Pam Swisher | fan994
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TAKE YOUR SUBSCRIBERS BACK TO SCHOOL

Sep 8th 2010 at 9:40 AM

It’s the start of September, and teachers everywhere are scrambling to pen lesson plans for that first day of school. So maybe it’s a good time for you to prepare for your new students, too.

What’s that? You don’t have any students? Maybe not technically, but everyone who signs up for your emails is like a student walking into your classroom, ready to learn how your business can help them.

So, are your pencils sharpened and your apples polished?

Here is A Guide to Welcoming Your New Students (aka Subscribers).

The first thing you need to do is write your name on the chalkboard.

For most kids, this isn’t their first First Day of School. And for most of your subscribers, these probably aren’t their first marketing emails.

But this time is different. It’s your classroom. Everything’s new, and they’re not quite sure what to expect. What will they be doing? How much will they learn?

Answer their questions up front, on your sign-up page or web form. Explain your schedule, what they’ll be reading, and what you hope they’ll learn.

The second thing is to sort them into classes.

Schoolchildren have different class schedules based on their strengths and interests. When they grow up and start signing up for emails, guess what? They still have different strengths and interests!

Get them into the right groups by setting up custom fields on your web form. Later, you can segment them so you can send each the “lessons” they need most.

The third thing, you guessed it, set assignments.

Teachers work hard to get the attention of a classroom of children. It would be foolish for them to go through that just to say, “Okay, talk to you later!” and leave.

But that’s what marketers do every day on their thank-you pages. They leave new subscribers to their own devices until the next email goes out.

When people sign up, their eyes are on you. Take advantage of that on your thank-you page. Offer something to do – articles to read on your site, things to go buy, something to think about for next time, questions to email you about.

The forth, pass out textbooks.

If you promised an incentive in exchange for signing up, distribute it with a link on your confirmation page.

This could be an e-book, a music file, a whitepaper – whatever is most appropriate. If you didn’t offer an incentive, it’s still a good idea to offer materials. List sites that relate to your topic – instructional videos, lists of suppliers and the like.

The fifth, instruct them to raise their hand.

In your welcome email, invite feedback. Your subscribers are the type of people your brand attracts. If they tell you what they want, you’ll be able to attract even more of those people.

And by asking at the get-go, whenever readers have constructive criticism or a question, they’ll know to bring them straight to you.

And finally, send them to recess.

In your first few emails, invite your new readers to drop by your social media pages, the comment areas on your blog, or your site’s user forum, if you have one.

There, they can play around a little, start their own conversations and get to know each other.

Make sure to moderate those spaces, answering direct questions and deleting spam comments, but hang back a little – the playground is everyone’s chance to play.

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