In 2018, many business owners will be focused on growing their email lists. This is a proven way to increase sales, garner customer engagement, and also offer valuable content to readers. It sounds easy, but it's not always. How do you attract new readers? 

There are four questions I ask myself before I hit the send button on my own emails:

  • Frequency: Am I sending email blasts too often?
  • Headlines: Spam filters are a real thing, am I familiar with terms that trigger them?
  • Content: Is this worth reading? Does it offer value yet still get my point across?
  • CTA: Did I direct readers with a strong call to action?

Additionally, I spoke with Kevin Rose, who among other things is a venture capitalist who's invested in the likes of Twitter, Foursquare, Square, and Facebook. He values his newsletter readership of over 90,000 subscribers, and has built them painstakingly. 

Rose had some helpful advice in how to build a loyal readership, and offering value to the reader. He felt that social media users were spending so much time trying to keep up with each individual platform, thus spreading themselves too thin and not offering as much unique content to viewers.

To be honest, even I find myself reposting content from Instagram to Facebook, and questions posed on Linkedin to Twitter. He focused on putting out a piece of content that was well thought out and the highest possible quality that he could personally produce.

In a world where we are constantly keeping up with the Joneses, standing out in a crowd can be difficult. Instead of publishing newsletters every few days he stuck to a once monthly format. This gave readers something to look forward to. It focused on the best of the internet, and all the crazy stuff he's into (such as Japanese culture and tech reviews).

Has it been effective? Rose said yes:

"It has kind of exceeded my expectations because I didn't know that there would be a huge amount of people that are still into email traditional email newsletters. It's kind of old school thing to do, but the open rate has been over 70 percent which I'm proud of just because I think that people appreciate the fact that it's just not me trying to fling out more media or send you a bunch of marketing stuff."

He seems really passionate about what he features each month, so I had to ask his advice for what we should avoid in email blasts. Should we be all business or let our personalities shine through?

"I think that the one thing that the newsletter has done for me is it's given me a way to share kind of more intimate details about my life and things that are going on," Rose told me. "I have talked about my addiction to technology and how sometimes it's been too much."

As for things to avoid, Rose advised avoiding jargon whenever possible: "I would say one thing to avoid would be just making it primarily marketing speak, and trying to always be in selling mode. Readers can see through that and will lose interest."

Rose has some great points about creating content that you are passionate about. Still, always remember to look at your own data and results to see what's worked for you in the past (and what hasn't). Personally, I know that when I started including more snippets of blogs into my company's emails, the click-through rate increased. Readers wanted to finish reading the blog post on the website.

The goal is to keep your unsubscribe rate down, your open rate up, and your subscriber rate increasing. This will take a little bit of TLC, but it will be worth it in the end.