How many email newsletters land in your inbox every day? You may even have ones that arrive in the real post periodically.
You might be one of the businesses that sends those newsletters. You might be one of the businesses that doesn’t send one but wonders if you should. Either way, let’s look at newsletters and consider when they’re useful and when they aren’t so you can decide what’s right for you.
How do you stay in touch with your customers and contacts?
There’s an old adage that it’s easier to get people who already know you to buy from you (again) than it is to find new customers. For that reason, if you aren’t staying in touch with your customers or contacts somehow already, perhaps you should be – although make sure you’re complying with GDPR, of course.
A newsletter is a good way to stay in touch. I would say it’s an especially good way to stay in touch if you don’t regularly release new products so perhaps wouldn’t otherwise feel you are justified in doing so.
What is a business newsletter?
Once you’ve considered how and why you stay in touch with people, it’s worth considering what a newsletter actually is. Personally, I think it can be pretty much anything you want it to be. Product news, team news, case studies, points of interest and useful information are all valid things to include, it’s just a question of choosing the mix that’s right for you. Ultimately, it’s about finding the things that give you a reason to get in touch with your customers so you stay in their thoughts and will be their first port of call when they need somebody that does what you do.
What would you put in your newsletter?
We’ve established that a newsletter can be anything you want it to be. The more useful question to ask is perhaps, what would your customers like to see in your newsletter? Once you know that, the next question is, what is it realistically achievable for you to put out on a regular or semi-regular basis without the rest of the business grinding to a halt in the effort?
From my personal experience of having published a newsletter once a month for the past six years, my top tips are:
- Make sure your newsletter content can be repurposed elsewhere so you can get maximum use out of the work you put in – my newsletter stories are all blogs that I can promote across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
- Give yourself some flexibility in the format – I committed to having three stories per edition and I know that some editions have fallen short of the quality I’d like because of this fixed format.
- The articles that are most popular for me are the practical ones that give people useful tips they can put into practice straightaway and the ‘behind-the-scenes’ ones that give people an insight into me as a person. Having said that, I’m always wary of wittering on about me too much because I think there’s a limit to the amount of ‘me, me, me’ anyone can reasonably expect to put up with. But as with all these things, it’s a case of testing and measuring to see what works best for you and your business.
How often should you send your newsletter?
There are some schools of thought that say you should send your mailing list an email every day. Once a quarter or less works well for many businesses. And some businesses choose to send on an ad hoc basis when they have something interesting to say (or, perhaps, remember they need to say it). Again, the questions here are what’s achievable for you and what your audience wants.
What format should a newsletter take?
Printed newsletters are an interesting option to explore simply because of the weight of email people receive every day. But they’re a step up in terms of the budget / resource / time required so they may not be right for you.
In terms of email newsletters, some people have very plain text-based newsletters; others have very slick designs involving plenty of imagery. As before, it’s really a case of working out what’s right for you, your brand and your audience.
Where would your newsletter sit in terms of your overall marketing strategy and plan?
A newsletter isn’t a standalone piece of marketing. It needs to fit in with your overall marketing efforts and the business more widely – don’t think of it in isolation.
So, does your business need a newsletter?
What’s the verdict? If you’d like to discuss the options – or find out how I could help you by providing the content for a newsletter, please get in touch.
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