Newsletters are a useful marketing tool but only if done right.
They are a great way to keep in touch with your customers and add value to your relationship – if done well.
OK, so how do you ‘do newsletters well?’
For starters, if you view them as purely an email sales letter, your newsletter will be dead in the water before you hit send.
Most businesses (especially service providers) turn their customers off in droves because they do is sell through their newsletters.
Instead, they should be used to share information, give tips and offers.
The only problem with that is it’s pretty daunting trying to generate great content on a regular basis. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. All you need is:
- A great looking template
- A simple process to write content-rich material that can be repeated again and again
How to write an excellent newsletter
The format of your newsletter will be unique to your business, so I’m just offering a few ideas here to inspire you.
However you decide to tackle it, it’s important to remember it has to be a regular activity (monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly). In every issue you need to:
- Choose topics for the main body of your newsletter that are relevant to your readers
- Interview industry experts or research a specific topic
- Write and edit your articles
- Proofread your newsletter
- Main topics
These articles will make up the body of your newsletter. You can choose as many issues as you like, but the more you have, the longer your newsletter will be. They don’t have to be long articles (approximately 300 – 500 words) and should add value to your readers.
If you have a longer article you want to share, that also appears on your website, just add a teaser paragraph and then link to your site so they can read more.
Some newsletter designs incorporate a sidebar that gives the opportunity to add a few short nuggets of information. You could use them to add regular features such as a book of the month, an announcement of forthcoming events, tips, offers, or drawing attention to your latest testimonial.
- Interviews and research
Conducting an interview or writing a research-based article will add real meat to your newsletter.
The interview would act like a magazine Q&A session offering an expert’s insight into a particularly hot topic.
The same can work for the research article. Find out what’s relevant to your readers and write about it. But make sure you include links to the external articles you used for your research so they can read around the subject if they want to.
It all adds value.
- The writing process
OK, now for the nitty-gritty – how to write a useful newsletter.
The whole idea behind a regular newsletter is to maintain and build relationships with your client base. Therefore, it’s essential you write using the second person (i.e. ‘you’) to build rapport with your readers instantly.
Another important feature is your call to action. Whether it’s in the form of a link back to your website, an instruction to email for more information or a competition, it’s a way of making your newsletter marketing a two-way street; you must ask your reader to do something.
It’s also important to make it easy for your readers to get in touch with you and to opt-out if they wish.
The last part of the newsletter puzzle is proofreading.
A glaring typo could ruin your reputation. That’s why it’s best to put it to one side after writing it for a few days before reviewing it. Ideally, get someone else to proof it for you.
The final word on newsletters
It’s important to remember that your newsletter will only be effective if it goes to the right people.
A lot of companies are still cutting corners and buying in marketing lists. The problem with this is your newsletter becomes unsolicited spam – not good.
That’s why it’s essential you build your list in-house; one that the recipients have opted in to receive.
If you’re not already doing a newsletter, I recommend you consider it.