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Prior to looking into this I had been considering adding a newsletter to my own site so the apparent added value from a well subscribed newsletter has piqued my interest.
I'd be interested in any comments/experiences on how to best utilise a newsletter... eg getting targeted paid advertising to appear on topical pages, PPC, affiliate deals, all of the above.
How often should a new newsletter be released? Do they involve a major workload...need for professional authors.. distribution via email or a link to a html page?.. in other words, anything you can contribute to a realistic overview of newsletters.
I have been using newsletters for about 2 years now and with a very good result - but it takes time. That is lesson number one: It takes (a lot) of time. First you have to build the list, the trust in your subscribers and the permission to talk to them on a regular basis. Then - and only then - you will truly benifit from such a list.
I work with a strategy based on Seth Godin's Permission Marketing. You can read more about that here:
Read it! Building a list is about bulding permission and trust. An remember, opt-in is the ONLY way to build that list!
I have found out by experience that you need to put the newsletter out at least once a month if you want to keep you subscribers attention and not forget you. More often if you have the content to back it up. But do not disturb your members with an e-mail unless you have something valuable to say. If you get them used to that evry single e-mail from you is valuable then they will read it far more often then they else would.
And a last thing: The more easy you make it to unsubscribe the more sign-ups you get. Trust me on this, it works :)
I've found the best combination to be a short, single paragraph attention-grabbing summary followed by a link to a page containing fuller details.
A few more points:
If your reason for sending out the newsletter is basically commercial (ie it's a sales pitch), try to hide that as much as possible. Including links to free articles, information or whatever helps convince the recipient that this isn't just another spam...
Also, keep it brief and to the point. You need to stand out in a busy inbox, and don't want to bury your message with waffle.
> more easy you make it to unsubscribe the more sign-ups you get
I couldn't agree more :)