If you’re like me, starting a newsletter sat on my “someday/maybe” list for a very long time. I put it off for quite a while before finally getting around to sending out regular updates to the friends of my shop earlier this year. And only very recently have I started sending a separate weekly email where I share tips, tools, and inspiration for creatives who sell their products online.
A newsletter is a direct channel to “your people.” It is one of the best places for you to build trust, entertain, and inspire. It is great for keeping your business, your art, your brand, or your offering on top of the minds of your readers, customers, and fans.
I want to tell you about something else—something unexpected—that could also happen for you when you start sending out regular newsletters to your subscribers.
In addition to cultivating a loyal following by delivering high value content that keeps your readers coming back for more, you’ll be doing YOURSELF a favor. Yes, yourself! You’ll become more efficient, more productive, and more creative overall. It might seem a bit dramatic to say this, but it’s something I noticed right away in my own work, once I started sending email newsletters to my list.
The practice of writing and sending a regular newsletter will make you:
A more consistent blogger. My newsletter template took a fair amount of time to set up. But once I got the pieces in place, the writing part that I do each week is fairly quick and easy to pull together—it’s the equivalent of writing an email to a friend. The other major pieces of content that I regularly include are really just links to my blog. Which means… I need to have written blog posts! Kind of obvious, sure, but the practice of writing a newsletter can keep you on a self-imposed schedule for content creation that, if you’re like me, you’re more likely to uphold.
More strategic when it comes to content creation. Content, content, content. We all need more of it. If you’re already creating beautiful, custom pics for Pinterest, why not include these in a newsletter? Need a more personalized image to go with your message to subscribers? Why not look to the recent photos you’ve shared on Instagram and grab one of those? You’ll start to see that the content you’re working hard to create can work for you in more than one place, and soon you’ll find that sending out a quality newsletter is not a huge time-consuming task.
More in the know. In both of my newsletters, I link out to relevant articles, books, videos, and podcasts that I know my readers will love. I spend time every few days perusing my favorite websites and blogs to look for fresh, interesting, and relevant content for my readers. If you choose to include a list of links or a weekly roundup like this, you’ll be doing the market research you should be doing anyway! By checking out and sharing interesting tidbits from the brands, publications, and social media accounts that your ideal customer loves, you’ll be more connected and tapped into their lifestyle—reading, absorbing, and listening in on what’s happening in the field or industry you’re working in.
The kind of biz owner who actually talks with his/her subscribers and customers. Give it a try. End each email by asking your readers to respond with a comment, question, or even just welcome them to say hello and introduce themselves. You may be surprised by what you hear and how that shapes the direction of your brand, or at the very least, the type of things you share with your subscribers.
More aware of what subscribers really care about. It’s one thing to listen to what your subscribers are saying. It’s another to see what they do. I always get a bump in sales when I send a promotional email for a flash sale. And I also notice that my fellow creative entrepreneurs appreciate learning about specific tools and resources like apps or checklists that they can directly apply to their own work. When I share these sorts of articles, I notice a much higher click-through rate. Try different things out—a variety of subject lines, a mix of content, more text and less images, or vice versa—and see how your customer or reader interacts with what you’re sharing.
What do you think? Do you send out regular newsletters? Have you noticed anything about this practice that has impacted your business? Or, are you considering sending one but are facing challenges to getting started? Please let us know in the comments below—we’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic!
Rebecca Pitts makes and sells custom nursery decor and family heirlooms, available for purchase in her online shop, Hudson + Daughter. She also shares tips, tools, and inspiration for creatives who sell their products online on her blog and in her weekly newsletter for creative entrepreneurs. When you sign up for the newsletter here, you’ll also receive a free guide, How to Create Email Newsletters that your Customers Can’t Wait to Open.