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February 4th, 2008

Have you forgotten how to Say Something Amazing

Editor’s Note: Today’s article is taken from my new Home Study course: The 8 Utterly Unsexy Keys to Astounding List Growth. If you’d like to grow your list effectively without smarm, this is the way to do it. Are you interested in growing your list the unsexy way?

By Jessica Albon

If you really want to grow your list, you’ve got to get your readers forwarding each issue. How many of your readers should forward your newsletter? That depends on your list size:

  • For lists of under 100 subscribers, you can expect 5% of your readers to forward each issue.
  • For lists of 100-1000 subscribers, you can expect 7-10% of your readers to forward each issue.
  • For lists of 1000-10000 subscribers, you can expect about 10% of your readers to forward each issue.
  • For lists above 10,000 subscribers, you’re usually looking at about 5% of your subscribers forwarding each issue.

If you AREN’T getting this rate of forwarding, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to grow your list (because your new subscribers are so targeted). And, the most common reason people aren’t hitting these numbers is that they’re not Saying Something Amazing.

There are four ways to Say Something Amazing, but because I have so much to say on each of the four, today we’re just going to focus on one:

Say Something Inspirational!

Lest you think, “My audience would never stand for me being inspirational!” don’t worry. I’m not talking about swelling music tales of inspiration. There are lots of ways to inspire your readers.

Case Studies as Inspiration

My favorite way to inspire readers is by sharing great case studies–stories of people just like your audience who’ve accomplished something huge, with your help. There are two common problems with case studies that keep them from being inspirational–people don’t focus enough on telling the complete story, and the writer is too focused on making a sales pitch.

You can fix this by writing a case study that begins before you got involved. Paint a picture of what was wrong before your client hired you or purchased your product.

By starting at the beginning of the story–with the *conflict* and the *characters*–you’re writing a whole story instead of just the climax. So, get in there, reveal the situation fully.

My favorite question to ask when I’m writing a case study is:

What was going so wrong before you hired us? What was it that made you say, “That’s enough! We have to get help.”

Flesh that initial problem out in as much detail as possible. Then, move into your entry on the scene–paint yourself as the hero (because, in this story, you are). Tell readers what you did and how it helped.

Only after you’ve set the scene and taken your characters through a complete story do you come to the final resolution. That’s how you create an inspiring case study!

Other Forms of Inspiration

Of course, case studies aren’t the only way to be inspirational–you can share powerful quotes with your readers, or gorgeous photos.

And, again, both of these can be done in a very professional, formal sort of way, or in a more informal, traditionally “inspiring” way.

To keep it formal, one great way to inspire your readers with photos is to share transformational before and after photos.
It’s pretty clear to see how a business like a landscaping business or an organizing professional would be able to capture powerful before and after photos to publish.

If your products or services don’t accomplish something that’s particularly visual, though, you can use charts or photos of the results–for instance, if you’re a direct mail copywriter who created a campaign that brought several hundred buyers through the doors of one of your clients, you could share a photo of the empty store shelves, or the people lined up outside to get in.

If you decide that you want to use inspiring quotes, you can turn to industry experts or well-known professionals (for instance, quotes from Barbara Hemphill or David Allen if you’re looking for inspirational quotes about getting organized).

By making sure you Say Something Amazing in each and every issue of your newsletter, you’ll motivate readers to forward it to their friends and colleagues. Saying something inspirational is an especially powerful way to Say Something Amazing because everyone’s looking for more doses of inspiration in their day–and people love to share things that inspire them.

Today, commit to bringing inspiration into your next issue of your newsletter. And, if you’d love to find out all about using the other three ways to Say Something Amazing, make sure to check out The 8 Utterly Unsexy Keys to Astounding List Growth.

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