Boost Your Business with Email Newsletters¹
An email newsletter is a great communication and marketing tool that strengthens your relationship with customers and prospects, and can lead to more sales. By regularly sending interesting and relevant content to your subscribers, you’re also sending a reminder about your business, products, services and expertise directly to your customers’ and prospects’ inboxes.
Those important groups may be interested in your offerings, but are likely to be too busy to remember to check your company blog or website to read your latest content. Sending information directly to them offers a powerful way to establish or improve a relationship.
Focus on the Reader
The key to a successful email newsletter is making sure your content is interesting and relevant to the reader. Provide useful advice related to your company or industry. An accounting firm can provide general tax advice (with the appropriate disclaimers), or a bakery or restaurant can provide recipes or entertaining advice. If you own a nursery, give advice on how to take care of plants.
Sharing helpful advice offers a number of direct and indirect benefits to your company, such as establishing your business as an authority, and fostering a two-way relationship that makes customers and prospects more willing to do business with you.
You can also supplement your helpful information with some kind of deal, discount, coupon or other offer reserved for newsletter subscribers. You’ll be able to test offers and track the most successful ones, and your readers will feel appreciated by receiving exclusive offers.
What Do I Say?
One of the first (and most important) challenges business owners face when they think about launching an email newsletter is coming up with the content to fill it. There are a number of ways you can get ideas for interesting and practical newsletters without worrying about becoming a full-time publisher:
Leverage Your Company Blog - If your company is blogging (and it should be), you can summarize or republish those posts in your email newsletter. Many customers will appreciate the idea of having content sent directly to them, and will often forward interesting information to their friends and colleagues. This boosts the power and value of your blog as well as your newsletter.
Industry News - You can pass along short summaries of industry news, and add a few sentences saying why you think it’s interesting or important. This approach helps you share the latest news with customers, and shows that you’re monitoring your industry’s latest developments.
Check the Calendar - Almost every business or industry goes through seasonal cycles that can provide interesting newsletter content. Landscapers, for example, can talk about the arrival of spring or fall, or accountants can offer end-of-year tips to help clients prepare for tax season. The idea is that you want to identify opportunities when clients are likely to be thinking about the services or products you provide, and remind them about your availability.
Check Your Competitors - If other providers in your industry are offering email newsletters, subscribing to them (or using a search engine) can provide ideas you may have overlooked. The idea isn’t to plagiarize their content, but rather to look for ideas you can expand and use to help your customers.
Permission is Critical
A critical factor in making sure your email newsletter isn’t regarded as spam is getting permission from your subscribers to send it to them. If you’re using an outside firm to manage your lists and distribute your newsletter, their software will handle the initial request and send a confirmation request to make sure the reader is subscribing to your newsletter intentionally.
As with your website, a variety of templates are available to provide an easily customized, yet still professional, appearance to your newsletter. Most companies design their newsletter to complement their websites, by choosing the same color schemes and placing logos and other graphics in similar locations. Ideally, your readers should see your newsletter and instantly recognize that it came from your company.