Just a few short years ago, many entrepreneurs would have scoffed at the idea of writing newsletters as an effective way of marketing. However, that was when newsletters were still thought of as those hardcopy postal mailers that most often made it as far as the waste basket. Thankfully, this is the digital age and now the largest number of business owners and directors understand newsletters as content which can be downloaded from a site or emailed directly to a list of subscribers.
Even with this understanding, too many professionals fail to tap into the amazing benefits of newsletters. Whether you are a fledgling startup or a well-grounded business with a history, newsletters are even more valuable today than they were at any time in the past. Why? Perhaps these seven secrets of successful newsletters will give you a clue on just how important they are for your company, large or small, old or new. Only then will you understand why we still really need them.
1. You Don’t Need to Be a Professional Content Writer
Before going any further, it is vitally important that you understand one thing. You don’t need to be a professional content writer to publish a highly successful and well-read newsletter. It is more important that you write for your audience just like you would speak to them. You don’t even need to be a graphic designer to publish a killer newsletter! You can find newsletter templates online with amazing layouts pertinent to your industry and the ‘feel’ you are after.
If you give your readers something of value, even the most discriminating of audiences will forgive a few misplaced commas or the odd typo. Remember, today’s audience values transparency and a connection with companies they deal with above all, so the point is, be real.
2. Regularly Scheduled Distribution Is a MUST
Once you have made the commitment to publish a newsletter, it is critical that you keep them coming. Be realistic in how long it takes to put one together and how much time you have on your hands to write the content. While you could hire professional writers, you would still need to have the final say on what gets distributed.
Only commit to publishing deadlines you can realistically meet given your time schedule. Don’t forget that you will ALWAYS have too much on your plate, so prioritise these newsletters if you are looking to grow your business. Regularly scheduled distribution is a cardinal rule which must never be broken.
3. Keep Each Publication Uniquely Thematic
Even though you may be writing informative newsletters in a series as discussed below, each publication should have a central theme. Of course, you can add a monthly calendar of events, for example, but the content should be around one central theme, no matter how many articles the newsletter contains. If you get too scattered, you are likely to lose your audience on the key points you are trying to make.
4. Give Your Audience Something of Value
While the content you publish should always give your audience something of value in relation to your industry, and more specifically to your own little corner of that industry, you may also want to give them something of tangible value to them.
Some businesses engage their audience by giving them coupon codes or discounts on products they provide while others offer free shipping when clicking through from a link in the newsletter and other companies offer them something for free. As the old saying goes, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” so make sure they walk away with something in their hand!
5. Pay Careful Attention to Your Links – They Are of Vital Importance
Speaking of links, they are important on more than one level. Obviously, you want to make a sale and the only way to do that is to drive them to your website. However, click-throughs from those links mentioned above are going to help you rank higher with the search engines and you might even be surprised one morning to find your site listed on the first page of Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
6. Write Topics in a Series Giving Your Audience a Taste of What Is to Come
Also mentioned above was the concept of keeping each newsletter thematic. This holds true even when you are writing them in a series. For example, if you sell gardening supplies, you may want to offer a series of newsletters on caring for plants. In the beginning, you may want to talk about the various kinds of garden plants while briefly mentioning each genus requires specific nutrients, light and care based on the species’ native habitat.
From there, you could go on publication after publication on caring for the various plants within a species. It doesn’t matter how you group your plants, in this instance, it matters that you keep each publication on topic per the species you are writing about to keep them coming back for more, which would be the next species in this case.
7. Ask for Subscriptions and Comments
Finally, at the very end you’ll want to include a Call to Action (CTA). Give your readers a chance to subscribe to your email newsletter which, in itself, will give you two major advantages. Not only will you have a way to contact each person who subscribes, but you will also have an opportunity to find out what it is they like, or don’t like, about your newsletter, as the case may be. Use this as constructive criticism so that each publication gets better than the one before!
Now you can see why we still need newsletters, albeit in a much different form. Today’s newsletters are most often in digital format, but you can always print them for distribution if you so desire. Are you looking to expand your customer base and grow your bottom line? Don’t forget the amazing power of print, hardcopy or digital. A well-informed audience is a happy audience and that’s exactly what you are after! Keep them happy and keep them coming back for more. That’s why newsletters are still very much in need today.