If you are wondering if a newsletter will help your business, the answer is YES!
Newsletters connect you with customers, prospects, and business associates. A nice format, engaging content, and consistency are the keys to success. Imagine the benefits of being able to reach hundreds of people at once for pennies on the dollar. Newsletter marketing is perhaps one of the most cost effective ways to spend your marketing dollars, and done correctly, will bring new customers to your door while keeping your base coming back for more.
Here are five steps to get you started on the road to becoming a newsletter marketing pro.
1. Define your purpose.
Go ahead and write it down. For example:
- You’re a retail store and want your customers and future customers to know about new products, sales, workshops, and special events.
- You’re a coach or consultant and want to keep your clients informed of upcoming events or programs, and perhaps add a splash of inspiration.
- You work for a company and think that a newsletter would help keep your employees up-to-date. Plus, it’s a proven way to boost morale.
- You’re a Network Marketing Pro and want to take your team to the next level while continuing to educate them on the benefits of your products and company.
2. Select an e-mail client.
Unless you are a heavy Internet marketer, or you plan to be, your best bet for a professional looking newsletter is a cloud-based program such as Constant Contact or Mail Chimp, or a Plugin that integrates with your WordPress website. Other options are available, though in my opinion one of these is the easiest way to get moving forward. Mail Chimp has a free program that can meet the needs of most small businesses – and even if you do need to upgrade the cost is minimal and there are options to pay as you go with credits. Constant Contact starts at $15/month for up to 500 emails – and well worth it for the additional features, templates, and support.
3. Select a format and customize.
Once inside the email client, check out the various templates. You can change almost everything in a template so don’t worry as much about the design as the layout. You can search by type of business or type of layout.
How do you want to present your information? Will you have one article or three? Will you showcase products or have a coupon? Once selected, customize it with your header photo and logo and update the colors to match your brand. Replace the links to connect to your website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the articles in the newsletter. Check the footer to make sure the contact information is correct and there is a link to unsubscribe. Add your content, and you are almost ready to roll.
A word on content: Remember the tried and true question to ask yourself from the reader’s point of view: What’s In It For Me? (WIIFM) Will your readers care about your article, the products, and the photos? What can you do to capture their attention right away? Pay special attention to headers and photos; Avoid a cluttered look.
4. Upload your contacts.
Email regulations require that your list be current and that the person associated with the email has voluntarily opted in to your list. I recently uploaded a list to Mail Chimp and received an email that my list was stale. It directed me to freshen it up by double-opting it. Check out Mail Chimp’s instruction here: http://kb.mailchimp.com/
5. Send yourself and a friend a test newsletter.
Writing is rewriting, and design is evolutionary. Send at least two final newsletters to you and a friend (the one who majored in English). Go over it with a fine tooth comb and resend to yourself until it’s perfect.
You are all set! Press SEND! You did it!
Be proud of your accomplishment and know that of all the possible ways to spend your marketing time, you picked a sure winner with a newsletter. And if you do a good job going forward your followers will feel happy when they see your name in their in-box. Now what could be better than that?
Here are a few bonus tips for Newsletter success!
- Be consistent. Sending a newsletter once or twice a month, or even once every three weeks is a good way to keep in touch without becoming an Inbox nuisance.
- Include a featured customer, or photos of an event you held with customers in the picture. People really like to see themselves in a newsletter, and it helps to create a feeling of community.
- Include information that will inspire, teach, or inform. Instructions for a DIY project, a new workout routine, a product review, or something new that aligns with your business or industry.
- Be consistent with your design and format, while keeping your photos and content fresh each month.
- Give something away! Hold a contest or offer a free download of something informing or fun.
- Connect personally with your readers by including a heartwarming letter from you.
Janice Aday Forbes, President of A New Day Virtual Business Solutions – Offering strategies for taking your business to the next level of success. Janice is a virtual training and marketing pro, mother of six, flower grandma to four boys, pack leader to three dogs, and soul sister to one kitty. She is also an ordained Peace Minister. www.janiceaday.com