When I looked into starting my own mailing list I was overcome by a multitude of emotions: overwhelm, list-envy, confusion, fear of missing out, do I really need this??
I’ve been blogging since 2005 but I only started my business as a web designer in late 2014. I did so without a mailing list and that's been no issue until now. This summer, however, I decided to add an online web design course to my services and that changed things. Everyone I know who runs a successful e-course has a mailing list and that is in fact how they sell the majority of their services.
Now I am someone who is very uncomfortable with hardcore sales pitches and bombarding people with emails in the hope that enough readers will bite to fill my classes. I subscribed to a few popular online entrepreneurs and that’s exactly what happened. Which felt so disheartening to me.
Then there are people like Susannah or Sas who send out really lovely newsletters that are articulate, informative, visually stunning, and written from the heart. I love getting their newsletters, they make me feel good and I always make the time to read them. That’s what I aspire to with my own mailing list.
Once I got clear on that I got confused again.
What I didn’t want was to be all over the place with my own content: blog posts, social media posts (in my case Facebook personal and business page, Twitter, Instagram), Squarespace stuff, food photos, my never-ending weight-loss journey, musings from my private life. My German brain wants order and all of this felt decidedly messy and fragmented and now I wanted to add a newsletter into the mix as well??
Generally these are the things people subscribe to:
- Blog posts
- Product updates
- Special offers
- Private online groups
Some businesses have separate lists for each category and personally I find that quite confusing and overwhelming. However, the biggest issue for me was that I share most of my content on my blog so what value could a newsletter add to that? And do I now have to offer two kinds of subscriptions: one for the blog and one for the newsletter? Which is actually what most bloggers do.
And I think this is probably what I would have done as well, if it wasn’t for the fact that Squarespace does not have a blog subscription option.
Unlike Wordpress, where you just plug the respective widget into your sidebar and subscribers receive nicely formatted emails of your blog posts. It can be done in Squarespace via Mailchimp but it’s a little clunky and requires a certain set-up of your blog that not everyone wants. I love Squarespace but this is definitely an area where they need to improve and I am hopeful that they will include a blog subscription feature with their next system upgrade.
Anyway. This really made me re-evaluate my content and how and where I present it. Since starting on this path of offering more online services I have made a few changes to my blogging habits:
- I shut down my personal blog Autumn Diaries.
- I decided to stop blogging about weight-loss.
- I decided to combine personal, technical and business topics on this blog.
The latter caused me some agonizing as many of the business coaches out there say: “Stay on point. Find your niche and focus on that. Don’t dilute your content too much.” Ugh. I can totally see how that makes sense but for me personally this was a bit of a tough nut. I mean, should I now only write about web design and Squarespace? This would certainly be very helpful to many people and while these are going to be more prominent topics on my blog I can’t just write about these alone. Blogging has always been one of my main creative outlets and I love sharing my more intimate musings and experiences and photography on this forum. Which until now I did on my personal blog but it became very clear to me that I no longer wanted to keep two separate blogs.
So I decided to merge it all into one. And I had a bit of an epiphany:
I work for myself and my business and personal lives are pretty interconnected. This is me, all of it. And no matter what the experts say, I can actually do things my way. The way that feels true and good to me.
What does this mean for my readers and subscribers?
Unlike some bloggers who are closing down their blogs and only share their updates through their newsletters, I decided to continue sharing most of my writing on the blog. In the case of the more technical posts this means that you will be able to find Squarespace information easily by browsing my archives, everything will be available and searchable online. And for your convenience you can also chose to receive these posts by email by joining my mailing list.
So in many ways subscribing to my list is just a subscription to my blog, but with the added bonus of being the first to receive important news and exclusive special offers, such as e-course discounts.
Eventually subscribers will also gain access to my technical Treasure Trove where I will share all my Squarespace and web design tips & tricks and resources in one convenient place. If you are a Squarespace user this will definitely be very helpful to you. I am currently in the process of building the Squarespace Treasure Trove and plan to launch it in the late fall.
Ultimately my mailing list is about offering people a convenient service without overwhelming or confusing them. I want to make things as simple as possible for my readers while also providing them with good content and discounts for their loyalty.
If you'd like to join my mailing list simply enter your email address below. Please be assured that I never ever share email addresses and you can unsubscribe at any time.