Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 22 - Publishing My First E-Mail Newsletter

Forget all the reasons why it won't work and believe the one reason it will!

Yesterday I completed and sent out my first e-mail newsletter. I can't believe it took me so long to do this! When I first contemplated starting a newsletter, the idea was daunting. I had so many questions and was worried that I would be undertaking a new task that could quickly and easily become unmanageable. My worries included:
  • How do I sign up people?
  • How do I keep a list of subscribers?
  • Can I keep up with subscribing and unsubscribing?
  • How do I format my newsletters for computers, tablets, and mobile devices?
  • What's the best way of sending an e-mail to many people?
  • What content should I provide?
And those were just the top worries!

After a bit of research, I was able to put my worries to rest. Using MailChimp was a great decision! Since it's free up to 2000 subscribers, I haven't had to pay anything yet and they took care of all my concerns.

As I described in my blog post about my e-mail newsletter, Day 18 - How to Grow my E-mail Newsletter List, I had to come up with ways to ask people to join my newsletter list. However, MailChimp made it easy to embed the sign up code on my website and also provided a URL for people to directly sign up. The page is simple and easy to use:

MailChimp handles all the other technical details that I didn't want to worry about. They maintain the list of subscribers and take care of unsubscribes automatically.

One of my favorite features of Mailchimp are their predesigned templates. When you begin creating your newsletter, their website easily takes you through the entire process step-by-step. You can either select from your own templates, design a template, or select from their large collection of predesigned templates.

There are literally hundreds of predesigned templates to choose from with multiple selections for images and text. The text is completely customizable - you are not restricted to just a few fonts, sizes, colors, etc. Most important (in my opinion) is they format the templates so they display correctly on computers and mobile devices - that's a huge benefit!

The editing process was also extremely easy and I had my newsletter completed within a half hour. I selected a template that included a coupon so that I could advertise my 10% off for newsletter subscribers. I also made sure to include a URL link in each image so that anyone clicking on an image would be taken directly to my website.

After creating my newsletter, I just click 'Send' and it's on its way to all my subscribers! 

MailChimp also provides statistics, so I know how many people actually opened up my newsletter and clicked on one or more of the images. That's extremely valuable information.

Here is the completed newsletter:

In my next blog post, I'll discuss tips that I learned about and utilized myself regarding newsletter content.