Starting A Monthly Newsletter

I took the leap yesterday and started a monthly newsletter called Mystery Tin MonthlyThe experience was enlightening, and humbling, to say the least.

I finally decided to put my money where my mouth is, so I started my own Mystery Tin newsletter. I previously wrote a post about what starting a newsletter can do for an artist, but after binge-listening to over 50 episodes of the Side Hustle Nation podcast on the 16 hour holiday road trip home (and back), it is the unanimous opinion of online business owners that in order to succeed, you absolutely must cultivate a mailing list for direct e-mail contact and marketing. Most importantly, this group isn’t primarily a sales pool. These people are your tribe. So at first, it is advisable to move slowly and tread lightly. I think I did that part right.

It took me a quite while (and a little bit of magic) but I managed to scrape together nearly 700 e-mail addresses of my friends, previous businesses associates, and business contacts. I know I didn’t get everybody on the list (I still don’t think my parents are signed up yet) but chances are if you’re my friend on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, I most likely added you to the mailing list for my new newsletter. Did you get it? (If not, click here and sign yourself up!)

The newsletter is a monthly e-mail newsletter, Mystery Tin Monthly, containing the top blog posts, photographs, great links, and updates on projects under the Mystery Tin Brand, sent out on the first Monday of each month. This first newsletter was a little bit longer, broken into sections with an introduction to the newsletter, my top 3 blog posts on MysteryTin.com, my top pictures on Instagram, a sneak peek of Happy Hour!, and a reminder that Dinner’s Ready! is available for sale. Oh yeah, and a call for action and sharing. Duh.

I designed the newsletter in MailChimp, which also offers a number of added benefits that you can work into the campaign, including opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes. I clicked all the boxes I could and I scheduled my first newsletter to fire off at 12:15 PM, landing squarely during the lunch hour on January 2, New Year’s Day Observed. It definitely got my heart racing, but once the e-mail was out, I was refreshing the report over and over again, watching the results come back in real time…

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-8-39-24-am

For the sake of transparency in the pursuit of knowledge, I’ve included a screenshot of my newsletter report. At the time I’m publishing this post, Tuesday, January 3, the e-mail was opened by 38.1% of recipients, with 26 total clicks for a 3.2% click rate, 10 bounce backs and a grand total of 33 unsubscribers. At first I was weary of the seemingly low numbers, but when compared to the industry standards, it actually appears I’m doing really well with my list (nearly 2.5x the industry average!). Maybe there will be some promise in this newsletter thing for me after all!

Of course, as a glutton for punishment, I couldn’t help but go through the unsubscribes. Who would unsubscribe from my newsletter?!?! I was expecting a small number of unsubscribes, particularly from those obscure apiary connections from China I friended on LinkedIn, but when I opened the unsubscribe list, I was actually quite surprised. Former co-workers and bosses, fraternity brothers, high school classmates, and more surprisingly, a handful of close family friends had all opted out of my newsletter. Part of me was shocked to see that people I really cared about, people I was actively invested in, people I grew up with, were not interested in hearing about my life. The way I looked at it, it was a monthly newsletter, so if you can’t stand one e-mail a month from meyou’re basically saying “I really don’t give a fuck about you.” It’s only one e-mail a month!

Thanks for being a good friend… jerk.

Emotions aside, e-mail marketing is simply a game of averages. Yesterday, I e-mailed nearly 700 people, so there’s bound to be some blowback. I can’t spend my time worrying about each and every person that unsubscribes from my newsletter, because no matter what, there’s always going to be somebody who isn’t interested in reading what you have to say or isn’t interested in buying what you’re selling. The challenge is, you must go on ceaselessly toward your goals, because “you’ll never get where you’re going if you stop to throw rocks at every barking dog.” I think that was a Winston Churchill quote.

The only thing I need to do now is set up the all the extra bells and whistles to get people signing themselves up for the Mystery Tin Monthly mailing list. I have the sign-up page, but I’m having some trouble with the pop-ups on my own website and embedding a sign up box in the text box (anybody out there want to help me with this?!)

What did you think of the first Mystery Tin Monthly? What would you like to hear more about? Let me know what you think by responding to the e-mail to mysterytin@gmail.com or by posting your comments below!

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Did you like this post? Check out some of our other popular Mystery Tin posts!
Personal Fire Ecology
 is a quick look at the rationale behind my yearly purge by fire.
The A-Z of My 2016 is my year in review mega post of 2016, complete with anecdotes, photographs, and some of my favorite songs and content from 2016.
How to Run a Successful Crowdsourcing Campaign is a fantastic overview of the nuts and bolts in running a crowdsourcing campaign.
Starting a Podcast (Network) for Under $200 on WordPress is the play-by-play I used in setting up the show MAD Potential (with Ben Mehl) on the Mystery Tin Podcast Network.

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