It would be hard to find a more cost-effective way to stay in touch and build your relationships with your customers than offering them a regular newsletter.
Clearly a lot of companies are aware of that, since research from the Content Marketing Institute indicates that 78 percent of respondents use newsletters as an essential part of their marketing strategy.
Not only that, but most customers like to receive them. They voluntarily opt in and look forward to getting their regular influx of relevant information. It was a shock to many people when the research firm Nielsen Norman Group asked people how they preferred to hear updates from companies, and 90 percent cited newsletters as opposed to 10 percent who said social media.
Why newsletters are so effective
Besides being popular with your customers, newsletters are effective for you to package information about your small businesses products and services and drive traffic to your website. They establish you as a knowledgeable resource in your industry and, if your content goes so far as to cover industry issues, you can actually emerge as a leader in your field.
However, when we advocate newsletters for clients, we are usually greeted with a series of heads nodding in agreement that they are good thing, followed by a chorus of “buts” that “they take too much time.”
Small business owners have so much on their plates that the concept of dedicating a few hours to such a project invites rejection of it.
However, the truth is that you don’t have to spend the time you think you do to create and send a great newsletter every month.
Would you be willing to invest 15 minutes in your newsletter?
Based on our own research, the average time allotment our members would be willing to invest in creating a newsletter is about 15 minutes a month.
So we took that information and have devised a method that you can use to create a viable, valuable, relationship-building newsletter in under a quarter of an hour.
A lot of the shortcuts come from realizing you don’t have to sit down and write long articles. You simply have to master the art of collating content, set up a quick formula for fun parts of the newsletter, and open your mind to other ways to deliver the information (audio files, links to videos on www.Youtube.com) and referrals to other people’s great content.
Think of yourself more as editor of the newsletter, rather than writer, and it will go much faster for you.
Let’s start with discussion how you would put together a newsletter in 15 minutes for a professional service business such as consulting, accounting, lawyering, plumbing etc.
Start by setting up a goal sheet for your newsletter
Ultimately, the goal of your newsletter is to build a relationship with your customers and generate more business.
So start to create your newsletter content by assembling a format that you can plug essential information into that will support your goals.
For example, each newsletter could contain:
One highly-relevant tip or action item they can take that will enhance their lives or businesses
A quick list of at least three resources that would be valuable to them (it could be government websites, a new book about their industry, or a TED talk that deals with a highly relevant issue to your business)
Give them the benefit of your professional advice on one commonly asked question
Mention a lengthy article or report that is relevant to their industry that came out recently and that they can access free by connecting to the source
Be generous in information sharing. Always mention one blog that has lots of good information to enhance their knowledge and link to it.
Give a motivational quote for inspiration.
Summarize one or two items relevant to your business that are in the news, or might simply be of interest to your audience.
Give one “how to” short article or video about something that will support their lives or work – again, it doesn’t have to be from you; it could be a link to a White Paper, or it can be a link back to your own website or YouTube channel.
If there is a really hot topic in your industry, do a list of “Five best reports on ABC topic” and list the titles and link to them.
Think about making your newsletter easy to read
Create your copy using bullet points and/or short paragraphs with subheads so it will be easy to read.
If you want to add copyright free photos, there are lots of sites such as Pixabay or Morguefile.
Use a service like MailChimp or Constant Contact to distribute your newsletter for you. They both include great templates to help you get started.
Once you start putting a few newsletters together, it gets easier and easier, and faster.
The biggest test for each edition is to look it over and ask honestly, “if I were my customer, would I find this material relevant or helpful? Would I learn something useful here that I could incorporate into my life or business now?
Changes to make if your business is selling goods instead of services
If you are selling specific products as opposed to services, you can also use your newsletter to heighten awareness about your product line. Customers who are already purchasing one or two items from you might be interested in other items you offer, if they become aware of them.
You can also feature special promotions and even coupons as part of your newsletter to encourage potential customers to try new offerings.
Be sure to tell them more about your company, and don’t forget to include what you stand for as well as what you sell. Millennials in particular are more inclined to purchase products from firms who have a value system they appreciate. Let your customers know if you support non-profit organizations in your community or if you embrace environmentally friendly products.
Keep track of how your newsletter increases in value
If you decide to start a newsletter, be sure to simultaneously establish a system that allows you to calculate its value to you. That does not necessarily mean a monetary value. Measure things like the growth of your subscription list, check if that list increases or decreases if you change the frequency of email delivery, and if you are selling products, check sales. If you are selling services, check opens and clicks.
If your newsletter yields a new client as well, keep track of that and go back and study the entry and edition that prompted a client to respond with more business.
Just as it is good to know what doesn’t work, it is vital to know what does.
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading. Until next time, take good care.
This blog is for you and we hope you will enjoy the content.
Please let us know if there are any specific topics you would like us to address in the future.
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