Platform

5 Ways to Use a Newsletter Without a Website

In this post, I’ll share 5 ways that you can use your email list even if you don’t have a website. Getting a site up and running can be a daunting and expensive prospect (though it doesn’t have to be), and you might feel like you can’t do anything until you have a website up. There is still a lot you can do right now to start building your list and creating relationships with your followers.

1. Add a signature sign up

Add a link to signup in your email signature. For example, my signature could say:

“Thanks,
Joseph Hinson, Out:think Group

PS: Are you interested in what makes a platform great? Sign up for my weekly updates to find out just that.”

The language that I used there is compelling – it piques curiosity, lets them know why the newsletter would be valuable to them, and gives an idea of how often it will be sent and what the subject matter will be.

2. Build anticipation

Post an update on your social media just before you send out an email. Tell your followers, “Hey guys, I’m going to send an email out tomorrow, where I talk about the importance of  –––––– ,” or, “I’m going to tell you the story of how I ––––––––.”

Let people know you’re going to send the newsletter to build anticipation, and include in the post a call to action to sign up for the newsletter. People who follow you on Twitter/Facebook/etc., may not be subscribed to your email list yet.

3. Share the email content across channels

After the email goes out, post a link to the email archive on your social channels. Once you have a website, you’ll want to post the email content on your blog, but this is a good option in the meantime.

Copy the email archive link from your email system (the link you get when you click “view email in your browser”), and you’ll be able to re-share your content by posting the link across your social channels. The benefit here is two-fold:

  1. You’ve already put in the work of creating that content so it’s an easy win to post as social media content, and,
  2. Keep in mind that not everyone follows you on every channel – your Facebook/Twitter/etc. followers might not be on your email list and wouldn’t see that content otherwise.

4. Ask Questions

Make use of your social networks, friends, fans, colleagues, and anybody you have a connection with by asking questions to get them involved.

Post or email and say, “I’m going to be answering questions about this subject,” or “next week’s email is going to be about this specific topic,” or, “I’m writing a research project on this topic and I’m looking for people who have had this experience.”

A good example of this is podcasters – many do this when they’re covering a new topic. They’ll post on social media to say, for example, “We’re talking about people who have been ripped off, and we’d love your stories. Submit your stores.” Those submitted stories are shared on the next episode, and they might even call and interview people who submitted stories.

This can be a great source for of varied, colorful content that you wouldn’t have had otherwise, and it’s a great way to create conversations and interactions with your followers.

5. Create a Twitter card

If you use Twitter, create a Twitter lead generation card and pin it to the top of your profile.

Whenever you’re about to send a newsletter, you want to Tweet out that Twitter card. When you’re doing your teaser on social media, use a Twitter card to enhance that.

Example of a Twitter lead generation card

Example of a Twitter lead generation card

If you’re using MailChimp, you can create a twitter card that will let Twitter users subscribe with just one click, without having to enter their email address. When they click the “Sign me up” button they are automatically added based on the email address used for their Twitter account.

Conclusion

These are some really useful ways to get started with your email list, right now – even if you don’t have a website. Don’t think think that you have to wait until every piece is in place, because there is a lot you can be doing to get traction and build a relationship with your followers.

Ultimately, you will still need to create a website because it’s a vital part of a robust author platform. Building a site isn’t as complicated as people make it out to be, and in future posts we’ll talk about some easy and approachable ways to build your site.

An Author’s Most Important Marketing Tool

An Author's Most Important Marketing Tool

Getting started with your author platform can be daunting. There’s so much to get together – a website, social media accounts, branding, outreach – and it can overwhelm you quickly. Today, I want to tell you about the most important asset in your tool box. This is the one you need to start with.

Are you ready?

It’s an email list.

An email list is not only your most important tool, it’s valuable for the duration of your career. Having a newsletter allows you to begin and sustain a long-lasting conversation with your fans and followers. That relationship can continue no matter how your subject matter changes. Readers want to connect with authors because they’re fans, and an email list is a good way to stay connected in a busy world filled with tons of distractions.

But… what about social media?!

