A couple of months ago I wrote a post suggesting that indie developers set up a customer mailing list. I figured that it is such an important topic that it was worth revisiting.
This post is a sort of grab bag of suggestions and tips.
There are so many good reasons to have an email marketing list:
- If somebody comes to your website, or downloads your application but doesn't buy it right away, they can join your mailing list, and get to know you and your company a bit more. And then, perhaps, become a customer.
- You will have a base of current and potential customers to notify of your upcoming products and releases.
- You can cooperatively promote your fellow indie developers' software programs. By introducing cool software to people on your list, they will appreciate you, as will your fellow developers.
- You can provide tips and tricks for the users of your software. Even if your subscriber doesn't own the software you mention, they will see that you are proactive and helpful to your customers, and be more likely to become a customer in the future.
- Your subscribers may want to forward your emails to other people, thus netting you more subscribers.
- You have a base of people to solicit ideas from, have take polls, sign up for beta testing, etc.
- You can show off some of your users' productivity. For instance, we like to spotlight a couple of customers' Sandvox-built websites each month.
- You can keep your company and your products in the back of people's minds.
Some General Suggestions
Don't just make your newsletter for your customers. There are a lot of people out there who may not need your software, but are curious about what you are up to, or maybe are looking forward to the next great application you write. These are your potential customers, and you are much more likely to sell to them than to somebody who you are hoping will wander onto your website.
Make your signup form easy to find on your website. Really easy. You want to capture people who are just window-shopping, not really in the buying mood. Catch them while you can!
(I have gone to some indie websites, knowing that they had an email list, but sometimes it took me 5 minutes to find the form, or I gave up completely!)