Setting up a Newsletter

4 months ago | Scott Scherr (Member)

I want to start up a weekly newsletter for my blog, but I haven't a clue how to set that up. I use wordpress (the free version), and all they have is a widget for "Mailchimp". When I went to find out what that was it looked unnecessarily complicated. Any start-up suggestions/strategies you can share I'd greatly appreciate.

Author of the apocalyptic series, Don't Feed The Dark. http://freezombienovel.wordpress.com

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Responses

  1. revfitz (Member)

    Posted 4 months ago

    I got ya!

    I know that this can feel overwhelming at first, but I promise that it is an easy endeavor.

    How to set up:

    Go to the Mailchimp website (or other service like Active Campaign) and sign up for their free service. Once you jump through their signup hoops, go to "lists" on your dashboard and then go to "create lists". Once you do this you are going to want to fill out specifics (which mailing address people will reply to, the name of the list... ect). Once this is done it will take you to another screen, click "signup forms". This will let you create the opt in that people will use to sign up. let's start with the embeded form, as this is an easy way to start and implement right away.
    I go with their "super slim" option. The less that your readers have to fill in the better, it removes extra steps to get on your list. Now, copy and paste the script that generates for you, and paste it onto a post or a page of your liking (you will have to switch to the "text" tap in wordpress instead of the "visual" tab to get it to work., publish, and then you are done!

    Ways to implement it:

    The most important thing that you want to do is offer something in exchange for someone's email. You have to entice them with something that makes it impossible for them not to want to join AND give them something of value so that the exchange feels worth it. I offer a weekly Nihilist's Horoscope, but this can be a free book (best) or a short story. You can then setup a "welcome" email that automatically goes out when someone signs up with your offer. (I can walk you through this process as well).

    I post my opt-in at the end of my entries (an example here: http://revfitz.com/tour-malcolms-kitchen/ ) near my call to action.
    This means that readers always see it (some need to see it multiple times before they decide to join) and it let's me tweak and experiment with language and graphics (as well as my offers) so that I can compare and see what works best.

    In the past, when an arc is complete and it ends with a cliff hanger, I have offered my readers the chance to read next week's entry that day if they sign up. This brings me in a lot of signups, but it is also a good example on how you can craft your opt in to suit you as you go.

    I am more than happy to give advice on this, let me know if you run into any problems or have any questions. I know it seems like a lot of work, BUT IT IS WORTH THE WORK. Existential Terror and Breakfast is not nearly as palatable or even readable as your serial, yet, because of my mailing list and opt in forms I have been able to stay on the Top Web Fiction list for six months, even though my serial is nearly impossible to read. It has also allowed me to talk to my readers and get them involved/excited about the process. I cannot state just how important this last part is to me. I have no doubt that you will excel if you put in the time and effort.

    EDIT:
    I am also happy to post an example of my newsletters if it helps :)

    Existential Terror and Breakfast--A serial with cereal.
    Updates Wednesdays at: revfitz.com
  2. Scott Scherr (Member)

    Posted 4 months ago

    Excellent! Thanks for great advice. This was something I tried to do a few months ago and it just seemed like more work than it was worth. But you put the cookies on the bottom shelf for me to understand it better. I'll give it a go, as you instructed, and get back to you on my progress, or if I get stuck somewhere. Thanks again.

    Author of the apocalyptic series, Don't Feed The Dark. http://freezombienovel.wordpress.com
  3. revfitz (Member)

    Posted 4 months ago

    No problem! Honestly, this is one of the few things that you can do to help your serial that is worth the work. I am happy to give any advice and help that I can. Just remember, the better your free offer, the better the results. I offer my Nihilist's Horoscope because I have yet to finish anything better to offer. Also: feel free to reach out to me for newsletter writing tips.

    Existential Terror and Breakfast--A serial with cereal.
    Updates Wednesdays at: revfitz.com

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