So, it finally happened.
You were good, wrote an eBook, and set up a free Mailchimp account to collect site visitors’ email addresses. You didn’t worry too much about it after you set it up because you weren’t totally convinced it would work—but it did. Last week, you logged into your Mailchimp account just out of curiosity, and now instead of the seven people you had when you last checked, you’ve got 170.
And while that’s not the huge email list lots of online marketing gurus like to brag about, for a business-of-one freelance writer, that’s a lot of people who want to read your eBook and who are willing to hear more from you. And even if none of those 170 people ever become clients (though chances are at least some of them will), just thinking of the word-of-mouth opportunities from that many people is enough to motivate you to do something with this new list you’ve got.
Until this point, you knew that you had to make an effort to build a list, but you never really thought about what to do once you actually had a list large enough to market to.
So what do you do?
You don’t want to pitch your services to them every week (that just feels tacky), but you want to maintain communications with them in the hopes of some day generating monetary return. And you need to manage that without adding hours and hours of work to your schedule every week.
Don’t panic. Start with these tactics.
For me, this is the easiest way to keep the people on my subscriber list happy and to stay in touch with them regularly. Plus, it keeps me top of mind when anything remotely related to copywriting comes up.
Typically, I write a new blog post on my site every other week. Once a new post publishes, I copy and paste it into a Mailchimp template and send it to the people who’ve signed up for my email list. It’s low maintenance, I’m not bugging my audience, and we all get what we want out of the deal: they hear from me and get to read my writing on a regular basis, and I get to keep myself at the top of their minds pretty consistently.
Plus, when I consistently email them, it feels a little like there’s a conversation always happening between us.
You may not notice it at first, but especially if your writing is conversational, you’ll get fans writing back to emails that speak to them. When you reply, you’ll earn their loyalty.
But what if you don’t run a blog alongside your freelance writing business? How can you stay in touch with your email list then?
One good idea is to poll them to see what they want to learn from you.
You already have a hint—whatever promise you delivered on in the lead magnet they signed up for—so you can use that as a starting point.
For example, my lead magnet is five copywriting hacks to reduce bounce rates and increase conversions.
Using that as a foundation, I could poll my list members to see if they wanted more copywriting hacks, if their main problem was people bouncing or just never making any sales, or if they wanted advice on something a little more central to their business (such as pricing or their sales process). Then I could use that knowledge to write a series of emails that would send out automatically when someone signed up, allowing me to stay in touch with them for a number of days without ever manually doing the work more than one time.
“One of the things I’ve done with my blog readers is allow them the opportunity to be a part of the work I’m doing,” he says. “For example, I’ve got a piece I’m going to pitch to Entrepreneur. Instead of simply writing an article and sharing the piece with them later, I give them an opportunity to be a part of the process.”
By doing this, he ensures his readers are not only more interested in what he writes and the content he shares with them, but that they take ownership over it as if it were their own—sharing it more often and linking back to the piece from their own sites. (Not to mention the loyalty they’d feel toward him after he worked their information or advice into a piece published on a major media site.)
Before I figured out that all I had to do to keep my subscribers happy was to simply send out each new blog post I publish, the advice I read on having a good newsletter stressed me out.
A lot of people said I should write exclusive content just for newsletter subscribers as a way to keep them motivated to stay on my list. But if I did that, ‘d be doubling the amount of writing work I had to do for my list, and I wouldn’t be able to publish what I’d written anywhere else later on.
When I gave up the idea of running a perfect newsletter—and instead focused on personalization and regular engagement—managing my list became a lot easier for me.
What are some other ways you’ve used to stay in touch with people who sign up for your newsletter? Share your thoughts in the comments.