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How starting a newsletter saved my business!

howstartinganewsletter

About two years ago, I started a newsletter on my beat site and I used an eBook I wrote as an incentive to help generate more leads. After several months of capturing emails, I had amassed over 2,000 subscribers.

I had no experience with capturing e-mails so I was unsure if these numbers were good. Never the less I was excited by the fact that 2,000 people found value in my newsletter. To this day I average 20-30 subscribers a day, which is kind of cool, if you ask me. I’m writing this post today to share with you the benefits of having a newsletter on your beat site, or any site for that matter. I’ll share with you how to set it up and how to get the best out of it for your beat site and how to sell your beats online.

 

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A NEWSLETTER AND WHAT HAS IT GOT TO DO WITH SELLING BEATS?

 

Before I get into the nitty-gritty stuff of how one would build a newsletter, I’m first going to explain what a newsletter is and why I recommend you to take advantage of it on your website.

 

Setting up a newsletter on your website is an informative method of reaching your customers. When a newsletter is setup, your audience has a means of subscribing, by way of email, which they receive information on your given beat site. It is important that the content your subscribers receive is different from the blog content. It is also important not to confuse this with an RSS feed.

 

You might ask, “why would I want to start a newsletter when the audience can subscribe to the RSS feed, what’s the point”?

 

(I always have a smile when I answer this question cause I know that, if they implement the information I’m about lay on top of them, their sales will increase two- fold!!)

 

Good question.

 

The short and sweet answer to this would be the email list

 

The email list is a great way to build up an audience and it’s a great resource on how to promote your music online.

 

When someone subscribes too an RSS feed, their essentially getting emailed your most recent content too them. The problem with this is that it’s a one-way street, in that you can’t contact them. You do not access to their email address. However, if you have a newsletter, you have the ability to capture their emails, the upsides to this are huge. Here’s why

 

  • It’s a proven way to connect with your audience. It adds a personal level to your business by the simple fact that you have a layer of communication that other beat websites don’t have or do. When you make a sale on your beat website, that person will go on the email list, so he can be updated on any new beats you release in the future, if you didn’t have a newsletter, then that buyer would be lost. It’s hard to tell if he will come back to the site again.
  • Your email list will always grow (provided that your site is content rich and you have an active blog). If you have an email list, the means of communication is always there. Even if your website experienced problems and you had to start all over again (this happens more often than you think), then you’ll be cursing your luck that you didn’t start an email list or thanking your lucky stars that you did. Most often or not those email address you collected will always be there, thus informing your audience of situations that arise.
  • It’s my main source of generating income.

There is an expression you might be familiar with “The Money is in the List

 

This expression has been floating around since email marketing came into existence. However, it is important that you approach your email list with caution.

When you communicate with your audience, you must maintain a level of trust. If you’re promoting a product to your audience, don’t promote for the sake of a commission. If you take this approach your audience won’t value your opinion as much and you will use credibility. I always promote products that I think

 

“Hey, I think my subscribers will really benefit from this product” 

 

This is great as it benefits your audience, they will like you for it and they will come back to your site as they know that you recommend great products too them and provide them with useful information.

 

 “This product has so much commission, but the product is bad I’m gong to promote anyway”

 

If you have this mentality then your going to loose your credibility as someone your audience can trust. This product might sell but if the product you recommended it bad, then the next time you recommend a product it won’t be as well received as the first one.

 

DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A NEWSLETTER?

 

When you place an opt-in form on your beat website to capture email addresses, you can email your subscribers whenever you want. However I would advise against this, as it will hurt you in the long run.

 

O.K., lets run this scenario, I offer my audience a free product (lets just say an eBook for namesake), people sign up, they love the free product and everything is great. Two months passed without me contacting them, then I decide to sent out an email too that list of people who signed up for that eBook. What reaction will I get? It will go something like this.

 

  • Almost all of you will have forgotten who I was, have no interest in that topic any more and unsubscribe from the list.
  • You’ll question the legality of what I have to offer (which is nothing as I didn’t contact them or provide them with any useful information), and decide to opt-out
  • The likely scenario might well be the two above, combined.

The fact of the matter is, if you ignore people and don’t provide them with useful tips, news what’s going with you (the site owner). It doesn’t matter as long as it’s engaging and the audience finds some value in it. At the end of the day, all it takes is one mouse click to opt-out from the email list.

 

RSS Email Subscription vs. Newsletter Subscription: The differences

 

Most often or not, since I started selling beats online, I find myself being asked this question quite a lot. Here today I can finally clear up any misconception about the two.

 

The RSS email subscription is the samething as the RSS feed but it’s just sent to your email address. This is done with a services that google provides called feedburner. RSS email subscription is extremelly usefull to people who work and don’t have access too the RSS feed. This allows them the ability to catch up and stay current on the websites they are subscribed to.

This is totally differnent when it comes to the newsletter subscription. The content you send to your subcribers can be what ever you want. Like I said before it’s a personal way of communicating with you audience and if approached in the right way can lead to a vast increase in you selling your beats online.

