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Journey to Better Marketing: Newsletters (and Email lists)

email letters

The edition of “Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days (affiliate link)” I have is older and doesn’t feature a strong emphasis on online news more than a couple of chapters. This chapter on newsletters could be easily adapted for email lists.

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Journey to Better Marketing: Online Marketing

Online Marketing

The purpose of online marketing is to drive people to your website to buy something. While the Internet is constantly changing as are the way search engines evaluate websites and their relevance to queries, one thing appears to remain true throughout the changes. In order for your online marketing to work, you need to provide meaningful content at your website.

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The Journey to Better Marketing: Creative Planning

It feels good to have a plan

Your creative plan is the one that will direct your marketing communication at the right target audience. It will use a benefits approach that looks and feels like your company and provide you with the instructions that allow for continuous evaluation and improvements to the marketing plan. Your creative plan reminds you to think about marketing results and not how much you’ve spent. It will also regulate how often you communicate, avoiding communicating too often or not often enough.

Your creative plan is related only to your marketing materials and communication, and each type of communication requires its own creative plan. In the creative plan, you need to state the purpose of the communication, how you intend to achieve the purpose and the tone of the communication.

For example, “The email list will provide a continuing connection to readers and Penguinators. We will send out a weekly email which lists what’s been posted on the blog, and a separate email every month that will inspire creativity and joy. Our happy emails will be a light in the darkness.”

Your communication should get attention, be believable, and motivate for action.

Information adapted from “Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days.”

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The Email List: Struggles and Reasons

I’ve been struggling with this idea of an email list for several reasons. It’s a lot of extra work. It’s an extra expense. I don’t really like the email lists I’ve joined, and I was hoping that people would migrate over to my Patreon where we can make beautiful words and penguins together. (You can still migrate to Patreon and get cool things for as little as a dollar a month.)

Extra Work

I already write at least one post a day for my blog; I surpassed 200 days of posting in a row on July 12, 2019. I plan on keeping that streak alive, but it isn’t easy to come up with something new every day. I try to write 3 posts a day for my SEO job when they have work available. I need to write posts for my Patreon – one or two a month. I edit books as a side job.

Adding one more thing to my list of things to do, which includes marketing, continued learning, reading, refilling the creative well, dishes, laundry and other housework, taxes, teaching English, searching for freelance jobs to supplement my income, keeping my social media accounts active and relevant, and spending time with my wife and family, is a little overwhelming, especially when I really have no idea what I’m doing. How can I keep an email list current and active while still finding time to write my next book?

Extra Expense

MailChimp offers free limited use email lists. If I get more than 2,000 subscribers or I want to do something cool like set up a series of future emails, I’m going to have to pay up for that. This extra expense may end up being worth it, but right now, it’s hard to justify. Automation would be great for an introduction to Penguinate.com and its creativity, books and penguins. For now, I have to live with what there is – the opportunity to follow up with an immediate discount email, a day later intro email, and an email on the first of the month that rounds up everything I posted on my blog. Then, I’ll hope people don’t forget who I was when the next email I send is more than a month away.

Other Email Lists

Russell Nohelty and some other people do these great list building contests. For a small fee, authors join the list builder. The money is pooled to come up with a prize package that people will really want based on a fandom, like Doctor Who, Firefly, or Marvel. I’ve signed up for a couple of these and ended up on email lists that were not what I was expecting. (Who knew Buffy the Vampire Slayer was related to the reverse harem genre of books?) Aside from that, I received 20 to 40 different emails or more during a two-day period after the sign up and those emails keep coming until I unsubscribe. They aren’t just from the authors, they’re from Amazon, Kickstarter, GoodReads, and other websites the authors had people sign up at to get more entries. (I did not win the Buffy swag, by the way.)

All the emails end up being the same. Hi, I’m author, here’s what I’ve been working on, here’s a free (short story, book), here’s a contest you haven’t entered, here are some other free books… I don’t want to inundate your email inbox with emails you aren’t going to read, and I haven’t figured out how to make an email that is any different. Why would I want to make an email list where people will get the same thing (minus the freebies) that other authors are already sending out? Do you really want pictures of my cat? (If so, I’ll send them, but she doesn’t like being photographed.)

On Patreon

I was really hoping to build my Patreon into a juggernaut. If I could get 600 people signed up at a dollar each, my financial situation would be much more stable. It wouldn’t give me the opportunity to quite everything, but it would reduce the amount of freelance and SEO work I had to do. Unfortunately, I still haven’t got a handle on how best to get fans to sign up for the Patreon. I’ve offered discounts at any level. I’ve created offers, like join at $30 for three months and get a penguin. I’ve posted about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I haven’t figured out how to grow any of my social networks beyond a certain number and Patreon is the same right now.

Why Am I Doing It?

I am starting an email list because it’s the best way to keep you in the loop about what Jenya and I are doing creatively. YouTube changed its criteria for creators to monetize videos. Facebook changed its algorithm, so that creators had to pay to get their fans to see what’s being posted on the fan page; it has also randomly marked my penguin8.com as spam without giving me a reason or checking the posts that I sent notices about. Weebly eliminated access to its website for anyone geographically listed in Russia and other countries. These changes have made it more difficult for creators to make a living off of random and organic growth. They have also shown that these companies control my eCommerce to a degree that is not only uncomfortable and unprofitable but also dangerously close to being able to remove my presence from my largest outlets with a small change in their algorithms. I can’t count on social media and search engines to drive organic views to my websites.

In addition to this, my SEO job ebbs and flows. There have been days when there just aren’t any articles to write. I need to find a better way to make money, and every other book and website I’ve read about being a creator in the Internet age says an email is the only way to go. When a website like examiner.com or MySpace shuts down or becomes less visited, the email list is still there to sustain the creator. In theory, I’m in control of the email list, and thus in control of my destiny. And isn’t that all anyone really wants? To control his or her direction?

So, please sign up for our email list. Like share, comment on our social media posts and sign up for our Patreon. I look forward to you becoming honorary Penguinators.

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Why I am (Finally) Starting an Email List

Waving stuffed penguins

I’ve been struggling with this idea of a mailing list ever since Russell Nohelty told me I needed to get one. There are several reasons for this struggle, which I will get into in later posts, but here’s the main reason I’ve decided to go ahead and see if I can build a good contact list:

It will help me keep in touch with you better.

Really, the main reason for any email list is to help keep people informed of what’s going on in the artist’s/author’s/penguin maker’s world without having to worry about an algorithm or some other business suddenly deciding that everything coming from your entire website is spam and won’t be shown to anyone on that platform.

To keep you in the loop and let you in on our processes and our lives, this email list provides the best solution. I wanted to keep it on Patreon where I was doing a newsletter every month, but people haven’t been interested in paying a dollar for it, yet. So, this email list doesn’t cost you anything. Other benefits include (what else you’ll get):

  • Pictures of stuffed penguins
  • Updates on new releases in books
  • Links to travel photos
  • A creativity tip or two
  • Discounts
  • Notifications of our events
  • Did I mention that it’s free (for you)?

Hopefully, this won’t just be a one-way conversation. As an author, I need feedback, and building a virtual community hasn’t really been easy so far. So, if you’re interested in the benefits, please sign up for our email list. (It’s in the beginning stages on July 14, 2019, so there may be some bugs.) We plan in sending out a couple of updates immediately and then once a month – say on the 15th of the month. Of course, you can always join our Patreon and see the great content you get access to there. You can also follow us on our social media accounts; check out the links in the footer below.

Thanks so much,

Shad and Jenya

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Please select all the ways you would like to hear from penguinate.com:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.