sit down if this is not the case for you yet. And you map out every space that you’re inhabiting online, from Pinterest, Facebook, to Instagram to your website. And you really make sure that everyone who’s landing on that page knows within two seconds how to and sign up for your newsletter. So in practice, that can mean on Facebook, you want to connect the little blue button that’s on your profile to your newsletter list, so you can change it to sign up. And that will link straight to your signup form. You want to have it at the bottom of your normal emails, you want to have it above the fold of your new website, which means that people don’t have to scroll before they seen your signup. And you can see what that looks like and might have websites as well. For example, you want to link to sign up from your Instagram profile. You want to link to it and Pinterest and so forth. Many people work with pop ups on their website. I think that’s a very personal decision. I don’t really like them very much, though, I have to admit that they have worked for me when I did try them. So I think it was the summer 2015 settler, Summer 2017. I briefly worked with pop ups and I really saw an increase in my signups. But I also was pretty annoyed. So there’s that. I personally really prefer to work with static opt ins, I make sure that they are under all of my blog posts and all of my podcast episodes in the show notes as well. That’s really important. And I have them on the sidebar of my website as well usually. So I’m really covering a lot of different spaces, and I’m making sure that everything is beautifully connected. That’s really important. And then I want to talk a little bit about freebies, why they can be great and how they can help you build your list. So freebies, I in my opinion, are a great way for people to get to know you and your work without needing to commit. And that’s great whether you’re offering a service or a product, anything, especially those personnel that where people will need to take a little bit of a leap in order to say yes Do what you have to offer, I think then it’s a really great idea to give them a chance to get to know you without making that leap first. So there’s so many different things that you could offer, it could be a PDF, that your recipes that you love or resources, it could be a mini audio course that you just record it on your phone and uploaded. We’re just talking about your business and your background and your
story, why you do what you do, what your best tips are, how can people work with you, and so forth. And if that feels tricky, and or you have a product based business, you could also offer people sign up discount codes, maybe 10% off their first order, or the chance to win something, or you can send them behind the scenes info and special offers at certain times of the year. In my case, people also get notifications for live webinars, that’s a big incentive. When people know me from Instagram, they often sign up just to see kind of what webinars come up. Because they know I’m not emailing all the time. But I’m really just emailing to say when something cool and free is coming up, it could be a resource booklet, or, or have a mini course, maybe even a video course. So I’ll talk another episode more about how these can be produced and how you can have integrate them. But this is a simple overview on what’s possible. And I think if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you don’t know where to start, the cheapest and easiest thing probably is to create a beautiful Canva. pdf in Canva. We’re just an overview of what you do a bit of your story, some of your tips, maybe some resources or recipes or practices that you want to share. And then you can upload that into your newsletter provider and send that out with your welcome email. And then I have a few more list building strategies that I want to share with you. So one idea is to host a giveaway with other people on social media. Usually the idea is to get many people to follow you. But usually a side effect is also that more people sign up for your newsletter, especially if you specifically mentioned that you can run ad campaigns, of course, so you can have a post on Instagram or Facebook, for example, specifically to get people to sign up with a nice graphic and then you can boost that that’s probably the easiest way to to run an ad dough. Of course, you can also use the Facebook ad manager. And in that way be more specific about the audiences that you want to target the the geographie digit geography of these people that you want to target the languages they speak, the interest that you had, that they have, and so forth. I’m not a specialist on Facebook ads. I do sometimes run them for my clients I have in the past, won them for myself. I’m not doing that at the moment because I really want to prioritise community building and networking, rather than spending money on ads. But it’s definitely also one way of building your newsletter list if you want to. And of course guest posts for other people’s blogs and interviews, for example, on podcasts are a great chance to mention your newsletter and get more people to sign up. You can also do some real life networking. I think that’s something that’s often overlooked. But if you print this as simple, short link to your sign up on your business cards, maybe on the back, that might be something great to get to point people to that you meeting at events. That’s not something I do. Usually I would like to be the kind of person but I like my home and working in my pyjamas. You can of course at the bottom of your current newsletter share with one who’s already receiving it through shared with someone else, just to encourage them if they like what they read, they can pass it on and that might get people more excited. And then of course you need to continuously talk about it on social media. And if you know that you’re someone who’s struggling with that I would invite you to consider a scheduler like later calm for example, or tailwind where you can sit down once a month and you can challenge yourself to mention your newsletter, say once a week and your schedule that in so that you’re not kind of chickening out on the day because it doesn’t feel good to share. And I so get that and I’ve just recorded an episode on online marketing for Android. So if you haven’t listened to that, please do that might help you out as well. Yeah, these these is kind of a brief overview. This there’s so much I would love to expand on but I’m also intentionally keeping these episodes pretty brief. And I just want to give you an overview of certain topics and in the new year, I’ll definitely go deeper and run more free workshops on this and then of course, if you’re interested you can check out the DIY business magic podcast to which you can get access because by pledging $11 or more on my Patreon cool let me know if you have any questions if this makes sense. Have this anything else that you want to want me to talk about have a really beautiful day. Bye