Thursday, May 05, 2016

Newsletters and ROI

Oh the joy of sending out a newsletter! And of course the equal joy of getting one! We all look forward to it, waiting with anticipation to create or receive it.

Yeah, that may not be how it is for some.  Me, being one.

Newsletters often get ignored in my inbox.  And I labor over creating them, wondering what topics to address, what people need or want and how to be witty.  If you LOVE newsletters please let me know why!

With that said, I will say that there are newsletters that I open.  Some I open the second I see them come in.  Brad Parks' newsletters are hilarious!  Perhaps the best author newsletter out there, in my opinion.  You get the information about his books that you want, but it's all done with humor.

I enjoy BookBub because I get value from it.  I find free and discounted books daily and am excited to see it show up in my inbox!

I enjoy The Big Thrill, which is a thriller magazine/newsletter because it has a variety of things I like, is easy to figure what they are sharing and looks great.  I only get it once a month and think of it more as an online magazine.

And I can't wait to get my weekly newsletter/eblast from Clients From Hell because, not only is it funny, not only are they all true stories, but they make me feel like I'm not along in my frustrations. I get a sense of community from it.

Here is my take on newsletters.

A newsletter should have personality.  It should be informative and fun so people look forward to getting it.

Newsletters are either meant to inform everyone who has expressed a specific interest in you and your work, or it is meant for that but also treated like a "member's only" event with special "insider" information to encourage more people to sign up.  You need to determine with is best for you.  If the newsletter is being done to get your message to the most people possible then I would suggest that you make it available on your website or blog a week or two after you send it.  It re-purposes the newsletter so you get more for the energy spent creating it.  Make sense?

But, if it's being used as a way to make people feel they are part of an exclusive community, then I would recommend that you put something in your social media to let others know what they are missing in order to encourage them to sign up.  

Newsletters can be time consuming, so be sure you get the most out of them.

I find that my own newsletters are most effective when I do them bi-monthly.  When I've done something fun and exciting.  When I have something of value to give or share.  When I make it easy (at-a-glance if possible) for people to see what's available.

I have different types of newsletters. I have one for the general public. I have one for industry people. I have one for book bloggers and librarians who specifically ask for our material.  Each type of group has a different need, so I break the newsletters up so I'm customizing to the needs of the recipient.  

Know what you want your newsletter to do.  Know how to re-purpose it, if possible.  It's a big resource and outreach for you, so get the biggest return on investment of your time and money when you create one.

Sheila English
CEO, Circle of Seven Productions