January 21, 2020

The importance of an email list

If you’re anything like me, you spend odd hours (waiting in line at the DMV, anyone?) popping around the internet and following flights of fancy. My flights of fancy often revolve around food. For personal reasons, I would love a food version of NoveList where I could put in the ingredients that I thought had been in this recipe I tried years ago and didn’t save and can’t find again (a Nigerian stew with peanut butter, beef, and something fish-related?) but that’s a tasty digression from my point which is — those food websites always want my email address. So do the knitting sites and the parenting sites. There’s a good reason for this. 

As Jenny mentions in her blog post about good open rates, the death of email has been predicted many times and yet the method of communication is still going strong, even in a time of social media. There are good reasons for this:

  1. Social media has a huge reach, but who gets your post is out of your control. Facebook has algorithms that determine who sees your post. Twitter is so time-based that your patrons might only see your tweet if they’re online at the time. We could go social media platform by social media platform, but this boils down to one fact: email consistently has a higher ROI than social. 
    When you send an email, you’ve sent it, and the person on your list has received it. Sure, spam problems pop up as email clients change some code, but a reliable newsletter service will always be working to guard against those and fix them as they happen.
    Take me and my (too many) food newsletters. It doesn’t matter if they come in while I’m at work; there’s always another line somewhere to read the newsletters I’ve saved. Nighttime emails? No problem. Like you, I check my email with my coffee first thing. 
  2. More than timing and who sees your posts, your email list is yours. Social media platforms can change their rules at any time, but you have that trusty email list. Don’t like a change your email client makes? No problem! Download that list and find another client. Our support team at NoveList will even help you bulk upload your email list to LibraryAware and save you a step.
  3. You can customize your lists! Take our NextReads newsletter service, for example. When you post a recommendation for a biography to social media, you don’t know if anyone seeing the post even likes biographies. But with the Biography NextReads newsletter, you know the people who signed up for it want biography recommendations; it’s why they signed up for your newsletter. Same for your children’s programming newsletter and your homeschoolers newsletter and your book club newsletter.

​Convinced, but wondering how to get email addresses in the first place? We have some white papers and webinars that can help, on newsletter best practices, and using email to connect your patrons to resources they need, like Flipster and LearningExpress.

The white papers and webinars have other tips for you too, like how to find content (psst: we make tons of content in LibraryAware that you can use), how to strategize who you’re going to engage and what you’re going to engage them about, and some tips for good design. These resources are a good starter kit for you to get your newsletters up and running – and to spruce them up if you’ve already got one. 

Looking for a newsletter provider? We’ve got you covered there, too. Just let us know you’re interested, and one of our NoveList consultants will ask you about your needs and let you know how LibraryAware can help.

Jennifer Lohmann is the Director of Sales and Marketing at NoveList. She is desperately trying to relisten to Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel before the third book in the trilogy is out. 


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