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Daniel ‘Mamba’ Odoi

On Starting Your Newsletter

Published 18 days ago • 8 min read

Reading time: 6-7 minutes

Hey Reader,

Have you been thinking about (or "procrastinating") starting your email newsletter for your personal, or business brand?

Or you've already got an email but you don't know which platform to get started with?

Or perhaps you've already launched, but you're unsure how to continually grow your email list?


🤷🏽‍♂️ Or maybe you think there's 0 value in building an email list.

"I mean, who reads emails nowadays anyway?

What's the point of having an email newsletter?


- Me (just a few years ago)


That all changed with this one event...


A hacked IG account (not mine)

In October 2022, I received a new "follow" from a fellow creator called Connor Newell based in the United States.


We had previously connected on Instagram before (as we were part of a creator program) so I was confused why he was following me from a new account.

Then I saw the first video post on his new account:


Just like that, his account was gone.

10 years' worth of content and followers.

Plus all of the momentum and traffic that was driving his business.

Despite his best attempts to recover it with the Meta (Facebook/Instagram) support team, it was obvious to him that he had a better chance of winning the lottery than recovering his Instagram account.


However, on a brighter note...

As Connor's a certified weapon when it comes to content, he's been able to take his brand new Instagram account from 0 to ~5k followers as of the time of writing 🚀


The reason I share this story with you is because it suddenly made me realise that if it could happen to him, it could happen to anyone.

So whether you're

  • hacked like Connor;
  • lose login access to your account; or
  • get indefinitely banned from the social media platform


You'd have to start from zero.

Unless you have your own email list.


In an age where something like:

  • the wrong keyword in your caption
  • a controversial statement in your podcast; or
  • a complaint against the topics of your video

...can lead to you losing access to your account and audience, starting your email newsletter is one of the smartest moves you can make to insure yourself against it happening.


Let's get started.


Step 1: Purchase Your Own Domain

You might be thinking:

"Why do I need my own domain to send email?

"Can't I just use my @gmail address?"


Simply put - providers such as Gmail or Yahoo can issue a block whenever you "bulk" send emails with lots of recipients.

While this may not be a problem for your first 5-10 subscribers, this becomes a big issue when your email list starts growing to 50, 100, 500, 1000 etc...

All marketing emails should be sent from a domain you own, not from a personal account at a provider domain, like @gmail, @hotmail, @yahoo, etc

Learn more: ConvertKit

Aside from that, I also believe that in a digital-first future, one best investments you can make is by purchasing your full name as a website domain (".com", "com.au", ".co.nz". or ".co" if it's available)

This will future-proof your personal brand and avoid the same dilemma that Michael Francis from our Sprints faced when he realised that someone with the same first and last name had already purchased his ".com" domain.

To buy your own domain, it'll typically cost between $10 - $20 per year

To search available domains and purchase them, you can go to:


Note: you don't need to build a website (yet!). We've just set ourselves up for the next step


Step 2: Set up an email alias

Your alias is simply the email address name that precedes the @yourdomain.com, such as:

  • hello@yourname.com
  • mamba@creatorswithcharisma.com
  • support@yourbusinessname.com

Depending on which domain provider (Step 1) you purchased your domain from, you'll want to navigate to the settings menu of your domain and find the setting relating to "Email" or "Redirect Email".

👉🏽 This feature allows any emails that are sent to your alias to be forwarded ("redirected") to your personal email address.

Here's what it looks like for Namecheap:

So if you want to create an alias that is your first name and redirects emails to your personal/private email address, this is how:

Name: firstname

Email Alias:
firstname@yourdomain.com

Forward to: yourpersonalemail@gmail.com (the one you're probably reading this from)

Now, let's select the email platform you'll be using to collect email addresses and send your newsletter


Step 3: Select Your Email Platform

This is where a lot of folks overthink it and get overwhelmed.

And I get it, there are a lot of options out there such as:

  • Klaviyo
  • Beehiiv
  • Substack
  • MailerLite
  • Mailchimp
  • ActiveCampaign
  • And the list goes on...


If you want to cut the research time, and just get started with one of the best beginner-friendly platforms then hear it from Michael Lim, one of Sprint Storyteller alumni that's grown his email newsletter list to +2.6k subscribers (at the time of writing).


To everyone who joins the Sprints and starts their email newsletter, he recommends (and supports them with) getting started with ConvertKit.

🚨 Full disclosure - I also use ConvertKit for this newsletter.

But as a digital marketer for +10 years who has tried and switched amongst them all, I 100% vouch for it as well for these reasons:

  • Affordable: Free to use for up to 1000 subscribers
  • Beginner Friendly: Easy to get started with lots of resources
  • No-BS Analytics: The breakdown of subscriber data is brilliant
  • Deliverability: One of the best email platforms for ensuring that your emails land in the inbox (and not spam) of your subscribers.
  • Features: If you're ready to grow, there are a tonne of useful features to accelerate your growth

Of course, you're welcome to pick whatever email platform you prefer, as long as it suits your budget, skill level and preference!

Now that you've created a new account with your selected email platform, it's time to verify your "sending" email.


Step 4: Verify Your Sending Email

To bulk send emails on behalf of your email alias, your selected email platform (i.e. ConvertKit) needs to "verify" that you own the email address.

🤔 This is why we set up an email redirect in Step 2!

Navigate to the section of your email platform's settings called "Email Addresses".

