Newsletter Musings

I have a newsletter!

You probably aren’t surprised. Everybody has a newsletter.

If you were lucky over the holidays, you got every store’s newsletter about three times a day and then decided to cancel all of your newsletter subscriptions because it was just too much. I know that’s what I did. And why, after someone unsubscribed to my welcome newsletter that I sent out the first week of January, I wasn’t upset or had feelings of defeat.

Okay that is a bit of a lie. I was upset and felt defeated.

See the person marked down during the “opt out” that she hadn’t signed up. Gasp! How did she not sign up if she signed up?

Here’s where it gets tricky.

At the Yelp market last month, I had a sign up sheet for my newsletter. Pretty simple and easy stuff. Just sign your name, get monthly, or not so monthly emails from S2 Stationery and Design. I’ve found that at markets I get on average about 5-10 email addresses. I promptly email the subscribers to thank them for signing up and offered the following terms:

1. Privacy. 
 We will not give your information out to anyone. Ever. Promise. Pinky swear promise. 
2.  Frequency. We personally don’t like to receive tons of emails soliciting sales. You can count on not being bombarded with messages from us.
3. Deals and discounts don’t come often, but when they do you will be the first and the only people to know. Yep, that’s how cool and highly I think of my newsletter readers!
4. Opting Out. If you’d like to opt out at any time, you can and should.  Of course, we’ll be sad, but you know, we opt out of subscriptions too, so we understand.
5. Sharing. We will be sharing stories, new products, news, and anything else interesting that comes along and we encourage you to do the same. We want to hear your feedback and comments. 

Nothing painful. Pretty fair.

When I enter the emails and names after the events, I have to check a button that says that I am not signing up people who haven’t agreed to receive emails from me. Totally understandable and agreed. I would NEVER sign anyone up who didn’t want to receive my newsletters.

That feeling of defeat and upset was more a feeling of being a liar. Or rather that the person made me feel like I lied when I didn’t. Mail Chimp, I don’t think, labeled me a liar that day, but I still felt like one.

When I sign up for newsletters, there is a reason. If after a time, I no longer like the newsletters or something like they become too frequent (that happened over the holidays), or the information no longer resonates, then I unsubscribe.

Either way, this all made me think about electronic newsletter creation and distribution: Why do we get newsletters? Do they really bring new customers? Do they really even get read? Are they even needed?

Sure a newsletter may help craft the story you want to tell, but when you’re just starting a business, do you absolutely need to spend time and energy focusing on newsletter creation?

I would say YES!

And I would say NO!

Ultimately it depends on what type of business you want to create. I own a stationery company, but I run a communications and design company. I am in the business to communicate YOUR needs through design. That means, I need to be a communicator and having a newsletter is a way for me to provide that communication.

It is completely my fault that I only have 19 subscribers. I don’t market it enough and in 2012 that is one of my goals. But until then, I really can’t complain. Nor should I feel rejected by one unsubscribe.  After all, they don’t know what they are missing!

I have been a newsletter and e-blast creator for the last six years. Crazy to realize that! I know that in my brain holds a vast amount of knowledge about crafting newsletters and promoting them and so I need to tap into that and get to work. My current newsletter has gotten some great feedback so I know I’m on a good path.

This coming week, January 31st to be exact, I am leading a workshop for my Etsy team about newsletter creation and development. I’m going to cover content, design, and finding a newsletter service that works well for the user and the readers. I am also going to emphasize the importance of creating a newsletter that has a purpose, that matters. My business, products and service matter to me, so they should also matter to your readers and subscribers.

I am excited! I also realized that I had to shirk my rejected feelings about the one unsubscribe because in order to build a rewarding newsletter you have to be confident.  So here’s my confidence getting ready to shine and share and hopefully help others create powerful and inspiring newsletters.

IF anyone has great ideas or tips I should include, please share in the comments. I’m interested to know what works and doesn’t work for you and how you deal with unsubscribes and subscribes.

I’ll recap the event and additional thoughts after the newsletter workshop next week.


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s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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