Doing It Right: Hugh MacLeod and his email newsletter

Hugh MacLeod is the man behind gapingvoid.com and gapingvoidgallery.com. He draws on the back of business cards and sells fine art prints. Over the last ten years he’s grown quite the following for very good reason. His cartoons are funny, poignant and irreverent in all the right ways.

Last year he began heavily promoting his newsletter, originally naming it the list for “Crazy Deranged Fools”. He sent out regular updates with information, print offers and other content that could not be found on his blog. In January he announced gapingvoid 2.0 with the launch of “Hugh’s Daily Cartoon” newsletter. He now sends out a new cartoon every business day with a little riff about his inspiration behind the day’s image and a link to buy the print in his store.

It has been a very successful move for his business. Here’s a few reasons why:

  1. Easy to share – Having a new cartoon show up in your mailbox every day makes it extremely easy to pass along. You can forward it to a friend or click one of the embedded social media links.
  2. Keeps Hugh top of mind – As a newsletter subscriber, you now hear from Hugh five days a week. This keeps him at the forefront of your mind and makes it easier for you to think of him when it’s time to buy a gift for that special someone.
  3. Fun – I look forward to my daily email and immediately open it on arrival. It’s fun to see the new cartoon every day and read about Hugh’s inspiration behind his art.
  4. Interesting to the receiver – Most email newsletters are too word dense and self-serving for the author. Hugh’s email gives something enjoyable and interesting to the subscriber before trying to sell anything.

When you’re thinking through the content of your email newsletter, see if you can infuse it with some of these ideas from Hugh MacLeod’s approach to engaging his tribe.

Bonus Tip: If you’re not an artist, search Flickr.com’s creative commons images for pictures you’re allowed to use for free.

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