When it comes to marketing, there are many options available for getting and staying in front of your consumer. You can advertise on TV or the radio, you can send out postcards or direct mail, and you can hold huge marketing events complete with food and drinks. But the problem with each of these types of options is that they can cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars…or more.
Fortunately, there are some extremely valuable no and low-cost ways to keep in touch with your customer-base, and one to consider is an eNewsletter. Depending on the size of your email list, the program you use, and how fancy you want to get with design, you can send out an email-based newsletter relatively cheap, if not totally free.
But no matter how little or how much you spend on your eNewsletter, oftentimes the hard part is creating one that is read-worthy and not chucked in your customers’ virtual wastebasket. With that goal in mind, there are a few pointers to consider.
Think about some of the newsletters you get emailed to you. When you open them, are you able to tell right away who they are from based solely on their formatting, heading, and layout? If so, they have consistency, which is what you want as well.
Part of getting your clients to know, like, and trust you means that they need to be able to recognize and, ultimately, feel comfortable with you and your brand. This is exactly what happens when you send a newsletter that looks the same time after time. It’s kind of like getting a hug from an old friend. It makes you feel safe and warm.
Another important part of being consistent is sending eNewsletters out on a regular basis so that your list knows when to expect them (which helps keep them looking forward to it!). So, how often should you appear in their inbox?
Every marketing expert seems to have an opinion on this one, but I happen to agree with Marketing Artfully when they suggest that monthly is good as it “keeps you in the mind of your clients or list and is not onerously hard for most small biz owners to produce.” In fact, that’s how often I send out my “Live Better Newsletter,” and I’ve yet to have a subscriber complain about frequency, not to mention that I don’t feel overburdened with coming up with content the first of every month.
Of course, if you are releasing a new product or service, you probably want to send notice right away versus waiting for the next scheduled newsletter to come around. So if that is the case, you might want to send a mini-newsletter mid-month just to let your customers know about your expanding business.
Limit Your Graphics
While some graphics can certainly add to a newsletter and make it more visually appealing, too many designs can really slow down the upload of your email when the recipient clicks on it. And in this day and age where faster equals better, this one factor alone can cause your emails to be deleted unread, if not unsubscribed from completely.
Based on this, freelance graphic designer and desktop publishing expert Jacci Howard Bear suggests that, when it comes to design, you’re better off using no more than three typefaces, limiting the number of frames and boxes you use, and keeping graphics to no more than two per page. This will enable your eNewsletter to load quicker, heightening the chance it will be read.
Also, to help improve the quality of your design without using too many graphics, Bear further suggests that you play around with different typefaces and font sizes. Also, don’t be afraid to use white space to your advantage so that your readers’ eyes aren’t overloaded with too much text.
Include Relevant Information
In the end, it doesn’t matter how often you send your newsletter, how good it looks, or how fast it loads if it doesn’t contain information that is relevant to the recipient. Remember: The first thing the reader is going to ask is, “What’s in it for me?” If you don’t address this question within the first couple of lines, you increase the likelihood that they’ll delete your precious content without giving it a second thought.
To help you determine what information is relevant, put yourself in the shoes of your consumer and think about what you would like to read if you were them. Also, try to limit your use of “I” and focus more on “you” so they know that you’re speaking directly to them versus just talking about yourself and saying how wonderful you are. (If you know someone who tends to do this, then you know how much of a turn-off this can be.)
Give a Clear Call to Action
One of the first things I learned when it comes to marketing is that if you don’t tell your customers exactly what you want them to do, they will likely do nothing. That’s why it’s important to put a clear call to action at the end of your eNewsletter. In other words, tell your reader precisely what to do once they’re done reading it.
Depending on your business, a good call to action could be:
- Call us today to schedule your free, no-pressure consultation!
- Visit our website to check out our latest money-saving deals!
- Click here to be instantly contacted with a customer service representative!
Give them the next step and there’s a higher probability they’ll take it.
Include Links to Your Social Media Pages
With the advent of social media, people seem to be spending less time in their email inboxes and more time in their news feeds. Therefore, it’s also a good idea to include links to your social media sites in your eNewsletters so your customers can keep in touch with you in the manner that works best for them.
Most programs offer the capabilities to use recognized social media icons, making it easier than ever to lead your readers to your social media pages. Even if you use straight text, you can always embed links so all they have to do is click on them and they’re transported right to your online accounts.
You may also want to share your newsletter on your social media pages as well. The more exposure you can get, the greater the likelihood that it will be read and the faster your business can grow.
What NOT To Put In Your Newsletter
Just as it is important to know what to put in your newsletter, it is equally imperative that you know what NOT to put in it. Some best-to-keep-out options provided by Peppercorn Creative include pushy sales pitches, not very well timed pop-ups, and unedited content that contains spelling and grammar mistakes. All of these have a way of reducing the quality of your newsletter and turning people off to the idea of staying subscribed.
What are some things you put in and keep out of your eNewsletters? Feel free to comment below!
I’m always interested in learning other small business owners’ thoughts on relevant topics and issues, so if you have a comment or unique article idea, feel free to contact me at [email protected] (put “Businessing Magazine” in the subject line, please). If I use it, it’s a free link to your website!