subscribers - Prospects and customers who read your newsletter.
Too many software developers have abandoned their newsletters because few customers have signed up as subscribers. By contrast, the percentage of developers who respond positively to invitations to subscribe to my newsletter - Al Harberg's Software Marketing Newsletter - is over 85 percent.
Here are my Top Five Tips to get your customers to subscribe to your newsletter:
Tell your software customers immediately why you're writing to them
First, your email must get their attention. In the invitations that I send, I start by saying something like, "As a follow-up to our press release emailing last month,...". You can accomplish the same thing by starting your email with "As a follow-up to your purchasing our software last week,...".
Everybody wants to feel good about the things that they've purchased. Your customers are in the right frame of mind to hear from you. Email them, and tell them about your newsletter.
Give your customers a sample of the material that the newsletter contains
Tell them something about your software that they likely don't already know - something that will make their lives better.
Make your customers say to themselves, "The idea in this email is going to benefit me by making me more money (or saving me money, or making my life easier, or letting me relax and enjoy life more, or whatever it is that your application does for your users). If I subscribe to the newsletter, I'll receive this kind of benefit every month. Free!"
If people have bought your game, tell them that you just released an exciting new level. It's free to registered owners, and they can download it immediately, and enjoy a new gaming experience in just a few minutes. Give your customers the URL, and invite them to download their free bonus.
If you're offering a Windows utility, tell your customers about the incredibly innovative time-saving idea that one of your other clients mentioned to you. Impress them with how easy this new idea is to implement, and how it will improve their lives.
If you're selling educational software, offer customers a tip that lets them get more out of the program. Remind them that your software is giving their kids the life skills that they need to succeed. Make them feel good about their purchase.
Tell your customers in a single sentence what your newsletter is about
This sentence has to tell them how they will benefit from subscribing. The basic message has to be, "If you like the idea I sent you in this email invitation, then you're going to love reading the newsletter every month."
Give customers anti-spam assurances
Make people comfortable signing up for your email newsletter by saying that you'll only use their email address for sending them your newsletter, that they can unsubscribe at any time, and that you'll never sell, trade, or give their email address to anybody else. Ever.
Ask them to subscribe
Make it easy for them to say "yes." For example, I tell my customers that they can read articles in my newsletter archive on http://www.dpdirectory.com/articn01.htm, or subscribe by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Customers will subscribe to your newsletter because you promise to make their lives better. Your newsletter has to deliver on this promise.
Sometimes, subscribers unsubscribe
People are always looking for ways to simplify their lives, and unsubscribing from useless newsletters is a great way to eliminate clutter. You'll keep subscribers if you send people usable information in every issue. Make your newsletter 95 percent usable information, and five percent gentle selling.
Newsletters sell software
Newsletters continue to be an incredibly effective way for software vendors to support customers, generate referrals, create cross-selling opportunities, and find new buyers.
Software developers find that it takes quite a bit of work to create and sustain a newsletter. But the results can be outstanding. Newsletters are good software marketing.
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