10 steps to launch your email newsletter and start building your list
Updated: Mar 3
In last week’s blog I explained all the reasons why building your email list is hugely beneficial for your business.
Not only does it allow you to own the data, so you have more control over who you are speaking to and when, but you also don’t need to rely on unpredictable social media channels.
Email gives you the opportunity to nurture an audience who are genuinely interested in knowing more from you and are more likely to buy what you are selling.
In this week’s blog we’re going to go through the simple steps to get you started.
So, If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the idea and don’t even know where to start…don’t worry. This is going to break it up for you into easy-to-follow steps.
10 steps to launch your email newsletter
Set your intention
Decide on your goals
Do your customer research
Set your content pillar or themes
Pick your platform
Set up a sign up form
Create a lead magnet
Write your first campaign
Tell people about it
Measure and refine
1. Set your intention
The first thing to do is think about the bigger picture and visualise what you want this newsletter to do for you and what you want it to be for your audience. Think about these questions:
What do you want to achieve with your newsletter?
Do you want it to be a source of information for your audience a place they can get all the info from your industry, or do you want it to be a place of inspiration to help them in their journey, or maybe a place of education where you can walk them through a number of how-tos to get them to where they want to be.
What do you want to be known for?
Do you want to be a teacher, leader, thought leader, space holder
How do you want people to feel?
Do you want your audience to feel safe, help, educated, inspired, entertained or motivated?
Your intention will set you off in the right direction. Write down the top 3-5 words that came out of the questions above so you can keep these visually in your mind.
2. Decide on your goals
I don’t believe in being too tied to a set of goals but setting some SMART goals will help you to know if you’re on track or where you might need to put in some extra effort.
You want your email list to be a source of leads for you, but you won’t know how many sales you will get from your list until you start testing it out.
So, for now you will want to do some guess work and then refine these goals later.
Start with how many sales you want to achieve and work backwards.
Here is an example.
Let’s say you want to achieve £50k of sales per year from your email list.
Your programme is £1500 which you run twice a year. Which means you will need 34 people on your programme.
Let’s say you convert 5% of your list onto your programme over the year that means you need 680 subscribers.
The goal would be to reach 680 subscribers in 12 months and to achieve 34 sales.
Break that goal into quarters or months so you have an idea roughly how many you need.
If you get 1-2 subscribers every time you put a post on social media how many posts do you need to do?
If you gain 30 new subscribers from attending events, how many events do you need to do over the year?
3. Do your customer research
The key to a good email newsletter that people look forward to reading is understanding your audience inside and out.
And that means focussing in on a niche audience with a shared specific need that you can solve.
The way to hone in on your audiences emotional ambitions and desires is primarily to speak to them.
Interviews or sales calls
You can arrange interviews with people in your ideal audience, or when you do discovery calls or free coaching sessions use these as an opportunity to note down the language they are using.
Ask insightful questions such as:
Where are you now and where do you want to bo?
How will you feel if you solve ______?
Where will you be in a year’s time if this is no longer a problem?
What will you do when ________ is no longer a problem for you?
What do you want to achieve, feel, do?
How will you get there?
What will happen if you don’t do __________?
What other solutions will you try?
Review sites or Facebook Groups
Another way to find out what people are feeling is to go to the places where they are speaking about these topics.
Places where they are leaving revies such as Amazon, TripAdvisor, Facebook Groups, Quora, Reddit or TrustPilot.
And notice the language they use.
Look out for phrases such as:
This book helped me to overcome ____
I’m looking for help with ____
I finally feel _____ because of this
This book had lots of useful information that helped me_____
Technology is beginning to know us better than we know ourselves and there are online tools which will give you an indications on what people are searching for around your topic of expertise.
Check out the following tools:
4. Set your content pillars or themes
A super easy way is to use your research to set the top 3-5 questions your clients ask the most and use these ass your pillars.
Then think about all the ways you would answer that question.
One question a health coach would get asked a lot – How do I improve my gut health?
Your content ideas:
10 ways to improve gut health
Top foods for a healthier gut
How to improve gut health in 6 months
The best probiotics for improving gut health
Why improving gut health isn’t just about the food you eat
Improve gut health by looking after your mental health
5 reasons you might have gut health problems and what to do about it
Do this for the top 3-5 questions and you have more than a year’s worth of email content
Another way to do this is by coming up with 3-5 topics that are important to both you and your audience.
