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Do you Maintain Email Newsletter Lists?

Reader question….

Do you have newsletters attached to your blogs? Why/Why Not?

If so – are they effective ways of finding traffic and building community for you?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Newsletters can do very well when attached to blogs. A lot of people who don’t understand blogs/rss completely get the idea of signing up to receive email. Feedblitz etc make things easy but the biggest benefits will come when you do the newsletter apart from just outputting the same content as RSS and working to the medium.

  2. Craig Harper says:

    Hey Darren,
    Great to have you back.
    I use Feedburner’s email subscription service.
    Since we installed it our subscriptions have jumped 800% and traffic has jumped twenty percent.
    When we asked subscribers why they said:
    a) email is a great way to be notified when a new post has been added on my blog site without the need to keep revisiting for new content
    b) they are unfamiliar with ‘feeds’ and ‘feed readers’ and are not interested in learning how to use them
    c) they are already comfortable with receiving content in email format
    Occassionally we will add something to a post like a video which requires visitors to return to the website to view the content and they can also see what’s new.

    Craig Harper (Melbourne, Australia)
    http://www.craigharper.com.au

  3. Andy Beard says:

    Sometimes…

    There is actually quite a bit of work that might be needed on a blog that is commercial, in some ways promotes products, and allows subscriptions by email.

    As an example and IANAL, based on my understanding Feedburner doesn’t fully comply with CAN-SPAM and recent UK regulations if you have commercial content being sent by email. There are work-arounds you can do with images or plugins, but that then means you are adding things to your RSS feed that aren’t required for RS, but are required for compliant email marketing.

  4. I haven’t used newsletters with blogs to any great degree as yet. It’s something which has been on my to-do list for some time however.

    I think it can most definitely be of use, as the list grows and grows, it has the potential to pull back in readers who either don’t use RSS or who’ve changed readers, removed your feed etc.

    Matt

  5. Chris Lodge says:

    I offer a FeedBurner email subscription, which a few people have taken up.

    Or did you mean a specifically written newsletter sent to a mailing list?

  6. kyrgyzreport says:

    We don’t. KyrgyReport is a new blog and we haven’t had much time to study the effectiveness of newsletters.

    But I’ll be interested to see what other readers say here.

  7. Thejesh GN says:

    Yes. I maintain a list using zookoda.
    It sends an email everyday to the members. Most of the members come back to the website to read the complete articles. Since the blog is about events happening around bangalore. Its called event alert list.

    I also send extra news letter sometime if required.

  8. The best thing I did was run a newsletter and offer a free ebook in return for a reader’s email address.

    I think the success of a newsletter also rests to a degree on your target audience, as many of my readers do not use RSS feeds.

    As a ball park figure I would say I have five to six times as many people on my newsletter list than subscribed to my RSS feed.

    I have also been experimenting with the Feedburner email option on some of my more recent sites and it seems to be proving popular.

  9. Ben Evert says:

    I just started using the newsletter in September and I’m pleased with the number of subscribers. I get about 3 new subscribers a month while the RSS feed averages only 2.

    What I like about the newsletter is that I can place an advertisement in it and that it can also be forwarded to the receipents friends. The forwarding part, I think is a great way to build more traffic.

  10. Sergey says:

    I maintain ’cause many peoples don’t use RSS or Atom. And a newsletter is main way to get updates from my blog. I’m doing it via Feedburner.

    regards, Sergey
    http://skalinin.blogspot.com

  11. David says:

    I send a newsletter (using ymlp.com) about 6 times per year, when I have something interesting to say outside my blog, or want to highlight an upcoming event that I’m leading or offering. I think my readers get their fill of me on the blog, which they can visit at their convenience or visit via RSS, and don’t want lots of extra email to sort through. Personally, if I get too many or too-frequent email newsletters from a company that I signed up for, I’ll unsubscribe.

    So I try to send a newsletter when I have enough important news to make it interesting enough for my subscribers & readers, so they’ll pay attention and read it rather than just delete it. I include special things for subscribers, including recipes and a first-look at what’s coming up. It seems to work, since I get a lot of nice feedback and good clients from it. And I rarely have people unsubscribe.

  12. I don’t have a separate e-mail newsletter, but I use Feedblitz to publish my blog via e-mail – lots of people don’t know about RSS and it’s a simple way for them to subscribe to the blog. About 40% of my subscribers are via e-mail, and I’m assuming that without the e-mail option I wouldn’t have most of those.

  13. I use Feedburner’s free service that allows readers to sign up for a free email update, but honestly I’m not quite sure how it works. It’s just a widget of sorts that sits on my sidebar. I should typep in my own email address to see what kind of updates it sends me!

  14. justelise says:

    I have a Feedburner email subscription. It’s too new to really analyze or to decide whether or not it is effective. Personally I dislike newsletters immensely so I don’t sign up for them, but I can see how someone might find them useful. We will see over time if I do get any subscribers via email and how they compare to the RSS subscribers.

