One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received came to me about 20 years ago, from my older friend Tom who counseled, “Don’t confuse your wedding with your marriage.”
Tom believed that most engaged people focus too much attention on planning the one day event — the wedding — and not enough attention on planning the marriage itself;something which will (hopefully) last a lifetime.
Two decades later, I now see that there are a lot of similarities between launching an E-Newsletter, and launching a marriage. Granted, your life doesn’t flash in front of your eyes nearly as often, but beyond that, the two events have a lot in common.
Most of all, first timers have a tendency to give too much attention to the “big event” — the newsletter launch — and not enough to life on the other side.
With that in mind, here’s the advice I give to my clients:
• Get the newsletter off the ground as quickly as possible, and resist the urge to delay the launch, “until XYZ is ready.”
• Don’t worry about perfecting the first issue.
• Focus on making the newsletter better and more useful to your readers and your business, month after month after month.
• You can’t see everything from the starting line. As many times as I’ve planned and launched new E-Newsletters, I still don’t uncover every cross selling opportunity, every clever connection back to the company web site, or every means of generating reader interaction, at the beginning. It’s simply not possible to know how all the pieces will best fit together until you build the machine and watch it run for a little while.
• The cost of fine tuning is practically zero. It’s usually not until the fourth or fifth time they hear me say, “don’t worry, we can change anything — artwork, layout, tone, frequency –anything, at any time,” that people start to really understand that this is an infinitely flexible tool, and that unlike building an addition on a house, the cost of changing the specifics is small.
• No single issue — not even the first — is that important. If you step back and think about why E-Newsletters are so effective — they generate leads and referrals; they open up a dialogue with your customers; they position you as a thought leader; they support your other marketing efforts — you’ll see that most of the value occurs over time. As we’ve said here before, this is a “farming” approach to growing a business, and farming takes time and consistency (but make no mistake; once it gets going, farming beats the hell out of hunting for a living).
Bottom Line: Get your E-Newsletter out the door! Like a wedding, the thrill of the initial event is fleeting, and after all the guests go home and the honeymoon is over, that’s when the real work (and fun) begins. Happy Valentine’s Day!