This July, my community Starving Artists launched our first newsletter. Since its inception this January, Starving Artists has quickly grown. In an effort to provide support and resources for artists, creatives and entrepreneurs, we decided a monthly newsletter would be the best way to get information out to our audience quickly and frequently. Here’s what we learned from launching our first campaigns!
Why Launch a Newsletter?
- To offer exclusive content to your audience (Examples include behind the scenes content, early event info, etc)
- To build a community that have actively opted in to your content: not reliant on the latest trending social media sites
- To send custom and relevant content into the inboxes of your customer – which means more clicks and views for your website.
1. Decide On a Newsletter Platform
If you’re just getting starting with email marketing, you’ll soon discover there are TONS of newsletter platforms to choose from. After researching and analyzing what our team needed, we narrowed it down to the five listed below.
We ultimately decided to go with MailChimp because we need a free option, and since it was our first venture into newsletter, we needed plenty of video tutorials. MailChimp is one of the older and more reliable platforms, so you can find tons of user-created video tutorials online to help you create yours. But research for yourself! Sign up for other newsletter platforms to start understanding what layout and features are available – and which are an absolute necessity for your business. You’ll also want to start studying newsletters you get in your inbox – what do you like about them, and what made you click?
Some of my favourites newsletters are now:
2. Strategize To Obtain Email Addresses
As we were designing our first newsletter, we also started collecting email addresses. Every month, I scheduled a day to input email new addresses that we collected. We also chose 1 day every 2 weeks to promote our newsletter on social media and gather more emails. Get in the habit now of asking people you meet in person if they would like to join your newsletter (especially at events).
Other strategies include…
- Create a separate signup landing page for your newsletter in advance.
- Consider creating a prompt on your website to collect signups
- Target Facebook groups with similar audiences
- Direct message community members on Instagram
- Create posts where members can comment their email address for you to manually add to your list
- Host a giveaway for signups
3. Invest In Your Newsletter Design
As mentioned above, we watched countless videos on how to design our newsletter. Ultimately, our social media manager wanted to develop his skills and took on the task. In weekly check-ins he would share his developments and what he was learning. MailChimp is very easy in the sense that you can pick a layout and insert your own branded elements to get your look and feel. Since we don’t currently have a website, we faced a problem when we didn’t have a landing page for certain content we wanted to promote. An easy fix for that was to use pages like IMGUR and other one-off content hosting websites.
In my research, I was able to find many talented freelance designers on sites like Upwork, Fivver and through social media. These designers helped design our layout in a manner in which we could easily alter to plug in different information for each future newsletter. Similar to a website, a great newsletter layout is an investment in your business or brand.
4. Track And Learn From Analytics
My favourite thing about using a newsletter platform is the analytics you can obtain. Like any good data set, you will need to send a few examples before you start to see the patterns. However, analytics are a story. They help you understand your audience and in turn, helps maximize your time spent with them. From these reports, you can see open rate, click rate, clicks per unique open, didn’t open, and who opened it the most. You can even see which media link performed the best, again, informing you on your audience preferences.
Newsletters can be a fabulous tool for your business or brand. We at Starving Artists are continuously learning how to maximize the use of this tool for our community. We are developing resources like worksheets, challenges, and incorporating entrainment elements like quizzes and pop culture references in upcoming newsletters. The only way to learn some of these skills is to start creating your first newsletter.