Then just plug in the name and email alias you'd like the email to be sent from.

For this example, I'll refer to my ConvertKit dashboard:

Then you'll get a verification email that'll first be sent to your email alias, and then shortly afterwards, it'll be redirected to your personal email inbox.

Click on "Verify Your Email" and you're done!

Now you’re ready to start sending emails to your subscribers...but first, let's GET you some subscribers!


Step 5: Create A Freebie ("Lead Magnet")

Here's the harsh truth.

99.9% of people don't want to sign-up for your newsletter.

But 99.9% of people love receiving things for free.

So create a freebie.

This is a relevant, valuable and/or actionable resource (sometimes referred to as a "lead magnet") as an incentive in exchange for their email address.

Because this is one of the most powerful & proven ways to consistently grow your list of email subscribers, even if you're not writing a weekly newsletter.


Here are some potential ideas for valuable freebies you could create:

  1. A free eBook.
  2. A printable
  3. A digital checklist
  4. A free trial or demo
  5. An exclusive discount code
  6. A free webinar or online course
  7. A quiz or assessment questionnaire
  8. A free template (Notion)
  9. A case study
  10. A free consultation

Note: even though these are free, that doesn't mean they should be cr*p.

You don't get a second chance at making first impression.

So remember - pack so much value into it that it makes them go:

"How the heck did I get this for free?!"

This is an opportunity to "wow" your audience, build trust and increase the likelihood of them seeing what else you have to offer in the future (i.e. newsletter, products or services).

Then, build a simple opt-in page, where your audience can provide their email ("opt-in") to receive your freebie.

Here's what to include:

  1. Clear headline that communicates the value of the freebie
  2. Brief description and benefits of the freebie
  3. Image or graphic that illustrates the freebie
  4. Form for contact info exchange
  5. Call-to-action button to submit info
  6. Trust indicators (testimonials, social proof)
  7. Optional: additional info or resources for context/interest


Option 1: ConvertKit

If you've opted for ConvertKit, they offer a suite of free, well-designed & mobile-friendly templates that you can use.

Here's an example of a valuable freebie hosted on ConvertKit from Aaron Barnes, one of our Storyteller Sprint alumni.

Option 2: Gumroad


Alternatively, Gumroad is a fantastic platform to host your freebies and collect email addresses (but it does take a cut if you charge for your products)

Here's an example of a valuable freebie from Antonie 'Ant' Ng, one of our Storyteller Sprint alumni.


Option 3:
Your website

If you're ultra savvy and have built your website, then you can offer your freebie on the home page of your website.

Here's an example of a valuable freebie hosted on the home page of Carlin Roche's website, one of our Storyteller Sprint alumni.

Now that you've got an irresistible freebie that your audience will happily provide their email in exchange for, it's time to spread the news!


Step 6: Start promoting it!

When you're starting, you NEED to be heavily promoting your stuff the loudest because no one else is going to do it for you.


Anywhere you have a digital channel, talk about it, link it and plug it shamelessly.

And if you feel uncomfortable about promoting your freebie, then it's probably not valuable.

🤔 Think about it:

If you made a resource with information that's positively changed your life and you know it could do the same for others then...

Don't you have an obligation to get it in the hands of as many people who could benefit from it as possible?

In Michael Lim's case, he learned how to break any limiting beliefs and push past insecurities about promoting his (valuable) freebies across his socials, which he credits to contributing to his growth in email subscribers.


Step 7: Start Writing

Now that you've delivered a valuable freebie and #wow'd your new subscribers, it's time to start talking to them.

"But what do I write about?!"

Anything.

  • Tips
  • Stories
  • Insights and lessons
  • Resources that have helped you
  • Updates on your projects and life

If they've opted into receiving your freebie, then they're probably interested in learning more about you and what else you have to offer!

So just pick an approach that works for you, that you can enjoy and most importantly, sustain:

  • Focus: Pick 3-5 topics or themes you want to share
  • Format: Guides, storytelling, a curation of content
  • Frequency: Once per week, fortnight or month


Trust me - you'll figure it out as you go along.

The most important thing is that you just start.

Your future self will thank you for it.

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.

The second best is now


- Chinese Proverb

So in summary, to start your email newsletter:

  1. Domain: Buy your own domain ("website")
  2. Alias: Create an email address to send from
  3. Platform: Select an email platform to start with
  4. Verify: Confirm you own the sending email address
  5. Freebie: Create a valuable free incentive for your audience
  6. Promote: Go CRAZY and plug it everywhere
  7. Start writing: Start talking to your audience

I hope this serves you well and I'll see you in the next update,

Mamba
@danielmambaodoi

PS: Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 other ways I can help you:

1. Tools - My recommended tools to streamline your digital business and content creation.


2.
Masterclass - Enrol in my Digital Rebrand Masterclass to refresh your digital headshot, colour palette, fonts, logo, bio and links.

3. Sprints – Join our next cohort of digital storytellers to scale your digital influence, impact & income.

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Affiliate Disclaimer
: Occasionally, I'll share referral or affiliate links for products or services I'm absolutely in love with. If you decide to click on those links and make a purchase yourself, I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you)

Daniel ‘Mamba’ Odoi

Your Digital Storytelling. Simplified

Simplicity scales, complexity fails. Join the community of digital storytellers scaling their influence, impact & income with smarter systems.

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