I've been asked this question. My newsletter--let's be honest-- is just a sales pitch for fans of a nobody named Michael LaRocca. Here I sit, not yet published, with 421 subscribers. That's one heck of a fan base.
Okay, I've been published since making that statement, but question remains. 421 subscribers in four months with no product to sell. What is my secret?
Let's look at what I just said. "No product to sell." I've been sending out newsletters for four months, and I've written about 20 of them. One issue had a product to sell. What could I possibly have written about in other 19?
It doesn't matter. The point is, I wasn't "selling" anything. People do not want to check email box and find somebody trying to sell him something every damn time he writes. They want something that will help them, or something that's interesting, or something that's just plain funny. If you get someone to subscribe to your newsletter, and newsletter gives him/her nothing but a sales pitch, he leaves.
Every time I send out a newsletter, I lose about two subscribers. But rest just keep reading. That's first point. Make it a good newsletter. Otherwise, all those people who joined list "just to see what it's about" won't stick around. If that's case, all promotion in world won't help you.
Okay, with that out of way, let's assume your newsletter totally rocks. Let's assume it's so well written that every person on planet who sees it wants to bear your children. It won't do you a bit of good if people don't know your newsletter exists. And that's really what this article is about. How to tell them.
E-GROUPS AND NEWSLETTER ANNOUNCEMENTS
Since you have a newsletter, you should start by listing it in all newsletters that do nothing except announce new newsletters. Who would subscribe to such a newsletter? Not me. I presume that subscribers are folks with waaaay too much free time on their hands. Just sort of people I'm after.
What I did was visit each of announcement lists, read their rules, and put together a single ad that is acceptable to them all. I saved ad in a file along with their email addresses. As often as I'm allowed, I send ad to appropriate places and record date that I did it. Some are weekly and some are monthly. Here's my list:
ListBot has no searchable database, but they tell me it's coming soon. I will look for "announce" and "promote" and add some lists to my list.
SmartGroups - AAnnounce@smartgroups.com, AAnounce@smartgroups.com, email@example.com
Topica - AAnnounce@topica.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, FindLists@topica.com, List_Announcements@topica.com, List-Your-Lists@topica.com, List_Builder@topica.com, List_Of_Lists@topica.com, email@example.com, PromoteList@topica.com
Yahoogroups - firstname.lastname@example.org, AAnnounce@yahoogroups.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, List_Announcements@yahoogroups.com, List_of_Lists@yahoogroups.com, List-Your-List@yahoogroups.com, ListAdvertise@yahoogroups.com, email@example.com, Newlists@yahoogroups.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
As long as you're visiting egroups, consider this. E-groups allow you to send a single email to everyone on subscriber list. If you dive into every group you find and say, "Here's my site and here's what I'm selling," you're immediately identified as a spammer. People get pissed at you, and that's NOT way to sell a book or a newsletter or anything else.
But here's what you do. As an example, let's say you wrote a book that's loaded with horse stuff. Find groups where horsey people hang out. Join conversations. Don't spam! Just have some fun talking about something you love, horses. Be as helpful as you can. At end of each message, slip in your SIG. Your SIG will contain your website or newsletter address. You'll be surprised how many people "follow you home" and join your group.
Ask yourself why you're visiting my website or subscribing to my newsletter. (You are subscribing, aren't you? http://groups.yahoo.com/group/michaellarocca) It's because I'm providing content you want and need, and am genuinely nice and helpful. That's just how I am, but it also happens to be a great sales gimmick. Remember that. Provide something USEFUL in those conversations, and casually slip in your URL. Don't just go plastering everyone with same spam or they'll never forgive you.
WEB SITE PROMOTION
If you have a newsletter, and you have a website, each can promote other. Both are free, so if you don't have both, fix that right away.
Now if you have a newsletter but no website, you may be saying "I can't set up a website." Wrong! I'm not going to go into all details because (1) There are too many and (2) There are far too many people more qualified than I am. But if you want some help getting started, visit http://readers.freeservers.com/bookpromo.html
The site mentioned above is my own. It's where I put info and links about places that I've learned from. It'll get you started. What you want to remember is this. Don't go after writers. Yes, I did that, but don't follow my example. Go after readers. Always remember that when you market. Readers.