When starting out marketing with email newsletters, printers can get hung up on not having a big list of subscribers. The best advice is to keep it simple.
Make your email sign up superbly simple that it becomes a natural part of your normal marketing and promotion routine.
Your list of email addresses is one of the most precious marketing assets you can have. For that reason, it’s important to spend some time doing it right, even if it means growing your list from scratch. Therefore…
Don’t be afraid to launch an email newsletter with just one or two readers.
Truth be told, if you are sending out a superb newsletter that improves your readers’ lives and businesses, you will be genuinely motivated to get more people to sign up. Whether you start with one reader or a 100, your process can be the same…and it WORKS!
Here are 9 superbly simple ways printers can increase their email sign ups:
1. Email signatures. You probably have a standing email signature branded to your company (you should!). Update your company signature block so every employee is promoting the newsletter. It goes without saying that everyone in your company should be added to the list. IDEA: I recommend a simple little contest in your newsletter to keep employees reading each week. You can hide “Easter eggs” (like code words, numbers or images) in your newsletter. Whoever replies to the newsletter first gets a prize. Including content about employees for your general readers — such as work anniversaries, birthdays and photos — keeps everyone coming back.
2. Printed items. Add your sign up info to your trade show materials and marketing collateral. IDEA: Create an easy-to-remember URL so people can sign up quickly on your website versus using the email service’s sign up page. If you create a landing page, don’t clutter it. You want the site visitor to focus on the prime directive, which is to enter their email address.
3. Colleague newsletters. Partner with a compatible business or organization to appear in their email or printed newsletter. Write a helpful guest post, run an ad, be their sponsor, or help them in some way in exchange for a link to your sign up page. Appearing in their newsletter conveys credibility and an implied endorsement. IDEA: Ask those who are generous if they would like to write for your newsletter in return. Guest posters with extensive social media networks or a large lists can be a stepping stone to new subscribers. Important: do not use other people’s lists to send your newsletter. Follow best practices for emailing and avoid situations where you might be reported for spam.
4. Print sales. When your print salespeople meet with customers and prospective customers, have them talk up your newsletter and how helpful it is. IDEA: Have them politely ask: “Do you mind if I sign you up for my weekly newsletter?” Most people will say yes, thinking they can always unsubscribe later. If your content is really awesome, which it should be, many times they will keep reading.
5. Social media, of course. Post your newsletters on your social media channels. If you’re a printer, you’re probably on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest at the least. On any of these channels, you can promote your newest post, older posts, or a link to your archive. On LinkedIn, post the new edition of your newsletter as an update, but don’t overdo it with older posts unless you have a fresh comment or it’s relevant to something happening in the news. IDEA: Include a link to an evergreen edition or your archive in the descriptive part of your profile or under your contact information.
6. Images. Use colorful, eye-catching graphics or social cards to promote your post. IDEA: Start with a beautiful, captivating image when using Instagram or Pinterest and work the newsletter around the visual content.
7. Give a gift. Let people know they can receive a gift (PDF download, e-book or a email course, for example) for signing up. IDEA: Take advantage of your email service’s free automation features to promptly deliver the gift by email.
8. Make a presentation. Anytime you present a speech, appear on a panel, or are a guest on a podcast, ask if it would be okay to let listeners know about your newsletter. IDEA: I pass around printed postcards with a place where audience members can write comments or questions. I ask for their email address so I can let them know about my upcoming events. Most people fill out the card, including email address, and hand it to me after my presentation.
9. Ask people to share. Always include buttons for your recipients to share and forward the newsletter. Having a mobile version of newsletter is crucial when asking readers to take action. It is frustrating to press tiny buttons and links within a newsletter that is not optimized for mobile devices. IDEA: In addition to a button, actually write in the text of your newsletter: “Please share this newsletter with anyone who might enjoy it.” These types of referrals are your most powerful form of promotion because they come from happy (Yay!) readers.
Superbly simple, right?
When you’ve done everything on the list, circle around and do them again. Practice makes perfect! After you do, drop me a line and let me know how many new email readers you sign up this month!
Sandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for printing companies. She builds sales and marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul, with affordable tools and your own people…and without stress! Find @sandyhubbard on Twitter each Wednesday at 4 PM ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr with a lively online discussion for printers and those who love print.