  15. George says:

    I have a simple newsletter associated with my blog that is powered by the WordPress Email Notification Plugin. It send out notices when new posts are added.

    I added this feature back in 2004 when hardly anyone was using RSS feeds. The email notification option was fairly popular back then. Now, I rarely get new members via email subscription. Feeds are now almost mainstream, so I don’t think email newsletters have much of a long-term future.

    I’m actually thinking of switching over to the Feedburner email service since it appears to work well and then this becomes one less thing I have to maintain.

    I haven’t really seen any direct monetary benefit from having an email newsletter, but maybe if I added more unique content to it I might have. With all the spam blocking that is going on now that traps appropriate emails (AOL seems to block everything), the email newsletter is not worth the effort in the long run.

  16. Jim Logan says:

    Yes, I have a newsletter attached to my blog. I position it as a blog+ subscription option. Each issue (weekly) contains that week’s blog posts, plus newsletter-only features, and occasional offers for my services. The newsletter gives more than the blog, that’s the incentive to receive the newsletter. I use my blog to build my email list.

    Of course, RSS is available, but I prefer subscribers to my newsletter.

    The platform I use for my site/blog is Joomla. Joomla has a component and module that makes creating the newsletter and managing the list very easy – this solution includes an autoresponder. My list is double opt-in.

    I prefer newsletter subscribers because of the norms expected to make an offer – its brought me new business. And my newsletter has been forwarded to people who did not know of me, bringing me new readers and subscribers…this doesn’t happen all the time, but I know it has happened.

    Email subscription is a must for a blog and combining the need with an opportunity to build a list to speak and market to in other ways is the way to go.

  17. I definitely use email – what was it: only 2% of people know/use rss.

    Zookoda is my choice of email services – very clean interface and easy to learn.

    I like to have my newsletter placed on my website and simply send out an email to my subscriber base with the link to it. People like short emails, to the point and having your newsletter on your website is good for seo.

    I’m also a heavy AWeber user – as my business is in my list.

  18. jhay says:

    Not at this moment. Traffic and readership levels are still low but steadily growing. When the right time comes, I’ll definitely put out a newsletter for my blog.

  19. rob says:

    my philosophy is the the blog captures everything…it’s the archive. occasionally we’ll email to email subscribers one of the posts with full text and photos. once a month we create a new printed letter, usually with the ‘best of’ from the previous month on the blog, or a new story or two that we snail mail. however, that newsletter goes on the blog also. we say that we’ll print out our emails and mail it to people if they want it! ;-)

  20. In my day job I’m responsible for producing and distributing 4 monthly e-newsletters for the metal fabricating industry. We started the oldest newsletter in 2001 and just last year added a blog to our line up. The bulk of our subscribers also subscribe to our print publications. The rest find us through recommendations from colleagues (forward to a friend) or through online searches. We do a lot of cross marketing among our various publications, and it’s worked well for us. Our combined monthly newsletter circulation is over 33,000. Our blog has recorded monthly page views fluctuating between 40,000 and 73,000.

    One trend we have seen that made me decide not to produce an email newsletter for my personal site and blog is the fact that fewer of our opt-in subscribers are actually opening our emails. More subscribers are relying on feeds. Our open rate runs between 28-30% each month, which I’m told is pretty good; however, our new blog has already surpassed our newsletters in monthly readership. At this point, I can’t justify the time and expense of producing and delivering an email newsletter. Figuring out how to monetize my blog and my feeds is my biggest challenge.

  21. John Wesley says:

    Just using Feedblitz so at this point. Though I’ve thought about doing something with zookoda.

  22. Cassie says:

    I definitely do! I think that having a list of subscribers is important if you want to earn money online.

    I’ve been using Aweber as an autoresponder and as a regular newsletter service. I’ve tried Zookoda and phpList in the past and I decided that spending a little money on Aweber was well worth it.

    I have an autoresponder for my mini-courses and a newsletter to send subscribers notices about new posts or exclusive tips. Aweber also has an RSS feature that allows you to automatically send out mailings when you have a new post on your blog.

    You know what they say, “The money is in the list”.

  23. Raghu says:

    I was not using subscription lists on my blog site till today. I have just added one today.

    However, my question was is adding newsletter lists a way to engage with a existing reader base or to build a reader base ?

  24. We started out with a newsletter to let people know when we had new craft activities. When we started a blog and RSS feed over a year ago I thought a large portion of our email subscribers would move over. But to our surprise over the last year our newsletter can gone from about 20,000 to over 30,000 subscribers, whereas Feedburner says our RSS feed currently averages about 50 readers per day.

    Even mentioning it a couple of times in our newsletter hasn’t prompted conversions. I think it’s just in the nature of our subscribers, they’d rather get the once a month email than figure out what blog reader they need. If your readers are also bloggers, you probably won’t see the disparity that we have. But if you draw a lot of search engine traffic to your site you should offer an email newsletter to encourage them to come back.

