But – it really isn’t! It’s as old as time itself. (Maybe not that old.) When you used to go to book fairs and flea markets years ago, the ‘savvy’ business owners would have a clipboard where you put your email for updates. And sometimes you would get notified of their next appearance or new products.
Email marketing is the next step.
What Newsletters Are Not
First, I have to point out that newsletters are not the same as sending your posts automatically via email. These are two separate services – and nearly everyone, even seasoned bloggers get this mixed up.'...newsletters are not the same as sending your posts automatically via email(RSS).' Click To Tweet
RSS – Really Simple Syndication
RSS is a service wherein all your posts are automatically put into a document. This document is sitting in the background of your site – hidden. Waiting. It is waiting for someone to come and read it!
If you want to read RSS, you need an RSS client – like the old Google Blog Reader(no longer available) and the new Feedly or Bloglovin.
These are friendly programs that go and fetch that RSS document we mentioned above. It brings that document back to you in a pretty format for reading.
My favorite RSS client is Feedly. It is free, and I have several folders set up – “Marketing” “Personal” “Writing” etc… in each folder are my favorite sites. And feedly goes and gets the RSS feed and keeps it up to date. When I have a few minutes, I have my favorite blogs all in one place.
RSS via Email
Other than an RSS client, you can also read RSS using email. Services like feedburner, feedblitz, bloglovin and more offer this service. If you sign up via email to a ‘site’, in reality you’re signing up to the RSS feed.
And every so often, you’ll get an email with the RSS feeds you’ve subscribed to.
We’ll talk about how to tell what you have on your website / blog below. First, lets cover a brief description of Email Marketing.
Email marketing is not RSS. Email marketing is an email from you, to your subscribers. It’s that simple.
If you want to include your posts, links to your posts, or anything else, you can do that. But email marketing is different in mechanism and purpose from an RSS feed.
Use it Differently
Email marketing is meant to take your relationship with your fans and readers a step deeper than the regular blog posts. The blog posts go to the public for the world to see.
When someone offers their email, they are saying that they are interested in what you are doing (or the freebie you’re offering in exchange for email address). They are so interested, they’re willing to see what else you have to say in the form of a newsletter/email.
So, do not waste their trust with a regular ol’ blog post!
Email Marketing to SAVE Time
But you need another thing to do like you need a hole in the head. Am I right? Here’s the thing – email marketing will actually save you a ridiculous amount of time.
At the outset, you will need to write an email – at least once a week. If your subscribers are used to receiving your posts, I recommend adding a personal blurb to the top of it and then sending out excerpts or titles/images.
But wait! Posts are RSS feeds – I thought we were talking about newsletters now?
Good catch, Cathy!
RSS & NEWSLETTER IN ONE
To confuse matters, some email marketing companies, will do an ‘automated’ newsletter. In this automated type of newsletter they simply take your RSS feed and send it to your subscribers.
It is still a newsletter that you can edit, but it has a feed attached to it. A newsletter and an RSS feed = hybrid.
Back to what I was saying. The initial time investment is more if you haven’t been writing a newsletter. But a quick blurb that is more personal – more dedicated – more loyal to your fans will do the trick.
The time savings comes in later when you have an announcement, giveaway, things to sell, a product to launch – the list is your best customers all gathered, and ready to hear from you.
For a special event we put in a ridiculous amount of time, effort and money into gathering an audience. But that audience goes away when the hype and funding goes away.
With an email list, you have a tribe that actually likes to hear from you and will be there whether your latest launch succeeds or flops.
Do you have RSS sign-up or Newsletter sign-up?
First – do you have an email sign-up?
If yes, is it in a widget? (WordPress Dashboard >> Appearance >> widgets)
You will likely be able to open it up and see if it is ‘MailChimp’ ‘Feedburner’ or some other form.
If no, read this post on how to find an email marketing service.
Second – are you subscribed?
The easiest way to find out if you are getting newsletters or a feed is to sign up yourself and see what comes in your inbox!
Third – have you signed up to an account?
Have you signed up for an email service like MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact or similar?
If yes then it is likely you are sending a newsletter.
If no, then it is likely you are sending the RSS feed.
Does this clarify the differences? Are you just as confused? More so? Join us on Friday, 9AM PST for a Facebook Live Q&A. I’ll answer your questions then!