New Tricks we follow the medical school model that is used to train doctors called: See one, Do one, Teach one. Lately, a number of our clients are launching their businesses or are ready to take them to the next level and we have been helping people them get the word out about their businesses . Yes they can use Twitter and Facebook to push out content but what we are teaching them how to interact with their readers and followers. We know how to do this because I have been experimenting with this myself the past two years.
The first year of New Tricks, which, BTW, was just last year, I did what I saw everyone else do and put a ” subscribe to receive our newsletter” sign up box on the front page of our website. And. . . there it sat while I was busy working. At the end of the first year, when I took the time to see how many people had signed up, there were 23 names and did I mention that I am from a large family? Not only that, we never once during that year had I ever sent out an actual newsletter.
So, I set out to remedy that situation. I immediately made the subscription box a little prettier and then set up an automated newsletter which would be sent out each month which contained links to each post that was written since the last newsletter was sent out. Hmmm. We got a few more subscribers. But after a couple of months, someone I really like and admire unsubscribed, and I felt sad, but it was a wake up call. I knew that the newsletter was not good. Lame, Lame, Lame.
When I evaluated the situation, I realized that most of my work was coming from people I met around town, and the key was that I was actually interacting with those people and they wanted what I had. “Maybe”, I said to myself, “if I actually interact with the people who I am writing the blog posts for they will also hire me when they needed business consulting, a website or social media help. My impersonal newsletter was akin to the person that is all friendly and says, “Let’s have lunch”, and then never follows up.
I didn’t want to be that person. I made a commitment to keep in touch with my readers on a weekly basis and give them one free social media morsel every week. I put my subscription sign up box front and center on my website and told people exactly what I would deliver. I started sending out Just a Digital Minute each and every week. After just four months my list of readers is now well over 500 and I am having conversations with all of you. Sometimes, you even respond back. That thrills me to no end!
So Here the Deal…
1. Start a Mail Chimp Account which is free for lists up to 1000 names. Never, never send out a mass e-mail out with all of the names and addresses visible to everyone who gets it. That is the height of bad taste. The only exception is that if you are working on a small small committee and everyone needs each others’ e-mail addresses to keep in touch.
2. Make an Excel List. To get your list started, go through your Rolodex or outlook and find people you think are your target market and put their name and e-mail addresses into a spreadsheet and enter it into Mail Chimp . Make sure you actually know these people, and they know you or it really is spam. If you send out and e-mail and people don’t know you they are likely to unsubscribe and select reason as spam and you can get black listed from the e-mail service.
3. Be Real and Warm Up Your List. Write a plain text e-mail which is a “warm up” and simply write like you would to a friend you haven’t been in touch with for a while who you want to catchup with. Tell them about what you have been up to and what you’d like to send them and how often. Use their first names, not: Dear Judi Knight. That sounds spammy and just weird. Tell them that you have actually added them to your e-mail list and if they are not interested for them to click unsubscribe and you will understand.
3. Create a Subscription Form. On your website and or Facebook fan page create a subscription form. Offer people something they want in order for them to sign up for your list. I should take notes on the titles of the enticing offers I run across on a weekly basis and I eagerly sign my name to and hand out my e-mail in a heartbeat. So offer them something they want right now. It is better if it something immediate that they have to have. “The four things you absolutely should never say in an e-mail! Doesn’t that sound enticing?
4. Be Consistent. Do what you said you’d do and send an e-mail out on a regular basis. Take it seriously, and put some thought into it. Yes, it is a commitment, but these are your peeps, they can turn into friends and loyal fans and they will come to your restaurant, purchase your products, tell their friends about you and so much more if you will keep in touch and offer value to their lives in some tangible or intangible way.
This is social media. I love it. And thanks so much for hanging with me!