No matter what type of business you have, sending your customers a regular email newsletter is one of the best ways to keep your business top-of-mind when they decide they need the product or service you sell. Developing an email newsletter can yield big rewards in terms of branding your business, creating customer loyalty and, of course, sparking sales. Best of all, it’s easier than you may think. Here’s how to get started.
Decide what to include in your newsletter. Your email newsletter needs to provide something of value that your customers and prospects can benefit from—not just advertise your business or offer discounts. You want customers to see your newsletter as “news,” and open it with a sense of excitement and discovery that they’re going to learn something new. That can include industry news, business news, interviews with you or your employees, product reviews, or even photos or videos of interest to your audience.
Primarily use your newsletter to share your expertise in your industry. For example, if you own an accounting firm, you could send a monthly newsletter that includes seasonally relevant tips. In December, you could offer “10 Tips for Year-End Tax Planning”; in May, you could offer advice on “Getting a Jump on Next Year’s Tax Savings.” If you sell IT consulting services, your newsletter could review hot new software (like Windows 10).
Include a call to action. Of course, your newsletter needs to subtly market your business as well. For example, the accountant offering “10 Tips for Year-end Tax Planning” could include the call-to-action (CTA), “Make an appointment today to discuss your 2016 taxes” with a clickable link. Every email newsletter should include at least one CTA—and, in most cases, more than one. Your goal is to get readers clicking through to your website and interacting with your business.
Get professional help. Don’t have design expertise? No worries. Choose an email marketing service to help you create, design and send out your newsletter. Constant Contact, MailChimp and Campaign Monitor are popular services for small businesses. They offer a wide range of design templates you can use to set up your newsletter, so you don’t need any design skills yourself. Once your template is set up, the services will maintain your database of customer emails, send your newsletter out for you automatically and provide additional marketing tools to help you make the most of it.
Send your newsletter regularly. How often is too often? Monthly is a good frequency for most companies, but if you want to start smaller, try beginning with a quarterly newsletter. However often you send your email newsletter; the key is to send it regularly, so customers come to expect it and so that it promotes an image of stability for your business.
Make sure you stay on the right side of the law. The FTC regulates email marketing very strictly, so make sure that your email newsletter doesn’t violate anti-spam laws. Using a reputable email marketing services will help protect you in this regard. Make sure you include a way for recipients to unsubscribe at any time.
Grow your list. Encourage new subscribers by promoting your email newsletter everywhere you can. Add a sign up at the top of your website home page and include links to your sign up in your email signature, on your social media accounts and anywhere else you interact with prospects online.