Over the last few months we have been testing how well emailing a weekly newsletter would work in driving traffic to our blog. I am glad to report that this system works very well. For every 100 emails sent out, it drives 45 people to the site as a visitor. We currently send out 3000+ emails a week to our customers.
So how do you get started?
1. Choose a method to send your newsletter
There are many ways to send out newsletters. The ones I found to work poorly entailed pasting everyone’s email into a BCC. (Note: email servers have rules in place to automatically reject those emails).
The most successful newsletters use an online software. I have used many different services and software, but my personal favorite is Constant Contact. They have a very easy to use interface with over 200 free templates to design a professional looking newsletter. You can even build your own custom template from scratch if you wish to keep your own branding.
2. Add a subscribe to newsletter box to your site
Now that you have picked a software, ensure that it is easy to add people to your newsletter. You do not want to manually add people to your newsletter as it is a very tedious and time consuming process.
Most softwares like Constant Contact have a wizard to create a subscribe to newsletter box. This box will automatically add people to your newsletter. These wizards will create custom code for you to place on your site with a simple cut and paste.
If you do collect emails, it is important that your newsletters are all through a double opt-in process. So when people sign-up through your site (that is a single opt-in) they should confirm again through a verification email that they do wish to receive emails (making it a double opt-in). Again a software like Constant Contact does that automatically.
3. Grab content from your site and email it once a week
I know this sounds very time consuming and is why you probably don’t do it now. A few months ago I built a script that will email you the weekly content from your blog making this step very easy. You can view the wordpress digest script and add it to your site (just be sure to rename it to blogdigest.php instead of .txt).
4. Prune and clean up your list for next time
Any bounced emails that were received should be cleared out. This will keep your list accurate and easy to manage. If you receive any notification to be removed from your list you should immediately comply with the request. I know that Constant Contact does this for your automatically.
Following these basic steps will build up your site traffic and build a strong community around your page. If you’re hesitant to pay for a service like Constant Contact, they do offer a no obligation 60 day trial. So test these steps yourself for free and see the results for yourself.