Rebuilding My Business

From the trenches: Newsletter edition

We’ve officially had the Blog Networking Tips newsletter for a month. It has been a huge learning curve but, surprisingly, it has also been really fun. We’e reached 72 subscribers with very little promotion. This is awesome for someone that doesn’t have an incentive or pop up.

This post covers some of the little lessons I’ve learned over the past month. I’d recommend setting up a newsletter just for the learning experience. Taking action doesn’t compare to just reading about it.

Conversational writing translates really well in emails

One of my concerns with building an email list was that I disliked hype laden emails. I wanted to write something that is friendly but didn’t know how that fit in with all the pitches I was getting in my inbox.

I decided that I’d wing it. I’d go with my gut and would let the audience tell me what they disliked. This method resonated with me as I had trouble finding an email style that resonated with me. This risk paid off.

When I wrote my last email about moving, I got a lot of responses from people with support and advice. I got two emails congratulating me on my writing style saying that they normally don’t respond to emails.

I’m sure I’m probably breaking the rules as I’m learning, but doing it this way has allowed me to test out a new tool that I’m really uncomfortable with.

Your feelings will get hurt when people unsubscribe

When I discovered our first official unsubscriber, I got angry. I took it as a personal rejection. I was hurt when I saw the person still followed me on twitter.

I quickly realized that some people just wanted pure content and less personality. That’s cool. It’s not a slight against you. You just have to figure out if more people are engaging with your content than unsubscribing.

Don’t expect an instant response

When I sent out my first newsletters, I expected instant action. I thought that I’d get lots of responses, affiliate sales and traffic to the links contained in the post. In some cases, I’d get an instant reply. Paul Cunningham and Andy Hayes have been really helpful and supporting in this process.

What I have found is that it is great for networking. I’ve been contacted by people thanking me for recommending them in their newsletter. People have responded with their own feedback on the products I have recommended. This is really valuable information for someone that acts as a filter.

We have made several affiliate sales based on the newsletters, and it’s great for building my brand. I don’t believe that a simple newsletter will solve your problems until you’ve built up traction.

I regret not starting a list sooner

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you should not let your fear rule your business decisions.

I was terrified of starting a list. I was comfortable with blogging, no, I was awesome at what I did. I didn’t want to start that learning curve and make mistakes quite publicly when I had just found my freelance mojo.

It has been difficult, but it has been worth it. I’ve been able to learn so much by observe how people interact with the content and by asking for feedback within the post. It helps me ascertain what my core audience wants. The learning experience has far outweighed any negatives.