Creating Mailing Lists and Newsletters

brilliant news card

Written by Heather Leavers of Nifty Knits

My last post explained why you want to send a newsletter and about setting up your mailing list …now, how do you get people to sign up?

Some people will sign up just because your newsletter link is out there. Others may need a little incentive! I started by asking people to sign up for my newsletter as a condition of entry for a giveaway. This gets lots of interest, but of course it is entirely possible they will unsubscribe once the giveaway is over. Equally, they may be yours for life …as long as your newsletters are interesting. I share the sign-up link on twitter and facebook now and then too.

Never send a newsletter to anyone who hasn’t signed up, as it is considered as an unsolicited newsletter spam.  I know it’s frustrating, having all those lovely email addresses from past buyers – but avoid spam!

When (and how often) to send a newsletter?

Now this is a tricky question! I have signed up for several newsletters. Some come at infrequent random intervals (a bit like my own!) and some come as often as once a week. Weekly is too often for me, but may suit some people – very much a judgement call.

“Gina from Down at the Farm said she prefers the short and sweet newsletter that lets you click through to the full article if interested. Some more frequent newsletters can be a pain and you end up deleting them without opening. I hate the newsletters that just sell things – so boring and not informative at all.”

What can be in a newsletter?

Anything and everything!

“Brenda of Gweddus Designer Crochet likes to see pictures, and success stories which spur her on. She advises against “for sale” lists, as this is too much of a hard-sell.”

I always have a picture or two of new knits. Sometimes I have a special offer, a code for subscribers to quote for a discount, news of a giveaway. One newsletter I signed up for has a weekly haiku – whatever you think will interest your readers. You might have a great tutorial to share, or a print-out.

“Jennie from Whimsical Wren Jewellery says she likes the way you see a bit more of the personality of the purveyor. I have found that people respond to my newsletters personally, as though I sent them a personal letter. I like this as it makes both myself and the reader form a relationship as it were. It is the closest you can get to chatting to your customers.”

I generally write in depth on my blog, but link to it on the newsletter. I think it’s important not to overwhelm readers with too much at once!

“Deborah from Bee Honey Designs told me about a newsletter she enjoys. It has useful information in it about the products but also information about why they are better… eg the amount of twists in the thread and why it’s important to have more rather than less twists but how that makes a more expensive product as it uses more thread. They also have articles about needles: which is best for different types of sewing and embroidery. They have details of new products too. Oh and they always have a very corny joke at the bottom of the newsletter…the sort you can’t help smiling at. I like it as it’s a mix of education (learned loads from them) advertising and humour.”

I always include links to my shops, facebook, twitter, blog …and of course the unsubscribe button.

Jamie of Prototyper says he gets lots of newsletters, many of which go straight in the bin, so it’s important to make sure you are sending interesting and relevant information.

Over to you now – get those newsletters up and running!

Email hilary@folksy.co.uk if you are interested in finding out more about writing for the Folksy blog.



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5 Comments

  • July 8, 2010

    Clare's Creations

    Very interesting Heather, thanks for doing this x

  • July 8, 2010

    Lynsey aka Swirlyarts

    Another great article and thanks for using my postage stamp gift tags at the top of the page!

  • July 8, 2010

    midnightcoiler

    A newsletter for my business is something I haven’t tried yet. It’s interesting to hear what you and other people like and dislike about them.

  • July 8, 2010

    waterrose

    Great information as always Knifty! I haven’t tried doing a newsletter yet, but it’s on my to do list!

  • July 8, 2010

    Victoria

    Great post, fantastic tips really enjoyed this post thanks : D