Social media has its place, and we’ll get to that in the future, but if you have to focus on ONE thing right now, it should be building your newsletter. Social media platforms reserve the right to change the rules at any time – an email list is a long-term investment that you own.

Here are some simple reasons you should have a mailing list:

1) You don’t lose the lead.

When a visitor comes to your website, that’s great! But what if they don’t come back again? They’ll never know if you are writing a new book, won’t know about the great article wrote, or that you’re at an event in their town. Having an email list allows you to not only reach out to them directly, but also find out more about your fans – which books they purchased, what their interests are and more.

2) You can have a more meaningful conversation.

Shortly after college, I worked at a sign shop. In that industry, we used the “3 seconds of visibility” rule of thumb. You only had 3 seconds to get your message across with a sign, which meant we couldn’t be too wordy.

The same rule applies for the web. You may have a little more time, but an average of 10-20 seconds1 with a visitor is still an incredibly small window. A newsletter allows you to go into more detail; it’s a format people are expecting to spend more time reading.

Consider your own experience. When you visit a website, are you reading every word, or just scanning for the information you’re looking for? Now think about your email. You’re expecting to read… if you’re like me, you might even grab your glasses.

3) You can interact directly with your subscribers.

All of the emails I sent come from me – joseph@outthinkgroup.com. That means you can reply directly to that email, and I’ll get it. Your response will land in my inbox, and now the conversation goes from one to many, to one-to-one. Now we’re talking in person. A newsletter gives you that opportunity.

4) You own the list.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ can and will change their platform at any given time, making it more difficult to reach your fans and followers through those channels. As you grow an email list, you’re growing a list of people who have raised their hands and opted in to you and your writing. The email list you grow is yours to keep. Forever.

5) Your list will support your career.

No matter what you’re working on now, whether you’re writing a book, or you’re just passionate about a topic and want to share it with others, the connections you make with people through your newsletter are an investment in your future. Whatever path you take, you get to take those fans with you.

Remember, this is about creating long lasting connections with your fans and followers. An email list is the best way to tell your story, spread your message, and, in the end, sustain a career.


1. “How Long Do Users Stay on Web Pages?Nielsen Norman Group

What is a platform?

What is aplatform-

Your platform is how you sell books.

Here are three important components that make up a platform. They are your Authority, Network, and Influence.

Let’s break that down a bit.

Authority (or story) is why people should listen to you. The question you must answer here is, “Why should people care about what you have to say?”. Maybe you’re a researcher and you have spent years studying human behavior, or you consult with organizations and have years of experience under your belt. This often includes your experience, but maybe you’re launching something new. If that’s the case, you highlight what makes you different, then seek to grow your legitimacy by building relationships with other influencers in your specific space. Keep in mind that at the core of this, it’s WHY others should listen to you. When Dave Ramsey (see DaveRamsey.com) started, he was a guy who had gone bankrupt, crawled out of that, and desperately wanted to help people establish long-term financial stability, but what he started with was a story.

What is your story? Why should people listen to you?

Network is the amount of people you can mobilize. This would include your social media followers, email subscribers, friends, family and colleagues. The size of your network enables your message to spread faster and more broadly, which is why this is one key metric. But keep in mind that quality matters too. Maybe your network is small, but consists of friends that are influential.

Who do you know who can help you grow your network?

Influence is the pull you have with others. The more you grow your fans and followers in a meaningful way, the more influence you have. Consider for a moment Michael Hyatt, who has over 615,597 subscribers to his newsletter. Michael’s influence has value because others want his help becoming more influential. This allows him to diversify the types of things he does with his portfolio to include affiliations with others. When your network and influence reach a certain size, your platform becomes a powerful tool, not only for you, but for those whose careers you want to support.

What is your relationship with your network like?

So, where do you start?

If you’re currently at ground zero, remember, you have to start somewhere. Fear says, “You’ll never be able to do it. And even if you do, it will end in failure.” Don’t be overwhelmed and discouraged by fear. Think about these three terms and how they apply to you, and start picturing the platform you want to build.

Let me leave you with this. What would your life look like if you could build a platform that supports your entire career; a platform that allows you to build your business and change your future? This is an adventure, so treat it like one, and share it with others.

How are you sharing your adventure with your followers?