Now that you’ve built up your mailing list, you’ve got to deliver on the promises you made to the individuals who signed up. These promises consist of both the promises you explicitly made (“sign up and I’ll email you a free report”), as well as the implicit promise you made to provide them with information they’ll find useful and valuable.
Here’s how to engage with your readers and give them exactly the content they’re looking for, and which they will hopefully come to rely upon you to give them in the future.
One effective way to give your readers what they want is by paying close attention to what they’re currently spending their time reading on your website. The best method for doing this is by installing analytics software on your website.
Analytics software will help you learn how people found your site, what pages they visit, and how long they spend on each page before they leave your site. If you use a service such as the free Analytics code offered by Google (http://www.google.com/analytics/), you’ll also learn more about where your visitors live, and other demographic information. Over time, this information can be a great help in deciding what your readers are most interested in, and therefore what type of content you should be creating for them in the future.
Read Comments and Message Boards
If you allow comments to your blog posts, or provide message boards for your website visitors to discuss various topics, then it’s important to read those comments and message boards to see what they’re talking about. Sometimes people will discuss with other users the features they think a product is lacking, or what information they wish they had, but they won’t necessarily take the time to tell you directly.
Look at Your Competitors’ Websites
Chances are you’re not the only business that’s operating in a particular niche. (And if you are the only person offering a particular product or service, it probably won’t be long before competitors appear on the scene.) Make use of the fact that there are others operating in your niche by checking out what those other businesses are offering. Are there any product or service needs that you’ve overlooked, or not previously considered? You can also stay on top of what potential customers are likely to be interested in by subscribing to your competitors’ newsletters, Twitter feeds and other accounts and paying attention to what’s happening on them.
Finally, don’t neglect the most direct approach – ask your visitors what they’re interested in reading about. You’ll get the most direct answers, and the act of asking them will strengthen your relationship – it lets them know that you value their input, and that their wants and needs are important to you. You can accomplish this by making periodic requests for input as part of your normal article or blog post publication schedule, and perhaps even including a free product or service giveaway to provide additional incentive for your readers to participate.
So now you know how to give your readers what they want, but what about your business? Certainly, there has to be a win-win for both publisher and subscriber. In the next post, let’s talk about how to make sure your emails get the results and conversions that you’re looking for.