What’s the most important thing about your newsletter? It has to be worth reading. It’s also good to think of your newsletter as the long term game and not just a short-term gain. But most of all, you want people to read it. You want them to take something from it – ideally advice. And then you want them to remember where they got the advice. But how do you do that?
It does of course, depend on your industry. If you have an ecommerce site selling quick-fix, low cost products, a newsletter may well shift products based on special offers and one off discounts. On the other hand, if you provide consultancy, professional services or product led solutions, a newsletter is a powerful slow burner. In this blog, we’ll focus on the latter.
How do you make a newsletter work for you?
- Plan it. If you are serious about using a newsletter, you’ll have them planned out – 3 or 4 in advance. ‘They must be topical’, you say. That’s not necessary. People get their news from preferred news sites and media specialists. Not from your site. Perhaps you can leave an article free every month/quarter to comment on an existing story but the bulk of articles can be prepared in advance.
- Your tone must be spot on. Newsletters are not a way to tell everyone how great you are or how successful you have been. Tell people you have been successful for sure. But only in passing and as part of another more helpful/useful article. For professional service providers, they are about advising customers and helping them associate you and your business with help, advice, expertise and service.
- Print or digital – not everyone is permanently or even regularly online. This is about understanding your customers and their habits. From market gardeners to mechanics to professional drivers and medical staff, print newsletters often trump their ezine counterparts. Print will be more expensive but if it’s more effective, that’s all that counts. An ezine that’s never opened/read or worse still, deleted is an irritant to your target audience and a waste of your time and money.
- Not too much and not too little – four articles in an ezine is enough and they will probably all be at least scanned if the email is open. One article in an email is not a newsletter. If you go for a print format, you can fit much more in. But know when to stop.
- Introduce a little variety and consider themes/regular spots – for example, if you are an accountant or a solicitor and provide a range of specialist services, focus on them one article at a time.
- Message – not again….I’m afraid so. It always comes back to message. Know your message, ensure it’s emphasised or at least referenced in all communications. And look for new, fresh angles on every aspect of that message.
- Ideally you’d use someone like me to help you write it. But if you’re confident in communicating your message, you may not need to. Do remember that planning, design and clear communications will all play a serious role in how successful your newsletter is.
Yes, you have won awards. Yes, you have won big contracts. But remember the newsletter is about your readers and not about you. A well written, relevant newsletter can create a solid communications platform between you and your clients.