How To Give Visitors a Sneak Peek at Your Newsletter

You want a community of engaged readers. Your subscribers want interesting content in a layout they like. You’re both looking for love at first click.

As in any relationship, the best way for you to both get what you want from your direct email marketing is to set clear expectations from the very beginning.

An example of your newsletter goes a long way toward setting correct expectations. But how can you share one before the signup?

It’s easy, actually. Just combine two of the tools in your AWeber account – the broadcast archive and the web form generator. This combo lets you offer a sneak peek of your campaign to make sure it’s a good fit for each new subscriber.

Here’s how:

Link to a Past Email Newsletter at Signup

The broadcast archive stores web versions of your past broadcast messages. The web form generator lets you create custom signup forms where people can subscribe to your emails.

To show your newsletter to potential subscribers before they sign up, you would simply need to display a link on your web form to the archived version of one of your newsletters, like this:

Choose a newsletter to be your example

Scroll through your past newsletters in your account’s Broadcast page. Choose the one you think best represents your emails. Remember, you’re trying to give the most accurate depiction of what you’ll be sending your subscribers.

Choose a newsletter

Grab the link for it

Open the message you’ve chosen in the message editor. Scroll down to the “Syndicate” section. You’ll need to syndicate the message if you haven’t done so yet – this publishes it to the web.

The part you will use is the “Direct Link”. You can copy this link whenever you are ready to put it into your web form.

Grab the link

Add the link to your web form

Open the web form you’d like to use (or create a new one) in the web form generator. Decide where you’d like to put the link to your newsletter example.

Then decide what words to use and click on the Text icon to add them to the form. Remember, it’s an invitation, so be welcoming, not pushy.

Type the text you want in the editing box. Highlight it, click the link icon and paste in that link from Step 2. When you’re satisfied, save the changes.

If the text doesn’t appear where you want it to on the form, simply click and drag the field to the proper place.

Add the link to your web form

Start Using Your New Web Form

Congratulations! You’ve just upgraded from asking subscribers to take a shot in the dark to letting them make an informed decision.

You are one step closer to a community of interested readers who look forward to your messages.

Your Thoughts

Do you share an example of your newsletter or product before asking people to sign up for it? Does this seem to make a difference?

Can you think of any cases when you might not want to share an example first? How can you set clear expectations about your emails in these cases?

We always enjoy the ideas you share. Let us know what you think about setting expectations with a newsletter example below.

By:
Amanda Gagnon is the former Education Manager for AWeber and has started a number of small businesses.

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37 Comments

  1. this is a brilliant idea. I am new to aweber and all of the things I have been wanting to do with the email program my website couldn’t provide is provided here.

    Thank you!

    3/30/2010 12:15 pm
  2. Another winner from Aweber. Took 2 seconds to implement this using the lightbox form. A quick test confirmed it was indeed working. Not to mention, I haven’t used the Archive feature in many issues as it was really ugly in the past.

    Archiving of broadcasts looks fantastic now. Very clean, nice navigation. Worth using.

    Discovering that alone was worth giving this suggestion a try.

    3/30/2010 1:05 pm
  3. Great idea –

    It leads them down the path in smaller –
    less frightening steps.

    Thanks!

    3/30/2010 1:18 pm
  4. This seems to be a good idea! It allows you do deliver more content to your subscribers. This would work for broadcast messages and newsletters that are always available. However, if your process is to provide Newsletter 1 the first week after sign up, Newsletter 2 the next week, and so on, I would think someone could go and get all the content immediately (thus defeating what you wanted to to).

    For us, we will be testing this out to see the results!

    3/30/2010 1:32 pm
  5. KC

    Thanks for the tip! I recently added AWeber to my blog and am very impressed with it. I’m subscribing to your RSS feed!

    3/30/2010 2:37 pm
  6. A really good idea, and I just implemented it. Thanks.

    3/30/2010 4:15 pm
  7. Great simple technique! I will add this to my webform tonight!

    3/30/2010 6:43 pm
  8. Good idea ! Thanks for that tip. I’ll try it at my site and see the result.

    3/30/2010 7:53 pm
  9. Everyone ~ It’s great that you are implementing this technique! I can’t wait to hear the results!

    Paul ~ The archive only lets you link to broadcasts, so there is no danger of your follow up series being compromised. :)

    3/31/2010 9:01 am
  10. This is a good idea. If people know what your email looks like they might be more willing to read your post.

    3/31/2010 12:09 pm
  11. Lance Nelson

    Great idea! just implemented and we’ll see if subscription rates improve, thank you

    3/31/2010 12:23 pm
  12. I want to implement this fantastic idea, but I want the sample page to open in a new window. I don’t want to lead my visitors away from my site when they’ve only just arrived. How can I get the link to open in a new window? I know how to do this in html. Does the web form allow me to do this? I do hope so. Thank you.

    3/31/2010 9:40 pm
  13. Ah, regarding my comment above, I now see that an option to open in a new window is provided in the web form design. easy. Thank you.

