If you're already actively promoting yourself through blogging and social media sites, you may be wondering why you need to provide a separate newsletter as well. One of the main reasons is because it provides one of the best avenues for direct access and target marketing.
While people on social media sites have direct access to you by commenting on your posts and sending you direct messages, they often don't take advantage of it. Your news posts roll on and off their newsfeeds so fast that they may never see some of your news and announcements. You can't send all of them a direct message or it will be considered spam, and doing this could get your account suspended.
People use social media in varying ways. Some hop on and check it several times a day, while others once a day, and some may go several days between logging on. Just because you have a number of friends and likes doesn't mean they are interested in YOU and what you have to offer, instead many are hoping you are interested in THEM and what they have to offer. Others are looking for friends, but they may not have an interest in what you do or your marketing books to them.
Providing a newsletter, whether monthly or quarterly, gives you tangible names and emails of people who have an interest in what you're providing--the types of books you write. If they weren't interested, they would not opt-in to receive your email newsletters, or if they are already readers, they wouldn't be buying your books. This is your target audience. Your newsletter is delivered directly into their inbox and they aren't likely to miss it as they would on a social media site. It feels more personal when they have something delivered to them and they don't have to go looking for it or stumble upon it.
A social media post is only limited to 140 characters on Twitter and a bit more on Facebook. You can post 1,000 - 2,000 words in an email newsletter, including photos and videos. There are few limitations. It will sit in a person's inbox until they have time to read it in detail, after the kids go to bed, early in the morning when getting their coffee and checking their email, or after they return from vacation. The sense of urgency isn't as demanding as it is with social media. I hate it when I see something on someone's feed, and I don't have time to respond or read it. Later on, I'm forced to go digging for it on their timeline and by then I may not find it.
Blogging is a better advantage in being able to post as many words and images as you want, but people either have to remember to return to your site, bookmark it, or subscribe to it on a reader feed or have it delivered to their inbox. This is more like receiving an email newsletter, but some you don't necessarily know who they are or how often they read your blog posts.
If you use an email newsletter service, you have a general idea of who is receiving it--at least their name and email address. Also, you can see how many people click to view it, which links they click on, how many subscribe and unsubscribe each month. You can view an overall report on what topics and posts appeal to people the most and target future topics accordingly.
Next week, I'll compare and discuss the advantages and disadvantages between using email newsletter services such as Constant Contact, Vertical Response, and MailChimp.
In the meantime, do you already send out an email newsletter? What is your experience? What would you advise to someone who is considering starting an email newsletter?