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How Email Newsletters Benefit A Freelance Biz

Several readers have asked for my insights on email newsletters, and this happens to be a topic that really excites me. (I know - I'm a huge nerd! I handled the email newsletter at my first job, and I've been hooked ever since.) So, all this week, I'll be blogging about email newsletters, including how to choose an email vendor, build your list, and create useful content.

But first let's talk about the why.

Here are the two main reasons why creative professionals or small business owners would want an email newsletter.

1. Not everyone reads blogs. When I first started The Urban Museletter, some readers asked why I chose to offer an email newsletter when I already had a blog and offered RSS via email or feed reader. Well, some people are just not blog people, but they still want to know what I'm up to. And I always include some information that isn't on my blog for those who do read my blog on a regular basis.

2. Newsletters are more customizable than blogs. Most email vendors allow you to segment lists and customize your messaging. For instance, you could include the recipient's first name in the subject line or in the opening of the email so it feels more personal. You could also email a specific message to a select subsection of your list (say, people who signed up during a certain time period or purchased your book if you have one). Another great feature of email newsletters is that you can test messaging for its effectiveness (for instance, dividing your list into two groups and testing two different subject lines to see which one gets a better open rate). Try doing that on your blog!

Now, a caveat: some businesses rely on their email newsletters to push products or services when business is slow and ignore their email list the rest of the time. While some customers appreciate getting a last minute deal or an email exclusive offer, I urge clients not to focus too much on overt sales messaging. Newsletters can be a great way to develop relationships with customers/readers through regular communication and useful content. Sure, you can include a few links to products they might want to buy or blog posts they might want to read, but if it's completely self-promotional, then many readers start to tune it out completely.

We'll be discussing newsletter content, list-building strategies, and options for newsletter programs later this week. In the meantime, I'd love to know if you use a newsletter to promote your business or write newsletters for clients. What challenges have you faced? Or what worked really well for you?

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How Email Newsletters Benefit A Freelance Biz + life