If you are a startup business support coach your topics might be:
a. Finance and funding
b. Business strategy and planning
c. Confidence and mindset
d. Marketing and sales
For each one break it down into subheading and then come up with the content that is going to best support these topics.
Example, finance and funding might be:
Sole trader vs Limited company
Then for cash flow your content ideas would be:
· How to do a cash flow
· Cash flow template
· 5 common mistakes of cash flow planning
· The difference between revenue and profit
You can read about this and more in my blog ‘Do I need a content strategy, and how do I create one’
5. Pick your platform
I recommend MailerLite a lot, it's easy to use and has more features on the free account than Mailchimp.
But it really does depend on your business, your growth plans, and what your services look like.
For example if you sell online courses and plan to grow to multiple users with multiple courses you might want to use a tool like Kajabi that allows you to host the courses and do the email comms.
Although there are lots of course hosting providers too and that’s a whole other topic. You can use a tool such as Thinkific, Teachable, Podia and have your email separate.
But if you’re starting out and you don’t have any subscribers yet MailerLite is a good option.
6. Set up a sign up form
You need a way to start collecting people’s details.
You’ll need a sign up form.
You want the form to sit on its own landing page so you can send people directly there.
But also have the form on the home page, at the top/near the top of the page and at the bottom. You can also consider pop up forms, this is not my favourite method but can be effective.
You can also add it to the menu as another option for people to find it.
To create the form, you can do this two ways:
a. Create a form using your email tool’s forms and embed this on to your website. (here is a video on how to do this using MilerLite and Wordpress, you can google whichever email and website tools you are using)
b. Create a form using your website form builder and either link your website to Mailerlite OR use Zapier to automate the process of sending data from one to the other.
7. Design a branded template
You can get a designer to do this for you or create a simple template. Most platforms will allow you to create at least one template.
The main thing is setting up the fonts and colours that match your brand.
You may want blocks of content if you’re going to have different features. Such as a block of text followed by a section of curated news.
Or you may have a section of your top 3 social media posts.
If you have these featured sections you may want to create a title banner image in Canva and add that in.
Lastly your template will need to have a footer with your business address and an unsubscribe link. This is a legal requirement. If you are a sole trader working from home you might want to think about using your accountants address or setting up a PO Box address.
Also add your social media icons in the footer so people can follow you there too.
8. Create a lead magnet
As well as having a sign up form that simply asks people to sign up you can also create a lead magnet. Your lead magnet is more than just a way to get people on your mailing list. It is used as part of your sales process.
The aim of your lead magnet is to help you identify who is looking for your solution.
A lead magnet can be:
A free fitness class
To keep things simple to get started pick something you can create easily. Maybe you have an in depth blog you can turn into a 5 page guide.
Don’t worry about spending ages designing something spectacular either. Great design does go a long way, however you could stick your guide onto a Word doc as long as it is packed with value, it will do the job.
You can however find templates on Canva for workbooks, templates, checklists etc.
Once you have your content ready save it as a PDF and upload this into the media section of your website. Copy the URL and add this to the automated email, or on the thank you page of the landing page when they have completed the form.
Check out this blog 11 enticing lead magnets for coaching business from FloDesk.
9. Tell people about it
Once you have all the above in place get out there and tell people about it. Here is my checklist of places to promote your newsletter.
Website home page
Social media bios
Events - have a sign up form on a tablet or paper form
Lives - mention it at the end
Videos - put it in the YouTube description
Refer a friend in your email newsletter
Social media posts - do one for your lead magnet and one just for your newsletter - do these both monthly
Add the URL to flyers and business cards
Mention it when you go networking
Guest blogs – add the link at the end
10. Send your first campaign
Once you have people signed up to receive your newsletter, even if it’s just one person, get to work on sending your first campaign.
There you have it.
If you’re looking for support in this area I have a couple of ways you can work with me.
Join my four-week to launch your newsletter course. Check here for the next dates.
Book a strategy session – 90-minutes to work through the kinks holding you back. Whether it’s mindset or tech I got your back. Book here.
Want someone to take care of it for you, to make sure you’re delivering high quality email content EVERY month, enquire about a monthly retainer. Find out more here.