Why Should My Business Have a Newsletter?
The internet is awash with information. On the one hand, this is great, but on the other can lead to information overload. Most people use more than one social media channel, as well as having email (personal and work addresses, in many cases). It is amazing anyone ever gets any work done, given the amount of time that one could spend reading articles and blogs and trying to keep up with the latest trends. Every company wants visibility on line, but what is the best way to reach potential customers and build relationships with existing ones? In this article, I will be exploring the idea of how an email newsletter can benefit your business.
The Argument for having an email newsletter
You can schedule regular tweets, but who reads every tweet they receive, given the sheer volume sent on a daily basis? In addition, you only have 140 characters to get across your message. The organic reach of your Facebook posts is now only a percentage of your actual following. In order to reach more people, your only option is to invest in sponsored posts.
That is not to say that social channels are not important. They are a great way of getting people to notice your brand and to allow your company be, well, sociable. However, if people like you and your brand, they are more likely to sign up to your regular news updates via email.
Emails are different. They are personal and people check them more thoroughly. An email will not disappear from a person’s inbox, as it will from a timeline and if done properly, will not end up being marked as spam.
When an individual signs up to receive more information from you, this gives you a list of people who have given you their permission to contact them again. This list is invaluable as a marketing tool. Use it, don’t abuse it.
Opting in to receive information from a company is a good way for an individual to distinguish what they want to read from amongst the fog of information that is available on the internet. Rather than trawling through their social media channels, they can choose to receive information that is relevant to them directly to their inbox.
An email newsletter is a cost effective way to keep in touch with customers and an opportunity to build trust and brand loyalty.
What should you include?
Some ideas for inclusion in your newsletter are:
•Latest or relevant blog posts
•Interviews with (related) industry experts
•Case studies involving your products
•FAQ’s related to your products
•Company news and updates, such as new employees, anniversaries, charity sponsorship news, awards and nominations
•News of new products and special offers
What NOT to do
You are building relationships with existing and potential customers through your newsletters. It is not an opportunity for a hard sell. Yes, include information on special offers and promotions, but make this secondary to everything else. Be informative, an expert in your field, be human.
Do not bombard people with too many newsletters: once a month is ideal. Let them know how often you are going to send them a newsletter when they sign up and be consistent. Most people will scan the information, so think carefully about formatting. Use email-marketing tools like Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact and Aweber. This will allow you to monitor what is popular and what is not. You can test different layouts, headlines and subject headings to see what sections people click on the most. Using these software tools also helps your emails to avoid the spam box.
How do you get subscribers?
First, you need a box for people to add their name and email address. Put this on your website and make it obvious. This box could include information that points out the benefits of signing up, such as exclusive subscriber-only offers.
Other places to add this sign up box to:
•Use a pop-up box on your website
•Include it at the end of a blog post, with a message that is related, such as ‘sign up to receive similar news’
•Add the box to the checkout page of your e-commerce site, with an incentive such as the offer of special discounts
•Make the newsletter sign-up part of your email signature
•You can also add an email sign-up tab to your Facebook page. Promote an offer, competition or giveaway on Facebook with a sign-up incentive
Always make a point of highlighting the subscriber benefits and the frequency with which you intend to contact them.
Should you pay to get subscribers?
Affiliate advertising allows you to put an ad for your newsletter on somebody else’s website. You then pay a small fee if someone clicks on your ad. You can also pay for sponsored ads on Facebook and Twitter to increase your reach. If you intend to go down this road, you need to investigate the cost per lead to make sure that you are getting a return on your investment.
The final word
Many companies will testify that email newsletters are a valuable marketing tool and worth the time invested to create and send. Do not think of it as a hard sell approach, but use your email contacts wisely to avoid being unsubscribed and losing potential sales.