However tempting it is to think `Way-hey! I'm talking to 10,000 people,' if you're mass emailing without permission you can pretty much guarantee that means that nearly 10,000 people have just deleted you, reported you as spam, or just find you a bit annoying.
Far better to build your list slowly with people who want to hear from you. Sign-ups from your blog articles, contacts you've met while networking, people you've clicked with on social media - this is a far better place to start. Invite this group to join your list, not an anonymous crowd.
People rave about `targeted' lists. I'll take a warm community of people who feel seen any day over `targeting'. (Sure, maybe this isn't the best way to sell, but I don't write emails to sell. I write emails to connect and be helpful. If I'm selling you something, it's because I think it'll help.)
The valuable approach to your newsletters works whatever system or email platform you choose.
You can go for a more basic system such as Mailchimp or AWeber that will provide a lot of the functionality you need (newsletter and auto-responder emails, sign-up forms, statistics and subscriber info), with costs ranging from totally free up to a certain number of subscribers, to an affordable monthly fee. These options are popular with those starting out, but also a valid platform for larger firms with many thousands of subscribers. More integrated systems such as Infusionsoft or Ontraport give you email marketing functionality alongside other online tools such as landing page set-up, web forms, e-commerce, membership sites, reports and web activity monitoring. Or you can select a full-blown marketing automation system such as ActOn, Hubspot, Marketo or Eloqua for more advanced automation, and integration with CRM platforms..
Have a look around and test some of the main systems to see what's right for you.
The only difference between an audience and a community is how you face the chairs.
Think of your email list as a community, or as a special club of your most important individuals, and treat the people in it well. These are your best-loved contacts, your potential biggest customers, your advocates, your referrers, your biggest fans.
Look after this group, make them feel welcome, ask questions, listen carefully, and find out as much as you can about how you can help to serve them better. These are people to nurture, not a list to be `marketed at'.
How do you do that? By sharing your most valuable content with them. Don't fire out constant sales messages - create content for them that's going to really help with the challenges they are facing. Remember, whatever you write is going to be going straight into their inbox, or even directly into their hands. These are people who have opted to give you the time of day - a privilege in our over-busy world - so treat them with respect. Make the most of this opportunity to engage directly with your community, and that community will strengthen and grow.
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