Is it just me, or are email lists having a huge moment right now? Yes, newsletters have been around for ages, but it seems that recently, it’s becoming the norm for everyone to have one. And for good reason. If done well, newsletters have the power to grow your income, authority, and community in a way unlike almost anything else.
Even though we can rationalize why newsletters are awesome, there’s still a tough question to be answered:
What in the heck should you send to your email list?!
I struggled with that question for ages. Though I started building my list over two years ago, I didn’t start sending a weekly newsletter until about 20 months later, simply because I had no idea what to send. Now? I’m totally in the newsletter groove and send a weekly email to our nearly 6,000 subscribers. Today, I’m sharing eight things you can send to your email list so you can stop feeling confused and start rockin’ your own newsletter.
1. Free downloads, worksheets, or e-books
People absolutely love free stuff, so long as it’s highly useful or targeted at them specifically. If you’re unsure of what to send, starting with freebies is a way to draw your audience in and show them how much knowledge you have on a particular topic. If the freebie is helpful, it also establishes trust between you and your subscribers and primes them for any paid products you may want to release in the future.
You can also use free downloads as “content upgrades,” which are additional materials that a reader can sign up to receive after reading a blog post.
Related: Here’s our free library of worksheets and e-books for bloggers + biz owners
2. A behind-the-scenes look at your life, blog, or business
Since your newsletters won’t be broadcasted all over your website, they’re a good place to get a bit more personal. Subscribers enjoy getting a behind-the-scenes look at how you run your blog or business and it can establish a deeper, more personable bond between you and your fans.
3. Income reports
Some bloggers share their income reports on their blogs for anyone to see, but if you feel apprehensive about putting your income on your website, then you could instead send monthly income reports to your subscribers! Income reports can provide a lot of value to aspiring bloggers and business owners and are usually popular online. Plus, it sounds like a pretty enticing opt-in offer if you let potential subscribers know that they’ll get your income report each month.
4. Traffic/Growth Reports
Similar to #3, you could send reports to your subscribers about the traffic or growth you received on your website or social media over the past month. We’re all a little nosy when it comes to what other people are doing, so getting to learn about someone else’s growth (and the steps they took to get there), can be both useful and interesting to your tribe.
Related: Here’s an example of a traffic report we recently shared
5. An extra, exclusive blog post
Having trouble thinking of what to send your subscribers? Here’s a really simple way to decide: just send them an additional, exclusive blog post. They likely subscribed to your list because they love what you share on your blog, so sending a blog post with similar content would probably go over very well. This also keeps your routine roughly the same. Instead of trying to do something totally different for your newsletter, this suggestion means that you just have to do a little extra of what you already do.
6. Reminders and News
If you have products, services, or events as part of your brand, then this option could work very well. Instead of sending out new content to your subscribers, you could simply send them updates when you’ve added new products to your shop, are offering a discount, are teaching a workshop, etc. This keeps your subscribers up to date and advertises all of the awesome things you’re doing.
7. Recap of recent or popular blog posts
Just starting out? Want to keep things simple? You could send an email with a recap of some of your most recent or popular blog posts! It’s unlikely that every single one of your subscribers reads each of your recent posts, so sending them an email update could be a great way to remind them about your site and drive traffic back to your blog.
8. A remix of an old blog post
Have an old-but-awesome post that no one seems to notice anymore? Remix it and use it as a newsletter! You can change it up a bit so that the information is up to date and infuse it with any other tips or ideas you want to add. This can be an awesome way to recycle older content.
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A few more pointers, my newsletter lovin’ peeps:
The most important factor in sending great newsletters is making your emails useful for your subscribers. Whether you’re sending an update about your life, an income report, or something else, always aim to answer, “How is this helpful to my readers?”
Related: My #1 Tip for Writing Better Blog Posts
How many subscribers do you need before you can start sending a newsletter? Honestly, I recommend getting started as soon as one person signs up! Don’t hold yourself back because of a number you’ve internally equated with “success.” The numbers will eventually come, but you need practice and a routine in order to really make your newsletter stand out. Plus, you can always tweak and reuse old newsletters later on, once your list has expanded.
How often should you send your newsletter? Ideally, I think you should send out a newsletter once a week, but not right away. Why not? Because it can be very overwhelming (for you) to send them out that frequently when you’re getting started. Trying to send out a weekly newsletter, and failing to do so, might be exactly what will cause you to throw in the towel for 20 months like I did. 😉 Instead, start with once or twice a month and work your way up as it begins to feel manageable. It’s much better to start slowly and grow gradually than to begin with a sprint and quickly run out of steam.
Related: Why You Should Start Building an Email List