The Effective Newsletter: Your Gateway to Success
When a marketer or entrepreneur like you is trying to get a business started, the key to success is to get the attention of and build relationships with prospects and potential customers.
Sure, it’s obvious. But I wanted to mention that simple fact right at the top, as many businesspeople in startup mode seem to forget it. Anyway, there are hundreds of methods for marketing your business, especially online.
But one of the best ways to promote your online business is actually a simple “updating” of a form of marketing in use for decades in the offline world.
I’m talking about a newsletter, which is simply a publication sent to a group of subscribers. The form of newsletters we’re talking about today are free – you’ll see why in a moment.
The newsletter contains specific information and advice that they are interested in. But as a marketer, you’re not sending your prospects this newsletter out of the goodness of your heart. Your goal is to get these folks to know, like, and trust you and your company so they’ll buy your paid products.
You see, for many companies, it’s quite difficult to convince a prospect to spend money on their first visit to a website. With the newsletter, full of valuable and useful free content, you have regular contact with those people, allowing them to get to know you well enough to actually spend money.
What can you talk about in a newsletter?
There are a ton of financial and investing newsletters that offer investment advice and news. Natural health newsletters are also huge. But really a newsletter can be about any subject that people have an interest in – and you’re willing to publish.
No wonder there are dog training newsletters, organic tomato growing newsletters… Pretty much anything you can think of… there’s a newsletter.
In the old days, newsletters were sent out via snail mail. If you had thousands of subscribers, postage could be pretty expensive. That expense was a barrier to entry of many businesses who wanted to put out a newsletter but couldn’t afford it.
But in your case, the newsletter is online and sent out by email. It could come in the form of the body of an email, an attached PDF, or even in “page turning” software that replicates the experience of reading a print publication. However you deliver your newsletter, your delivery costs are very cheap because it’s all digital.
As you can see, a newsletter is many things: an informative document, a sales opportunity, a call to action, and an introduction of your business to potential customers. A well-crafted newsletter can mean the difference between your business breaking even and breaking the bank.
In this article, I’m going to tell you how to craft the perfect newsletter. You’ll learn to grab the attention of people and get them to buy what you are selling. Whether you’re selling advice, widgets, or a lifestyle, an effective newsletter is the first – and arguably the most integral – step in securing those all-important sales with your online business.
The Email Newsletter as Marketing Tool
A newsletter introduces potential clients to you, your business, and your products. For this reason, it’s longer than a banner ad, more detailed than a sales email, and gives the potential client just enough information for them to want more. Remember, in the newsletter model we’re discussing today, your newsletter is free and offers valuable free information. But you’re NOT giving away all your secrets.
The best information – and the product itself – has to be paid for.
An effective newsletter is not selling your product directly – although you might include some ads in your publication; it is selling yourself and your competence. Present a newsletter that hits all the right notes, and it literally doesn’t matter what you’re selling; people in that audience will be interested and be willing to pay to learn more.
So what goes into powerful newsletter?
First, you need to identify your audience. Are you targeting wealthy retirees in the market for Mexican vacation villas or are you going after work at home moms?
Once you know who your audience is, research them. What topics are trending in your targeted demographic? What are their concerns? Identify them and address them. Let your reader know that you know exactly what they’re going through. And then – and this is critical part – let them know you have an answer. Don’t give them the whole answer in your newsletter; just assure them that you possess the answer, whatever that answer may be.
This is the essence of an effective marketing newsletter. You want to come off as not only competent, but authoritative. Your clients need – and want – to trust you.
Which brings me to step two: research.
Research is your friend. Research will make you money. Research will grow your client base. Because nothing lends you credibility like accurate information. Throw in figures; not complex equations, but throw some numbers around. Add a visual element to your newsletter – whatever is appropriate to your niche. It could be a graph or pie chart or a sidebar with fast-facts or illustrations.
Incorporating visible statistics and data not only adds a dash of graphic stimulation to what could otherwise be a block of text, they are also easy to understand and pack a load of important information that could sway an on-the-fence client to a paying client.
An Integral Part of Your Marketing Package
While a strong newsletter is a vital part in any marketing campaign, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. So, accordingly, it must fit in with the others. Other pieces of your marketing campaign might include a promo videos, email blasts, banner ads, social media campaigns, and so on.
The thing to keep in mind is that they should all push the same message. Ask yourself what you’re selling whenever you create an ad or content. Staying on topic is vital to your success.
Telling a Story
Above all, an effective marketing newsletter needs to engage the reader’s interest. You could have the greatest product for sale since the electric light bulb, but if your marketing newsletter reads like the owner’s manual for a lawnmower, well, all I can say is, “Good luck!”
That’s why it’s so important to craft an engaging newsletter. And nothing engages a reader like a good story. You don’t have to be Hemingway, but couch your product and company information in a clean, simple story.
Maybe tell about the first time your product succeeded. Maybe talk about the Eureka! moment when the idea hit you. Or invite well-known experts in your niche to contribute content. Nothing lends you credibility like positive endorsements from third parties. If you don’t know anyone in your industry personally, feel free to contact them via email. Most of them will be happy to oblige.
Avoid industry-specific jargon. Avoid cluttered lists of technical specifications.
But DO tell about how your product changed your life and the lives of others. Talk about how it could change the life of your newsletter reader. Include testimonials of people who have already tried your product and found success.
The Writing of the Newsletter
Now, you might be thinking, “Heck, I’m no wordsmith! How am I supposed to write a slick newsletter that will entice buyers?”
Not to worry! Look, most people can write a perfectly good newsletter. You know the subject already. Just write like you talk. Of course, for a busy entrepreneur that responsibility can get time-consuming. So there is no shame in going “outside” in that case.
There are plenty of writers out there – well-qualified marketing writers, no less – who would be more than happy to take on the writing duty for a small fee. All you’ll need to provide is some basic information about your product or service, contact information, and any other points you want hammered home. Advertise on Elance.com or CraigsList.com and you’ll soon have plenty of offers coming in.
Industries that Love Marketing Newsletters
The beauty of a marketing newsletter is that it can prove effective – and has proven effective – for just about every industry there is. Banking? Check. Retail? Check. Real estate? Check. Small business? Check.
Whether you’re selling dominoes or diamonds, a well-crafted newsletter will increase your profit margin, guaranteed.
A Few More Basic Rules for Success
While there is no definitive formula for crafting the perfect marketing newsletter, there are a few tips that will serve you well:
- If it’s an email newsletter, keep your subject line enticing, informative, and respectful
- Keep the length to about a page; if you’re sending out monthly newsletters, this can be longer
- Use a simple and approachable writing style
- Give enough information to grab your reader’s attention, but leave them wanting more
- No fancy fonts, please
- Proofread your newsletter. And then proofread it again. If you have a buddy who majored in English, ask him to look it over.
- Remember, first impressions are crucial. Spend time crafting the perfect headline.
- Write a number of different newsletters with different sales tactics: some direct, some indirect, some hard-hitting, some soft; then split test to see which was the most effective and concentrate on that type.
If you follow these simple rules and practice, you’ll be crafting effective marketing newsletters in no time. But remember, there is no secret formula that guarantees your product’s success. Practice, practice, and practice some more. If you do that, you’ll be an expert in no time. And that’s when your marketing newsletters start transforming into money in your bank.
I wish you the best of luck!