How to Set up Your Self Promotional Kick Ass Newsletter

Are you a creative professional/freelancer/guru/genius without a newsletter (or whatever you prefer to call it)? Are you putting time most days into growing your mailing list to which you send this newsletter?

If not, sales why not? Every day serves as an opportunity to add prospects and clients and others who have expressed an interest in you and your service, ask or simply followers of your expertise, cheap to your mailing list.

Once they are on there, you are able to send these highly targeted people news, tidbits, and interesting information that effectively serves to remind them you exist. These contacts are now on your database (having opted in), and you have the right to send material to them, which is hugely valuable.

Email is still the most effective form of direct online communication amongst human beings. People do check most of their emails, especially if you have nurtured some trust and are liked (which you are/will be). The denser your mailing list, the more benign exposure you will get. And you need to get good ongoing exposure, right?

I wanted to share the main steps involved in setting up a mailing list and newsletter. It starts with working out what you’ll put in it…


First of all you need to decide on what content you will be providing via your newsletter. Will it be interesting updates to your work, what you have been working on? Or will you be providing tips or advice or articles based around your knowledge, perhaps in association with a blog you write that is aimed at your target client?

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Depending on the main reason behind setting up your newsletter, which could be to keep prospects and clients reminded of you, or for the purpose of sharing expertise on something, make sure you are creating content aimed strictly at your particular target group.

This could be your potential clients, or people who express an interest in your chosen topic of expertise.

Set Up

You need to sign up to an autoresponder like Aweber or Mailchimp. Having an online service like these performing the hard-work of running and maintaining a newsletter is a must. These providers will enable automated initial messages, building forms, automated broadcasts, statistics provision, database compilation and more.

Aweber is my personal favourite here, although it will attract a small monthly fee, which is definitely worth it.

There are other free providers that will provide similar functions like Aardvark and Bravenet, although I would advise against free providers as they may send out ads with your mail outs, and you could risk losing subscribers.

You will need to create a welcome message as part of setting up a newsletter with an autoresponder like Aweber. Make sure you remind new subscribers here what they should expect from the newsletter, how often they will receive it, as well as letting them know if you intend on promoting any products through it.

Don’t send out emails explicitly for selling anything directly, keep it on the low and make such messages indirect.

Opt-in area

The right people need to be able to sign up or ‘opt-in’ to your mailing list through a landing page, or a small area on your blog or site, for example. An example on Red Lemon Club is here.

Giving something away like a free ebook aimed at those you want on your list with the opt-in is highly recommended. An ebook, for example, can be attached with the welcome email subscribers receive, which you can set up via your autoresponder dashboard. You’ll need to take the code from your autoresponder and place it in your site in order for this to work, and this might take some professional help.

Now all you have to do is design your newsletter and attract subscribers to your opt-in page before sending out regular updates. Be sure to take care of your subscribers, responding to queries and so on. You want your subscribers to stay on your list!

Call to action

Include some kind of call to action that prompts your subscribers to take additional steps that lead to them hiring you for a project or buying a product of yours. This could be in the form of a brief line at the end of your actual newsletter.

Now it’s down to you to maintain a level of discipline, and send out newsletters according to your planned schedule. Something like once every two months if you are updating people of your work is fine.

Go out there and get known!


  1. Great tips! I have been following your site for a while and I really enjoy the articles here.

    In regards to this topic, at what point do you think someone moving into a professional career should consider starting a newsletter? I imagine if done too early on, before you are really well established it won’t be beneficial and may even be harmful as a career move.

    • Hi Kiri,

      Good question. It is definitely wise to start a newsletter once you have a product or service that is of genuine interest and/or value to people you are targeting the newsletter to. I don’t think sending out a newsletter too early is harmful, however, as everyone is developing their work, on an on-going basis and people have chosen to receive your newsletter. Also anyone can opt-out if they are not interested.

      Don’t be afraid to share work with people in the early stages of your career. People often like to see your work grow and improve.

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