  25. When you can have a big help by spending a very low amount of money or even for free why you ignore it?

    I have newsletter for my weblogs and Aweber sends the daily updates to subscribers automatically and also I can send other messages to them. I love it.

  26. Laura Gibbs says:

    The readers of my blog are mostly high school teachers, many of whom do not use RSS (yet….). The Feedburner email subscription was a godsend for me. The email formatting options available are GREAT, and I am able to control the time of day the email goes out.

    My email readers outnumber my RSS subscribers about 10 to 1.

  27. Adnan says:

    I use Feedblitz like quite a few other people, as its a quick and easy way of flirting my posts to those who don’t know how, or can’t be bothered to sign up via RSS.

    However, I don’t own a “proper” newsletter, and by that I mean one which I personally update and create. I would like to however as I think they can be invaluable to building up reputation and can be an awesome form of monetization.

    On the flip side, there are so many negative comments about “internet marketers” that people these days might be prejudiced about those who have newsletter subscriptions. I guess its down to whether you pepper your subscribers with affiliate link downloads everyday!

  28. Deb Ng says:

    Because of the nature of my blog, I offer an email service which will allow visitors to be alerted to updates. I wondered recently if this was a good idea because people can always subscribe through the feeds. I got my answer last weekend when I inadvertently deleted my mailing list.

    The mailing list had over 300 subscribers. 300 hundred people who visited my blog every day, thanks to the link in the email address. After I deleted the list, traffic not only went down but so did revenue.

    Needless to say, I’m working on getting back my subscribers.

  29. As an astrologer, I use a newsletter to inform subscribers of my main blog posts, as well as offer information about my services. Subscribers have an incentive to join because they qualify for discounts on my services. Additionally, I suspect the majority of my audience is not RSS-savvy, so the newsletter feels more familiar to them. I have many more newsletter subscribers than I do feed subscribers.

    I use Constant Contact, which gives me useful information on click-through rates on the links in my emails. This helps me gauge what my readers are most interested in.

  30. Well, I don’t have so much of a newsletter (yet). But people can sign up to get an e-mail message whenever there is a new post on my blog.

    I think it’s a good idea since not everybody uses an RSS reader.

    It looks like the majority of my subscribers click the link in the e-mail message and read my blog.

  31. LennyP says:

    I don’t email my readers. I feel most people already recieve far too much email and don’t need me adding to the problem.

  32. Adrian Bruce says:

    Zookoda has some great features and it pretty much looks after itself. It allows people to opt into your newsletter and then automatically sends a verification email to the subscriber ‘just to be sure’ :)

    You can configure it so that it waits till you have a certain number of posts and then it automatically sends out your posts.

    Zookoda also has a great stats section where you can see you is opening your messages but you can also see who is forwarding messages. One of my readers forwarded my newsletter to 64 friends. This has got to be good for increasing traffic.

    In the end, the majority or my readers are yet to embrace RSS so the newsletter is an excellent way to keep my loyal fans up to date.

    Best of all Zookoda is free!

    cheers

    Adrian Bruce
    http://www.adrianbruce.com
    http://teacher-toolbox.blogspot.com

  33. Mallory says:

    A good percentage of my RSS subscribers read via Feedburner’s email subscriptions. I don’t currently do a separate email newsletter though I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now. I can’t decide whether it’s worth the extra time and trouble, as I’d like to give the newsletter content that is different from what’s on my blog…I get annoyed by email newsletters that are exact an rehashing of what I’ve already read via RSS during the past week. I subscribe to an RSS feed AND a newsletter because I want more and not just a repeat of the same. I’d like do create this for my own blog, I just need to find the time.

  34. I’m quite slow collecting RSS subscribers for my blogs, yet alone collecting Email subscribers .. but I try collecting them anyway using Feedburner for both – Maybe one day ..

    I’ve been thinking about sending out a newsletter for the emensely small subscriber base that I have now – to practice .. but, then I think that I should spend the time blogging more and concentrate on network development and traffic building which, could possibly help in obtaining a bigger audience to add to any future subscriber base.

  35. Dawud says:

    Yes, I do. Mainly for two reasons.

    First, I’m a bit new to blogging and don’t yet have readership levels or RSS subscription numbers to stop my newsletter. And even once my readership and subscriptions numbers are higher, I might not stop my newsletter as it most reaches a non-blogging market right now.

    Second reason is the end of the first…My newsletter reaches people who don’t normally blog – yet. I’m actually working to change that, but it’s just beginning. Since my past audience is mostly non-bloggers, I use my newsletter to stay in touch with them.

  36. I do. I use Constant Contact. I felt that many of my “target market” (baby boomers) readers would feel more comfortable with a weekly email from me that basically is the blog post in a nice postcard email template. The reports CC generates are great also.

    http://www.BoomTips.com Weekly Wisdom for Baby Boomers