 

For my websites I like to focus on one medium, which is the newsletter. The power of communicating with my subcribers is too great to a reson for me not to be using a newsletter, its benificial for both parties.The subcribers get the great content that I provide and I get an active community on my website. It’s the best way to promote your music online and It’s a win/win suituation!!

 

Now that I’ve discussed the nitty gritty stuff lets get cracking on how to start a newsletter subscription.

 

THE PROCESS INVOLVED IN HOW TO START A NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION

 

Knowing how it all works

 

Ok, lets discuss what occurs when someone subscribes to a form on your beat website. To make this process a little easier to digest, I have a diagram below that explains this process.

 

flowchart htmbb

 

Now, theirs quite a bit going on in this diagram, don’t get discouraged, a lot of this just requires a one time set up, I will walk you through the entire process involved. Please note that rectangles represent webpages, and circles represent emails.

 

Step One: Get yourself an Aweber account 

 

There are many options out there that provide email-marketing services. I have used a variety but I find Aweber to be the best. I have been using it for about two years now and I have been extremely impressed with what they have to offer. Once you get over the hurdle of first being introduced to the interface (this will be the same for all email marketing services), you’ll see how easy it is to manage and the customer service is terrific any problems I ran into they where quick to respond and helped me resolve my problem. It is also worth mentioning that you can have several lists on several different websites on the one account.

 

I think Aweber is great choice and I highly recommend it.

 

Click here to get Aweber for $1

 

Step two: Creating your first email subscription list

Once you have registered your account, you’ll be able to sign in. Once you have signed in, the first thing you will see is your control panel. The Aweber control panel gives you an insight to your overall activity such as information on how many people signed up today, yesterday and it also gives you a total number of subscribers (this numbers are a representation of all of your lists). It provides a brief overview on your most recent broadcast (a broadcast allows you to send out an email to all of your lists). The last thing we see on the control panel is the list breakdown. This gives you information on all of your subscription activity occurring in each email lists.

 

To create a new email list, click “create and manage lists” (this is located on the top left-hand side of the control panel)

 

Create and manage lists

 

You’ll will be brought too a page called “manage your lists” because you haven’t created any lists you might not see this page or it will be blank. If you are brought to this page click the green button called “create a list”.

 

Note: The “manage your list” page will contain all your lists that you have created. Here you can deactivate list if you so desire. You can also back up and export your list here as well.

 

Ok, this is where we start creating your list. On this page you need to provide some basic information on your list. The list name allows you to distinguish your lists from other lists you create later on. The list description is a description of your list, for example How To Make Beats Blog list’s description is

 

“Promotional information regarding how to make beats and how to sell beats.”

 

Next is the form name. This is the name that appears in everyone’s email account, so make sure it’s a familiar name e.g. the name of your website, your “beat making stage name.” The address is what Aweber uses to send out the emails. Make sure you are using your website email and not free services like Gmail and yahoo as these have limits to how many emails you can send out in a day and a Gmail address doesn’t look professional. Next is your “contact address.” This has either your home address or your business address. Your contact address appears at the bottom of every email address and is required by LAW (CAN-SPAM Act). If you can use another address, great use it, otherwise, you could be risking your business if you put a fake address that has no possible association with you. As long as it’s valid and relevant to you, then you should be fine.

 

Aweber Basic information

 

Step three: Setting up Your Confirmed Opt-In Email

 

The next step is the confirmation opt-in email. The confirmation opt-in email is an automatic email that gets sent out as soon as someone fills out the opt-in form on your beat website. The email contains a link to confirm if the person signing up is human (and not a bot), think of it like a captcha code. One of the best reasons I think for having this is that the email the person enters has to be real if they want access to the free content your providing.

 

You can turn this option off, but I wouldn’t recommend it as per mentioned above.

 

As you can see the confirmation opt-in email is pretty much written for you so it would be a waste not to use it.

 

As you can see in the screenshot I have customized mine, as I wanted to make it a bit more personal.

 

Aweber confirm opt-in email

 

The next thing I would like to discuss is the code you see in the screenshot above. It looks like this

 

{!name}

 

This code is very useful as it can be placed into any email you create. What it does is it takes the name the subscriber inputted when opting in and places in. I shall give you an example so you have a better understanding. Lets say “John” opts-in to the list and he gets the confirmation opt-in email above. Because the opt-in email has {!name} it takes that code out and puts “John” in. So now it reads

 

“Hi John”,

 

Whatever name was given when he/she opted-in is what will go there.

This can be used in your emails as well. As you can see this is a quite powerful feature to have. There are more codes than just {!name}. There is a dropdown menu called “insert field”, here is a list of other codes that can be used, each carrying its own ability. These codes are called variables. Here is a list of the other codes available and what they translate to

 

Variable

Displays

 {!name}

Subscriber’s full name

 {!name_fix}

Full name, corrects capitalization

 {!firstname}

Subscriber’s first name

 {!firstname_fix}

First name, corrects capitalization

 {!lastname}

Subscriber’s last name

 {!lastname_fix}

Last name, corrects capitalization

 

If you want more information on these variables head on over to Aweber, they explain it quite well click here!

