In the Summertime

Among the many things I enjoy about my town is the summer concert series put on by our local arts association.

Over several weeks, on both Friday and Saturday evenings, they bring in an assortment of bands from as far away as … well, I don’t actually know but they don’t live here.

It’s outdoors (of course) with a wide selection of beer and wine for purchase and a barbecue truck that pulls up and parks off to the side. Bring your own lawn chair and sit wherever you like.

On a good night there are maybe 150 people on hand.

I’ve noticed two things…

#1. I know a lot of these people.

After 20 years in town, and in addition to those I would classify as actual “friends,” as I scan the crowd, I see kids’ former teachers, past and present neighbors, local professionals, and plenty of people whose appearance prompts me to ask my wife, “Who is that guy again?”

Mostly not friends, definitely not strangers.

#2. One hundred and fifty is no small number.

It’s not Taylor-Swift-concert size, certainly. But it’s way more than I could fit in my basement or ever hope to have at my funeral (although I hope you will attend).

One hundred and fifty people is a crowd.

Your Newsletter is a Summer Concert

When thinking about publishing a newsletter, one of the reasons some professionals balk is because they think their list is “too small.”

Even though for most people it tends to be way north of 150 – I find that the average solo professional newsletter has a list in the 400-600 range – there’s still concern that maybe it’s not worth doing.

Some things to keep in mind…

First, these are not strangers.

So sure, 150 people who have never heard of you – as is the case in the world of direct mail, billboards, radio advertising, public speaking, and much of social media – is unlikely to move the needle. In those cases, you need much larger numbers.

But your newsletter is sent to people you already “know.”

I define that as: If you ran into them in the supermarket, the airport, or the local pharmacy (“This isn’t for me, I’m picking it up for a friend”), you wouldn’t have to reintroduce yourself.

They may not be “friends,” but they are all people who are predisposed to hearing from you and (very important) in a position to offer up your name the next time their friend or colleague asks, “Do you know someone who could help us with….?”

Second, for people like us who sell a professional service, “hundreds” is a lot.

We have clients, not customers. They hire us individually, one at a time.

Nike needs 40% of worldwide market share. As for me (and probably you), if I work with 20 clients in a single year, that’s a lot. So having a base of a few hundred readers is plenty to get the word-of-mouth job done.

And it certainly scales a lot better than attending a networking event (in person or virtually) in which you’ll be lucky to interact with even ten people.

Third, it repeats. It repeats.

As much as I enjoy attending these summer concerts, the bands all feel pretty much the same. One-time events which, once finished, I hardly remember.

But imagine if the same band played month after month … forever.

I’d get to know the musicians, their set list, their overall style.

Well, that’s what your newsletter is for you. A chance to play your “music,” every month, forever, to an audience of people you know.

People who like you and will think of you the next time a problem arises that you can solve.

I’d like to make it more complicated than that, but it really isn’t.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What’s your favorite summertime song?
  2. How many people do you expect at your funeral (extra credit if Taylor Swift will be one of them)?
  3. How do you stay in touch with the people you already know?

Share your answers below…

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