The 6 Lessons I Learned Starting An Email Newsletter
In the past week, I started the Learning AngularJS email newsletter. I’ve never written email newsletters before or conducted email campaigns using MailChimp (though I know several clients who have used it to great success) and the main problems holding me back were seeming spammy and not providing enough value. When I considered these problems in detail, they were imaginary problems.
Lesson #1: If you seem spammy, you’ll know instantly; MailChimp will tell you how many people unsubscribed or hit the abuse button.
Lesson #2: If you aren’t providing enough value, people will unsubscribe.
Collectively, all my blog posts related to AngularJS have been viewed over 2000 times. That’s not a huge number, but there are a lot of people getting some kind of value out of these blog posts. There are already 11 people signed up for the Learning AngularJS newsletter. I thought the number would be 1 or 2, but that’s 11 people signed within 2 days, and that’s without even seeing a single email or being able to tell what kind of value there is.
Lesson #3: If you have an audience for your blog or your posts on other forums or StackOverflow or lots of Github followers, people want to know what you think and it’s safe for you to start an email newsletter.
The first email I sent out featured books about AngularJS. I included lots of links. Don’t do this. Very few of the links were clicked because there were too many and there was no sense of direction. I would have been better off linking to a page on this blog that listed all the links to the books in the newsletter. It’s not fun opening multiple links from an email client (especially if you’re on smartphone).
Lesson #4: Don’t include lots of links in your email. Create a separate page with more information and all those links so that readers can bookmark to visit later.
I chose books as the topic of the first email because I found an amazing excerpt in “Mastering Web Application Development with AngularJS”. It showed the value of that particular book and it’s a book I would recommend to others, so why not include the excerpt and a little about it in the newsletter? I found another few newer books to mention that others may not have heard about yet.
The excerpts I chose for the newsletter were chosen because they provide immediate value to the reader. The excerpts were short and explained core concepts that could be applied immediately after reading them.
Lesson #5: Include information that can be learned and applied immediately or include a CTA (Call-To-Action) to indicate an action that can be taken right now.
Finally, the email included some content that can be referred to later on, after the email has been archived or deleted. MailChimp posts all emails sent in an archive that readers can search through, effectively turning your email newsletter into a blog.
Lesson #6: Include content that can be used at least 3 months from now, and aim to include some “evergreen” content.