 

Aweber variable codes

 

Step Four: Setting up Your Success Page

On the confirmation page in Aweber, you will see an area called “success page”. Once the subscribers click the confirmation URL in the confirmation email, they will be sent to the success page. The success page can be just a page thanking them for signing up and tell them to wait for another email to get their free eBook (or what you plan on giving them), or you can send them straight to the download page.

 

What is a follow up message?

 

The follow up message is a message that you have already written. It gets sent out to your subscribers immediately after they click the URL in the confirmation that was sent out. It is now where you see the true power of the autoresponder. When a subscriber opts-in to your email list, a series of follow up messages are sent out automatically based on the time interval you set.

An example of this would be if you have pre-written ten emails. These emails can be sent out automatically

 

Date Name Email1(Confirm email) Email 22 days Email 37 days Email 414 days
28/01/14 John 28/01/14 30/01/14 04/02/14 11/02/14
31/01/14 Mike 31/01/14 02/02/14 07/02/14 14/02/14

 

Hopefully the table above explains how the autoresponder works. As you can see, the emails get sent out based on the sign up date not a particular fixed date. John signed up on the 28th, email 2 is scheduled to be sent out 2 days after the sign up date, the same can be seen for mike.

 

Note: email 1 is not the confirmation email but once they confirm their subscription it will be sent out immediately.

 

Now that I have explained how the autoresponder works its time to create your first email, I usually like to call this a “welcome” email.

 

First click on messages, this can be found under “create and manage lists”, this area will house all your messages/emails created for this list. At the moment it should be blank, as you haven’t created an email yet. Click “create a follow up”

 

Step Five: Preparing and Writing Your first email/Welcome Message

 

The first email you create is always sent out immediately after the subscriber clicks the link within the confirmation email. Here are a few tips on what to mention in your first email

 

  • Introduce who you are and welcome the subscriber and thank them for signing up to the newsletter
  • Provide them with the free stuff you offered for their email
  • Tell them about your news letter and inform them on what’s coming their way in the next couple of weeks
  • Mention too them to “whitelist” your email address
  • Provide them with a means of contacting you

Ok let’s talk about writhing your first email. When writing your first email you can have either the html format or the plain text format. I would advise you to write in html text, as per the features I’m about to discuss.

When writhing in html format, you have several options to improve the look of your email. You have the option to bold, italics and underline your words or phrases. You can choose different colours and aweber even provide html templates so your that your emails look professional.

Step six: always test your emails

It is important after you have completed writhing your emails that you test them and see of they are functioning correctly.

To text your emails, click on the test button located on the right hand side, next to templates button. Here you can view your email and input an email address to see what to looks like in your email box.

 Step seven: Optimising your opt-in form

The opt-in form/sign up form is what you will place on your site to obtain email addresses. The aweber opt-in is fully customisable and will accommodate the style of your website.

Screen Shot 2014-02-02 at 19.29.49

Aweber’s sign up form generator will load up. Here you have access to a plethora of templates that suit various types of businesses, including corporate and niche related themes. If you don’t like the themes they have to offer you can customize your own by uploading background images and custom “sign up” buttons. You can also adjust the size of the opt-in form to accommodate your beat website

I place my opt-in form on the sidebar of my beat website so that it will get seen by everyone as the side bar appears on 95% of my website.

 Your opt-in form Settings

Once you have completed the design part of your web form, save it and click next. The next page you will be brought too will be the settings page.  Here is a screenshot of my settings for “how to make beats blog” list.

The first setting is the form name. This is unique to this form. It’s mainly used for tracking purposes.

The thank you page is what the subscriber sees when they click the submit button. This page informs them to confirm their subscription.

Confirm your subcription

There are three options that ready for you to use that aweber provides. They are the following

  • Basic Version: This consists of just plain text, accompanied by your logo. It informs them to check their email box to confirm their email.
  • Audio Version: It basically the same as the text version but audio informs them to check their email box
  • Smart Video Version: Again same thing but a video demonstration on how to confirm their email.

The Opt- in form Code

Ok, once you’ve finished adjusting and filling in the settings of your opt-in form, its now time to place it on your website so your visitors can see it and opt-in. There’s no need to panic it’s not as hard as you might think.

When you click next on the settings tab you will be brought to the “publish” page. Assuming you’re the one installing it click on “I Will Install My Form”. There are two options available; you can use the Javascript version or the HTML version. I would suggest you use the Javascript version, as anytime you want to edit or change the design of the opt-in form in Aweber, it will update automatically.

Aweber Java script

Theirs more here

THANK YOU!

If you made it this far I applaud you. This was a lengthy post but I provided some great information that you can use and apply it to your beat website. This post was created mainly for people who are beginners to setting up a newsletter and how want to build a list. You don’t have any excuses now not to get started, as all the information you need is right here.

Thank you again for the support. If you like information on when I release new articles, sign up to my newsletter, you will get access to my killer free eBook,

If you have time please check out the Resource page above or click here. This is a list of tools i use and recommend to anyone looking to make a living off selling beats!!

Till next time!!

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