If your email newsletter subscribers are dragging, you might want to get back to basics and ask: “why would someone actually want to signup for your newsletter?”
This isn’t meant to be aggressive or provocative, but it is about putting yourself in the shoes of your potential subscribers. By doing this, you can understand your their motivations and the value that you can create for your subscribers.
If you know this, then you can produce an email newsletter that will create real benefits for them and in turn you will get exactly what you want: a growing list of email subscribers with increased engagement.
Think about the benefit your subscribers will get
So how do you go about actually putting yourself in your reader’s shoes? In our Email Blueprint package that aims to help small publishers monetize newsletters, we give detailed tools for understanding the value that you provide your subscribers and how you can use that to craft your content and the marketing language on your signup forms.
But in short, we look at it using the following steps based on marketing best practices:
- Analyze the value of each individual piece of content that you provide in your email newsletter
- Use that to understand the key value proposition of your email newsletter as a whole
- Then use that to craft your marketing language on your signup form to encourage your readers to become subscribers
To start off, it is important to think about the content that you are providing in your email newsletter and what the actual value is that you are delivering to your subscribers. A good way to go about this is to break your newsletter into different blocks of content.
Let’s use an example to picture this a bit more clearly. Let’s say that you have an email newsletter that has the following sections of content: Curated Stories from other sources, Summaries of stories from your own website and Upcoming Events.
If you think about the value that this email newsletter is providing your subscribers, it is definitely saving them time: you are curating links from other sources and from your own website that are interesting and have local appeal. You are also providing some exclusive content: you are rounding up events from the area that are spread across different sources.
So if you were to summarize the value proposition of your email newsletter as a whole, you could say that “you are giving someone everything they need to know about [your area] in a 5-minute email.”
Then you can take this summary of your value proposition and use it in all of the signup forms on your website. So on your pop-up forms or on your toolbar widget, or wherever you are putting a form that ask people to signup, you are not asking them for a favor: “please subscribe to our newsletter.” Instead, you are offering a valuable service in exchange for their email address: “Get everything you need to know about our city in 5-minutes, every day, for free -> Signup here now this form.”
Common problems with email newsletters and how to fix them
We recently reviewed 100 local news sites and came across a lot of good email newsletter practices as well as many more in need of improvement.
Two of the most common mistakes we saw were email newsletters that did not provide real value for subscribers and websites with a lack of clear marketing language on newsletter sign up forms.
First, imagine a typical email newsletter that works like an RSS feed: you are essentially sending your readers a copy of every article that you post on your website via email or maybe a list of all the articles that you posted on your website today or last week. Does this really add value to your subscribers?
Let’s think about it in the same way we did before - you aren’t giving your subscribers anything they can’t get somewhere else, since they can read exactly the same content on your website. And are you really saving them time? You might be just causing them a headache of having to delete your email along with junk marketing emails…
If this sounds like your email newsletter, the answer isn’t that complicated - you just have to give your newsletter a bit more attention and focus. By curating stories in a more active way and adding a bit of editorial voice to your newsletter, you can create a much more unique and valuable product.
Then once you have that valuable product, don’t fall into the second common mistake which we mentioned earlier: lack of marketing. Think about the value that your newsletter is providing and articulate that in clear and concise marketing language on your sign up forms.
In the end, it’s not complicated - give your readers something valuable and then make sure you are selling and marketing that value. And if you do that, you can get your email newsletter signups going in the right direction again.