Once you have an established blog, a newsletter is a great way to engage your readers. People come to read your blog in lots of different ways. Some subscribe by email, others follow on Bloglovin', some just follow on social media and go through the links of posts you share. Then there are others who are content to receive a regular newsletter - be it weekly, monthly or however regularly you wish to send it.
I started my newsletter about 3 years ago using Mailchimp. This newsletter service is free if you have less than 2000 subscribers and you can send up to 12000 emails a month, which easily allows for a weekly letter.
There are other newsletter services you can use some are free, others you pay for, but since this is the only one I've used and am very happy with it - it's the only one I can comment on.
I found Mailchimp very easy to set up my account and the sign up forms etc. I have my newsletter sign up in the sidebar of my blog with this image:
I've chosen to offer 3 free tutorials only to my subscribers as an incentive to sign up!
Mail chimp has clear instructions for you to set up this sign up form, and subsequent forms for confirmation and final receipt of any free gifts you may offer on sign up. I just had to set this up once and it just runs by itself now.
How often to send a newsletter?
Up until the end of last year when I took a step back from blogging, I would send a newsletter out every week on Monday morning as my weekly linky party started.
I used one of the templates available on Mailchimp to set up a newsletter that had a similar look to my blog. Pictures, with links to the previous week's posts and a chatty intro each week.
Then when I took a step back, I didn't send any newsletters at all for several weeks.
Once I was back into the swing of blogging and finding my direction again, I started up my newsletters once more but now they only go out monthly.
Weekly or monthly doesn't seem to make any real difference so far as I can see from my stats. Taking a break hasn't seemed to really effect things either!
Check the figures
For each newsletter you send out, you can check on your mailchimp dashboard how many people opened the mail and which links they clicked on.
For me - on average about 30% of my subscribers open my newsletters and around 10% click on the links. Mailchimp tells me this is about average for my blog topic!
You can compare each newsletter you send to see what people are interested in and what they're not. The subject of the newsletter can make a difference too! I generally keep mine much the same - something like "What's new at Creating My Way To Success". But occasionally - just to grab interest "New Free Tutorial!" or something that highlights a great post or a special event can be good too.
More or less every newsletter I send up results in a few unsubscribes. I always feel a little twinge of sadness but I know not everyone actually wants the newsletter and some just sign up for the free gift. You have to learn to not worry about those who unsubscribe and focus on keeping those who actually read your newsletters happy!
A way to sell
A loyal newsletter subscriber list is a great thing to have if you sell your creations, e-books or tutorials.
It's a good idea to offer people who subscribe to your newsletters a free gift that is similar to the things you sell. That way it's like a free sample of your work, and if they like it, they are more likely to buy more.
How about you?
Do you have a newsletter for your blog?
Are there any services other than Mailchimp that you can recommend?
Do you subscribe to any newsletters yourself? and if so, what do you like or dislike about them?