- Your website/Blog
- Social media channels
- Email Newsletters
I am working with a few real estate clients right now creating content for their blogs, which then gets distributed out through their social channels and sent to their agents for the agents to use in their email newsletters. It’s all a nice well oiled machine. For my clients. But what about me? What about my own personal business of my 365Kona work?
My 365 Things to Do in Kona page is growing with over 15,000 fans and now with four contributors we are a machine pumping out daily content. But posting to Facebook is a lot easier than actually sitting down and writing a blog post..and even more challenging, designing an email newsletter, creating an email data base, choosing content and hitting that send button. Most small business owners would rather put needles in their eyeballs than send out an email newsletter. I get it!
One thing I pride myself on is never asking my clients to do anything I am not doing for myself. I blog and track my stats. I boost posts on Facebook and track my stats. Everything I learn from what I am doing on my 365Kona site and page, I share with my clients. SO, being consistent in sending out an email newsletter was my next challenge. I had been doing a sporadic email newsletter using Aweber for a few years, but then, after moving away from Hawaii, I let it go. Bad idea. I should have kept that email list. That was 330 email addresses that my advertisers would have liked to have seen in order to want to spend money with me. Lesson learned.
So, I am starting fresh. I created a new campaign using MailChimp, which for only $9 a month is less expensive than Aweber’s $25. MailChimp has nice HTML graphics and does a great job of giving you open rate stats. It IS challenging to learn how to do the initial set up..I have to be honest with you. As I progress on this journey, I am going to get better and with my newfound skill, I can offer my services to others.
My website design partner had installed a button on my website for people to sign up for my newsletter three years ago, so I have been consistently getting emails from people who want to tap more deeply into the 365Kona life, so I hired my daughter to enter all those emails into the MailChimp campaign. (Using your kids to do data entry tasks is a good way to keep going on your marketing goals when that little bit of “stick a needle in my eye first” piece of work is completed.)
Then, I got a nice kick in the pants from my friend Katie Lance, “Get Social Smart” founder who called me to lend two pieces of advice in email newsletter marketing:
- Be consistent
- Keep it simple
She sends out a newsletter each Saturday and has made it point to do this no matter what for enough time to amass 30,000 people in her email newsletter list! Now, of course, advertisers want to get a piece of that action and she is monetizing all that consistency. I want to do that, too.
Today, I hit the send button. A damn good feeling. This is after hours of teaching myself MailChimp’s formatting/style/settings in developing a new template. I am sure my next newsletter will be easier now that I have set it up the first time. My goal is to send out an email every two weeks. Katie said monthly (which most people do) is not consistent enough. I also don’t want to Spam my list, so I am going to send out a newsletter at the beginning of the month with a calendar of events and links to blogs I have written during the month. The second part of the month, I will focus on photos and videos that are the most popular on the FB page.
I am outlining this for you here to show you that I am a test case in transit. My goal is to increase the amount of subscribers I have by inviting my fans on FB to join the list now that I have a “product” to send to them. Once I hit 500 subscribers, I am going to reach out to Kona businesses to see if they want to advertise as a package on my 365Kona assets, my blog, my page and my newsletter. I am also creating a “Join my newsletter, get a gift” and developing a PDF of the best restaurants in Kona. And I am challenging myself right here, right now, to get advertisers to pay to get their links on that gift. Because..this is how it all works for anyone selling anything on the web. I am selling the eyeballs of a very targeted demographic that I have cultivated over the past 7 years…and yes, email newsletters are part of a branding strategy for myself and my advertisers.
SO, are newsletters a pain in the ass? Yes. Are they a necessary evil? Yes. Are they a conduit for creativity, passion, and connection? Yes.
Going to track my open rate now… (I tweaked the email by taking out a few images and changing the subject header..what a difference!)
PS: Here is the link to my newsletter if you want to see what I did. I will get better. Oh, yes, I will.