    3/31/2010 11:52 pm
  14. Jey

    Excellent information, I have gained a lot. Need to implement this.

    Thanks

    4/2/2010 5:33 pm
  15. Gosh, newsletters just became more technical…again!

    This is a great idea.
    I never understood before about hosted info as compared to auto-responder info!

    You guys keep lifting the bar.

    Thank-you,
    Kindest Regards for a Happy Easter break too.

    4/6/2010 12:25 am
  16. This is a very good idea. I like the fact that you can only do this with broadcasts so your Follow-Up sequence is not messed with. It will take some reworking for me. Can we do this with just one archived newsletter or does it show whatever the last newsletter/broadcast was?

    Thanks

    4/6/2010 7:09 am
  17. Yet another awesome idea! I heart aweber… =)

    4/7/2010 12:12 am
  18. Marshall,

    You would choose which newsletter you want to use as your example and then link to that post’s Direct Link in your web form. Then whoever clicks on the link would see that same newsletter.

    Yee Shun Jian,

    AWeber <3 you back.

    4/7/2010 8:21 am
  19. I get lots of requests from my subscribers who missed autoresponder mailings (not broadcast) and want them resent.

    If there was an archive feature that would only allow subscribers to view the email messages up to the most recent one they received, that would be perfect.

    4/7/2010 11:47 am
  20. Nice idea. One suggestion: it would be nice if those "direct links" were a little easier to access. Rather than having to go back inside of old messages maybe the link could be added to the information in the list of previous broadcast messages?

    4/9/2010 7:13 am
  21. Keith ~ Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll pass it to our designers. :)

    4/9/2010 8:03 am
  22. Hi Amanda,

    Great suggestion and v cool

    I have a question through as I am wanting to implement this:

    Is there a way to filter out newsletter that are more “private” that are sent only to the people that opted in for certain event (e.g. with dial in number etc).

    It looks like the entire archive of a particular newsletter will be accessible to the public.

    4/13/2010 7:33 am
  23. Really good point, but I would love to see these ideas shown on a video tutorial. I find that I learn a lot quicker with video tutorials. Thanks.

    4/15/2010 10:42 am
  24. Hi Louisa,

    The broadcast archive is 100% public; if you need to share information with subscribers that you do not want to share on your archive, you’ll need to choose to not publish that particular broadcast to your archive (you can do this by not clicking the “Syndicate” checkbox at the bottom of the message editor).

    (Of course, this certainly cannot prevent subscribers from sharing your email content via forwards or on their websites.)

    4/15/2010 10:51 am | Follow me on Twitter
  25. Thanks for your response.

    Not clicking the “syndicate” check-box is the way to go if I do not wish future post to be archived.

    I learned a new feature today :-)

    4/15/2010 11:19 am
  26. This is a really great idea. I am wondering why it did not occur to me.
    I will start using it right away. Thank you for sharing.

    4/16/2010 11:25 am
  27. An A++ strategy for getting more subscribers. Right now, I will focus on building more high quality newsletters and start implementing this strategy.

    4/22/2010 8:45 pm
  28. Hi,

    Great way to get more subscribers. By this we gain more trust and relationship with our loyal subscribers

    4/28/2010 4:45 pm
  29. I

    I like it. Will it link to one newsletter and not list any other newsletter/feeds? If so is there a way to separate feeds because I have multiple newsletters in difference niches.

    5/3/2010 3:35 pm
  30. I send one of my newsletters as a followup rather than broadcast. Can I use the feature with a followup?

    Thanks.

    5/3/2010 6:18 pm
  31. I ~ The broadcast archive is different for each of your lists, so as long as each newsletter is for a different list in your account, you’ll be all set.

    Flora ~ Unfortunately, because of the way archiving and follow-ups work, syncing the two isn’t possible.

    5/4/2010 11:03 am
  32. This is a great technique that deserves to be employed immediately and also a great way to get more subscribers
    Thanks a lot :)

    5/4/2010 11:19 am
  33. This is a good idea that I’ll tell my subscribers about. I love Aweber. It beats the other autoresponders in most cases.

    5/7/2010 2:48 pm
  34. I’m going to start using this feature and I’m also going to explain to the reader ways they can interact with my newsletter on how to get free publicity:

    –They can submit a question, to be answered by my readers

    –They can answer another reader’s question

    –They can submit a publicity success story. I’m always looking for content for my newsletter, blog and products

    –They can suggest a topic they’d like me to write about

    –They can submit a funny dog joke, quote or video

    –They can share an article, link or video they found helpful.

    5/11/2010 3:25 pm
  35. Great idea.

    I love the way you are always thinking of better ways to improve our emailing.

    Thanks

    5/13/2010 12:49 pm
  36. Don

    I have added this to my recommendations for marketing clients and they are drastically increasing their sign-ups online. So much so that I have made it standard practice for carpet cleaner marketing where they combine coupons with newsletter marketing.

    7/14/2011 4:29 pm