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October 29th, 2007

Have You Been Lead to Believe These Loathsome Newsletter Lies?

Let’s get one thing straight before we begin: I believe YOU can publish a thriving, profitable, FUN newsletter. In fact, I believe ANYONE can publish a thriving, profitable, fun newsletter.

If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t bother publishing Newsletters in Focus. I would just continue to privately work with the people who could publish successfully. I don’t believe in giving people false hope, so when I share stories of stunning newsletter success, I’m sharing them because they’re almost always possible for YOU, too.

Because I believe you have what it takes to publish a successful newsletter, it really upsets me that you might have been lead to believe one or more of these lies are true. Especially because you may believe these lies because of hype-filled marketing mumbo-jumbo that’s disillusioning because it sounds so preposterous–so you believe the reverse is actually true.

I simply won’t allow you to believe these lies for one moment longer! So, let’s set about to smash through these lies, shall we?

Lie #1: It’s “normal” not to make any money publishing your newsletter.

Can you imagine continuing to publish, simply because the marketing experts tell you you should, all the while believing it’s normal to not make any sales or get results of any kind from your newsletter? I can’t!

And yet people publish all the time believing it’s perfectly okay that they never make a single sale or get a new client from their newsletters.

The truth is, you *can* make money, lots of money, every time you publish with a regular newsletter. All you’ll need is a list of at least 100 subscribers, and a high-value product that sells for about $50. If you have fewer subscribers, or no products, your newsletter can still be profitable, but you may not make sales from every single issue.

If your newsletter isn’t making money, you’re missing something. It’s not that you don’t have a clever enough product title, or that you don’t have a narrow enough niche–that’s just marketing gloss. You’re missing something fundamental–perhaps you don’t have enough subscribers, or your product isn’t meaty enough for your target audience. It’s impossible for me to know without seeing your newsletter. But there is one person who *does* know, and that’s YOU.

In almost every case, when I tell a client, “The reason you’re not making sales is…” their response to the reason is, “Well, yeah, we know that, but can’t we make sales anyway?”

So, what’s the thing you already know about your newsletter, your products, or your subscribers, that you’d rather not take care of? Take care of that, and you’ll see just how possible it is to have a thriving, profitable newsletter.

Lie #2: You absolutely must write every single issue from scratch, all yourself.

You probably already knew this one was a lie, but you’ve heard so often how you can hire someone to write articles for you for a dollar an article, or that if you approach other publishers and swap articles you’ll grow your list, that you’ve decided it’s all just marketing hype. Or that it works for everyone *but* you.

No matter who you are, no matter how unique your audience or what you’re doing, there are ways you can get help writing content that won’t feel sleazy or result in crummy copy. You can get great copy that’s right for your audience by hiring a copywriter or finding a joint venture partner (perhaps someone who’s willing to let you edit their articles until they’re a perfect fit for your newsletter).

If you’re absolutely committed to the idea that you and only you can write for your audience, I’m not going to fight with you. But, I will suggest that just because you have to write each article yourself doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch all the time. You can reuse articles from previous newsletter issues, or pull excerpts from reports you’ve written. You can update old articles with new statistics (which can provide readers a very useful snapshot of changing trends). You can spin one article into several by taking the topic deeper. (For instance, I’ve written broadly about newsletter distribution; last week, I took some of that research and used it for an article specifically about spam filters.)

Believing you must write every newsletter issue yourself, from scratch is self-defeating, time-consuming, and disheartening!
This week, take a look at how you can break free of this lie and gain from *not* always having to write everything from scratch all by yourself.

Lie #3: No one reads newsletters anymore, so slumping open rates and click-thrus are just the name of the game.

It’s true that email newsletters don’t have the wiz-bang appeal they did in the beginning. Potential subscribers don’t say, “Look! An email newsletter. Who cares what it’s about, I simply must subscribe!”

But that doesn’t mean no one’s subscribing to newsletters anymore. (After all, you’re here, reading Newsletters in Focus, and you’re not the only one.) And it doesn’t mean you have to accept declining open rates.

Declining open rates mean one of two things: 1) Your newsletter’s not getting delivered because you’re doing something wrong; and 2) Your newsletter’s not being opened because you’re doing something wrong.

Please forgive me for being so blunt–I’ll understand if you want to stop reading right this instant! But, stay with me and I’ll make it up to you.

The fact is, most of us are doing something wrong in both areas. Our subject lines aren’t as scintillating as they could be. Or our newsletters contain one too many “filter-able” words. Or we haven’t gotten around to having our SPF records updated. Or whatever.

I’m not perfect (in fact, my subject lines are never as great as they could be). You’re not perfect. And a newsletter is a work in progress, not a finished project.

It’s not about getting everything 100% right. It’s about getting enough of it, enough right, that your newsletter gets delivered and opened more often than not. And that means educating yourself about email delivery and writing the best subject lines you can.

When you notice a drop in your open rate, it’s easy to wring your hands and believe it’s the newsletter that’s failed. But that doesn’t make it true. The truth is, email newsletters work. And they work well. Whatever your goals (increased visibility, publicity, sales, new clients, etc, etc), a newsletter can help you reach those goals.

Is it harder to get an email newsletter opened these days? In some ways, yes. But, ultimately, great newsletters are still getting read; make your newsletter a great newsletter and you won’t have anything to worry about.

Stop buying into lies that tell you that writing your newsletter has to be hard, or time consuming. Don’t believe it’s “normal” to publish an unprofitable newsletter. Know that you can continue to get great open rates and click-thrus.

If you take only one thing away from this article, let it be this: Your newsletter can be effective, successful, profitable, and fun. And that’s the truth.

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