Publishing a Newsletter and Building a List Back In The Day!
Many years ago when I first started publishing a full sized tabloid newspaper called "Jeanne's Mail Order Clipboard", I sent it out to 3,000 every two months. I remember some of the tasks that I had to do to get it out to subscribers that were so time consuming. It was a full size newspaper and had normally eight to ten pages. If you have ever purchased a daily newspaper, that is the size we are talking about.
The first major task was to layout each page with ads and articles. These were laid out and then finally pasted neatly in place. It would sometimes take hours to get it laid out correctly, filling all the blank spots to insure it looked totally professional. Once I had it laid out, I would take it to the printer which was the local newspaper publisher, order the number of copies I needed and then pick up the finished product in a couple of days.
The next project was to get my mailing labels ready. Back then we had to maintain a master copy of our subscriber list. As we received new subscribers, we just added them to our list. We then used a xerox machine and blank mailing labels to print out the list, using the original as the master. We also would send a certain amount of each issue to people we saw advertising in other publications.
In order to mail the issue using a bulk mailing permit, I had to then sort by zip codes, tie into bundles and sort into mail bags furnished by the post office and label the bags properly. I can remember sorting all 3000 copies. We had piles all over the house, one for California, one for New York and so on. Next stop, take them to the post office with the necessary forms. Within the next three weeks, my subscribers would receive their copy. If they wanted to order advertising for the next issue or purchase an advertised product, they wrote a check and mailed it to me. I would confirm by snail mail or telephone and file everything for the next issue. And the process started all over again.
It sure sounds like fun doesn't it!
Let's move forward to 2016.
Today I have a similar list of subscribers. All have subscribed through a form on my websites. They are all automatically entered into a data base and they each receive a confirmation of their subscription within minutes. This process occurs twenty-four hours a day and I do not have to be involved in the process at all. When I am ready to send out a current issue of my newsletter, it takes me less than an hour to finalize the newsletter itself. On the publication date, I load the newsletter into my autoresponder, click on send and it goes out to the entire list of subscribers in less five minutes. No printing, no labels, no sorting, no postage and no piles all over the house.
Plus, if someone orders one of my products or services, it can happen almost immediately after the newsletter is sent out. No waiting weeks for each issue to get out there and another week for an order to be sent back to me. I have seen requests come in by email within fifteen minutes of sending out an issue. All of the orders that come in are handled through PayPal, no more waiting for checks to clear.
I know from reading and commenting on posts that there are some of you that might remember the good old mail order days and others of you that probably never had to handle layouts of publications or creating labels in order to do mailings. Some things were not as easy as they are today!