Communications

Communications with your readers, customers, & social media contacts is an important part of growing your mini magazines online authority. It is surprisingly had to do it well. The volume  grows exponentially and even a small community will overwhelm your ability to keep track of who did what to who. 

Organize your communications early to avoid future pain

I got online in 1998 and over the years have watched a number of people rise from obscurity to ​prominence. If they get really successful they all end up spending a huge amount of time and several thousand dollars converting to Infusionsoft. You won't have to do that because there are now Infusionsoft alternatives which are cheaper and easier to use. However, no matter what systems you choose, changing from one to another is a giant time and money sink. A little upfront planning can mitigate some of the pain.

Choose a tag based customer management system​

Beginners have traditionally started with a list based service like Mailchimp. Their free account lets you have up to 2,000 people in your lists. As your list grows you will soon have a situation where you would like to mail some of the people on your list, but not all. So you create a second list. Now you may have one person on two lists. That means they count twice against your 2,000 member limit. Worse, if they unsubscribe or change email addresses they only come off of one list. You will find yourself accused of spamming them because they are still on one of your lists. ​

Tags are a much "cleaner" approach. There is only one list. Communications can be really targeted by limiting messages to those with only certain tags. Tag based systems let you apply logic to the tags. For example, send a notice about the release of my new book only to people with tag1 OR tag7 AND not tag3​, Done well your open rates stay high because your readers know that a message from you will be something they want to see.

Tag based systems are complicated​

The price you pay for better communications is increased complexity. Systems like ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit come with flow chart tools to help you setup your communications. You will need that help. Imagine that selection I mentioned above. Now think about what else you communications management system needs. Did the mail bounce? How many bounces should you allow before you automatically remove them from your list? Did they open the email? If not, should you send a follow up message? How long should you wait before the second message is sent? What should it say?  

By starting with a tag based system you can grow into the complexity. ​You will not be forced to change systems.

Always use a service, not your own email accounts​

You may have noticed that Gmail and other free email systems let you keep a contact list and mail to selected people in your list. Using this to communicate with your growing readership is NOT a good  idea.

Google will quickly notice the increased mail volume and flag your messages as spam. The service providers work hard to keep spammers out of their systems so the mail they send is more trusted than that coming from your computer. The delivery of mail from a service will be faster, with fewer problems, that what you send directly.

Should you outsource communications?​

You will want to keep control of the content of the mail you send. However, having someone with experience using the communications serve you have chosen may be an affordable ​way to make best use of your time. Let an assistant handle the setup, schedule, and other tasks. You write the email, answer reader questions, and assign  tags. 

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