Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Day 17 - Starting an E-Mail Newsletter

 The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
- Steve Jobs

If there is one thing I've read over and over, it's that having an e-mail newsletter is important to a thriving business. In fact, some people believe it's their number one sales avenue. After reading a lot about the benefits of e-mail newsletters, I decided that this was a definite step I needed to take if I'm going to grow my business.

A couple of main reasons I want to start a newsletter are:
  1. Keep a database of customers that are interested in my products. This is especially important if anything were to happen to my Etsy store. I need to be able to communicate with people on my own and not rely on Etsy.
  2. I want to offer loyal customers discounts and specials. Not everyone has a Facebook account, and currently, that is the only platform I use for offering my coupon codes and contest announcements.

Setting up a newsletter service
I chose MailChimp for my newsletter service. One main reason is that it's free for the first 2000 subscribers. I figure if I get to 2000 subscribers, I'm doing something right and I'll be happy to pay for the service! I really only need a basic service at this time and they get good reviews.

Just some of the reasons for using a newsletter service include:
  1. Pre-approved to send bulk e-mail. Not all e-mail delivery systems are the same and can cause a huge headache when you try to send out a bulk e-mail. Having a service takes care of this potential issue.
  2. Analytics and statistics. They provide special tools to separately track how many emails are received and how many are actually opened. You can even see who opened and who clicked through and what was clicked. Plus, you’ll receive reports on unsubscribes, bounces, etc.
  3. Formatting. They will verify that your email complies with standards and will display correctly across all modern computers, web browsers, and email systems.
  4. They will host and manage your list. They will manage unsubscribe requests and “bounce-backs” from recipients whose email addresses are no longer active. You can even separate lists into multiple groups.

Signing up with MailChimp was quick and painless. I was able to create my first list and signup form within a half hour.

Here is my first sign up form:
Theresa Rose Designs Newsletter Sign up

The next step is to get the sign up form up on my website, Facebook, and blog. I will cover that subject in the next blog post.