Friday, March 8, 2013

Does Your Business Need a Newsletter?

We all know that it  costs less to cultivate existing customers than get new ones. A newsletter is a good way to show existing customers you care about them and can meet all their needs. You can also use it as an opt-in on your website or blog. The key to using a  newsletter successfully for marketing is to concentrate on your customer, not your business.
 ·        Focus on information your customers want and need to know. What questions do your customers ask? An insurance agent might be asked how much insurance a customer needs A question a florist might hear is how to keep flowers fresh. A personal trainer might be asked how to eat to lose weight. The answer to each question is a newsletter article.
·         Avoid the hard sell. Your newsletter is a marketing tool, but don't hard sell your products and services. The objective is to provide valuable information so your customer comes back for more and begins to remember you when the customer needs what you have to offer.
·         Plan a stories 12 months ahead. You want customers to look forward to the newsletter, so plan on doing it for at least 12 months. Target stories to seasons and celebrations.
·         Get it right. Mistakes damage your credibility. Make sure everything is accurate, including grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. If you need help, hire a freelancer to edit your newsletter before you send it.
·         Remember the profile box. This is a section where you talk about your products and services. Who you are, what you offer, how to get in touch with you. Include your email and web addresses.·         Paper or digital? Decide how you want to send your newsletter. Lots of companies are sending electronic newsletters, so actually printing and mailing a paper newsletter can help you stand out in the crowd. If you go digital, you will need to research rules and laws regarding spam and privacy. The Can-SPAM Act of 2003 has rules for electronic newsletters. This law has many aspects, but generally, you:
o     Can send it only to people who have opted in or have indicated an interest in getting the newsletter.
o     Cannot use email addresses from sources other than your own.
o     Must provide an easy option to unsubscribe and fulfill requests to unsubscribe within 10 days.
o     Must include your correct, physical address, your legitimate email address, a domain name, and an IP address.
Before you invest in an e-newsletter for your existing and potential clients, consider these questions:
·         What is your brand?
·         What do you want to be known for and remembered as being?
·         Who is your audience?
·         What is the gain they want?
·         What is the pain they want to avoid?
·         How can you help them gain what they want and avoid the pain?
·         What do you have that is different from everyone else?
·         What can they get from you no one else can give them?
·         What do you want them to do after reading the newsletter?
·         Do you want to instruct? Persuade? Inform? All three?
·         Do you want to organize the newsletter around a theme? An activity? A function?
·         How can you make it fun? Intriguing? Provocative? Memorable? Viral?
The more time you spend answering these questions, the more successful your newsletter will be, the easier it will be to design and write it, and the more readers will want to read it!

Patricia Haddock creates marketing materials and information products to help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow their contact list, showcase their expertise and increase their income. Make Money Selling What You Know is her DIY guide to help you create information products that mean business. 

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