Knowledge, Freely Shared
Don't need to know the background? Jump ahead to our own series.
At one time, it was all the rage for business owners to get people to sign up for a newsletter. Two things happened: we all got way too many newsletters and business owners struggled to write on a regular basis. What happened was then a lot of unsubscribes and a lot of lost opportunities.
Newsletters are Problematic
There are two main problems with the idea of a newsletter.
The first is that you are trying to get someone to agree to what feels like an indefinite commitment to something vague. It is indefinite because if the reader doesn't like it or want it any more, there is a task that follows: clicking a link and maybe other steps. It is vague because a newsletter doesn't have a specific goal or message, precisely because there is no specific end.
The second problem is one of timing. Consider a real estate agent's dilemma. She writes a great article about how to evaluate comps for a house for sale. Her audience subscribed to the newsletter gets that article today. Some of those recipients are in the market to buy now and the article is timely and relevant. Others, probably most, might not be looking to buy for a year or more. After all, a competent and committed real estate agent is building relationships rather than chasing sales and it can be a long time between a connection and a transaction.
After publishing that newsletter article, ideally it is also on her blog or Facebook, creating a long-term asset. That is easy to find. Better is this article and several more like it, each relevant to a buyer near time of purchase.
The Series as a Technique
Solving these problems turns out to be not difficult. It can also use the same or similar tools used for a newsletter. A series is a focused, limited course of relevant information sent based on a triggering event. For example, our agent learns that a connection plans to buy in the next one to three months. She can initiate a series (with permission!) of articles that are timely for the near-term buyer.
Getting permission to email the prospective buyer is easier. The information is targeted and relevant. If the buyer doesn't like the series, unsubscribe still works, or by taking no action it will automatically end anyway. There is no required action for ending the communication.
For our agent, now the writing she does, admittedly hard for most of us, becomes a long-term, high impact asset. She is not creating undesirable touch by sending irrelevant information to someone not currently interested, potentially creating a habit of "Oh, her again. Delete."
Our own series, both current and forthcoming, are listed below. We are using Keap Pro as our tool, but there are many. You could start as simply as using a text document saved on your computer where you copy/paste the content and manually send the emails. Email tools like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor work, too, though they are generally designed more for mass mailing than individual timed series. If you want to look for alternative tools, searching for "transactional email" is going to get you on the right track.
We like Keap because it lets us initiate a series by applying a "tag" to a contact and then the process begins automatically. If we want to initiate steps that are not email, such as an optional form or sending a physical card, we can. Allowing people to sign up themselves is also a bonus.
If you want help getting started, some free advice or guidance, just reach out.
<TODO: Come back and add these, with signup>