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How A Weekly Newsletter Grew My Business

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Redefining business

The same week I redefined my business, I also committed to writing a weekly newsletter. I had never sent one before. I certainly didn’t consider myself to be a writer. I was painfully aware of my tendency to procrastinate and not finish things.

A friend who shall remain nameless and authors a widely-read productivity blog said to me, “Kacy, people don’t become famous for newsletters. They become famous for blogs.”

I wasn’t trying to become the next celebrity Professional Organizer though; I was trying to get clients.

At the time I was receiving a short and sweet weekly newsletter from a life coach friend in Oregon. Each week she sent a quote or an inspirational observation she had made that week.

We’ve all seen bad examples of newsletters with dry content and a confusing layout. This was not one of those. I looked forward to it, expected it, and read every one. With each of her newsletters, I started to think, if she can do it, I can too.

I had heard once that if you don’t commit to sending a newsletter each week then don’t bother: a hard pill to swallow for the time management-challenged among us. I was willing to do that, so had to ensure there would never a dry spell.

One step at a time

My first step was to write a list of every possible idea I had. In one sitting, I listed exactly 50 newsletter topics, ranging from favorite products to creatively-named file folders that I made that week.   

How to Have A Sticky-Free Desktop was the first one I sent, to a list of about 80. My list has grown exponentially in the last two years.

So here are my five reasons to send a weekly newsletter:

1.    You can capture information from those who are browsing your site.

2.    It’s a regular way to “touch” prospects each week.

3.    It gives prospective clients a sense of your style.

4.    You have the potential to wow them with your reliability before they even hire you.

5.    You can build a library of content to use in a blog, book, or future articles.

Once you’ve committed to a weekly newsletter, how do you make sure people will actually read it? Here, again, are my five ways:

1.    Make it actionable.  I end all tips with a “7 Day Challenge.”

2.    Tell stories from work with actual clients.

3.    Be consistent. Do not ever miss a week & send at exactly the same time each week.

4.    Get to the point quickly. Keep it short and sweet.

5.    Ask yourself each week, “Is this fluff or valuable content?”

My original intention was to turn readers into clients, which it has.

I’ve had people call and say, “I’ve been getting your newsletter for years, and am finally ready to hire you.”

Just as valuable has been this body of work that I have slowly built.  Two hundred or so words at a time, each week, adds up to a library of advice and wisdom that I often refer to when consulting. My senses are heightened during working sessions, as I’m constantly mining for golden nuggets that I can pass on to readers.

I’ve found my voice as a writer, have organized a decade of experience into a catalog of tips, and have had opportunities to take on other writing assignments (such as this one).

Two years down

It’s been over two years since I sent the first newsletter. In the last year, I’ve had people stop me at networking events to say, “You’re Kacy Paide?! I’ve been getting your newsletter and I’ve used so many of your tips.”

A celebrity, I’m not. A source for high content, sometimes entertaining office organizing advice, I am.

Do I think my friend had a point about blogging versus newsletters? Absolutely. Now that I have clients, have proved to myself that I can meet rigid deadlines, and have over 120 pre-written posts, the blog is coming soon!

More from Women Grow Business:

Image: xlibber via Flickr, Creative Commons

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide of The Inspired Office loves to do what most people hate: sort paper. Your messy office is her puzzle to be solved.  She designs functional, beautiful paper flow systems and that people actually want to use.  Always up for a challenge, she focuses on creative types who claim to be out-of-sight-out-of-mind.  The entrepreneurial life is all she’s ever known, having started her business immediately after graduating college in 2001. A Washington, D.C. native, you can connect with Kacy at her site, Twitter, or Facebook.


    1. Kacy, Interesting post. I always tell people to make sure they have a reason to send an e- newsletter beyond just promoting their business.

      I’m curious what your unsubscribe rate has been like. I’ve heard from a lot of people who do e-marketing that their unsubscribes are climbing. If yours aren’t, why do you think you’ve avoided this trend?

      Also, I want to put in one caveat: I would NEVER encourage someone to do a WEEKLY e-newsletter. I’m glad it works for you, but I suspect you’re the exception to the rule. I think biweekly or monthly is much more realistic and much less “bothersome” to the subscribers.

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    2. Hi Kacy,

      I love your newsletters. I always open them. They are short, to the point and the info you share is super valuable.

      It is also very pleasant to look at and easy on the eye.

      I haven started sending my newsletters out once a month many years ago. Often it would not even be once a month – more like every other month.

      Then I switched to bi-weekly and did that for a while. The explosion came when I went to weekly newsletters.

      I am still not consistent with the day of the week it is going out but that is my intention for January.

      Since I have been sending my newsletters out weekly – I have gotten more sign-ups, my opening rate is higher than ever and people are signing up as clients as a result of me being in their thoughts when they need support around healthy eating and living.

      As far as unsubscribers – I used to be sad, frustrated and disappointed when I saw folks unsubscribe. Now – I am excited because I know that they are not my ideal audience.

      Keep up the great work.

      Csilla

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    3. Robin, thanks for your feedback. I’m glad you found the post helpful. I’d say on an average week, I have 3 new subscribers and 1 unsubscribe (this excludes the weeks where I give talks and have 10+ sign up). What’s frustrating is that only 40-50% open the newsletter. I’ve heard that this is average, and do try to give compelling names to the emails. I still wish I had a higher than average open rate.
      As far as posting weekly, my take is that those who are most interested in my content (therefore, most likely to hire me) will not be bothered by the email.
      Something else I didn’t add is that I NEVER add anyone to my list who did not ask to receive the newsletter. I’m always a little surprised when after a networking event I’m suddenly receiving newsletters I never asked to receive. I’d rather have a smaller list full of folks who want to hear from me, than a large list that reaches people who have no idea how they got on my list.

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