Having an email newsletter is a very good idea. It is a way to stay in conversation with customers and prospects very inexpensively. You can use it to build trust over time, educate and inform, and turn leads into customers. That being said, there are a few rules you need to follow.
Keep Selling to a Minimum
If you have a goal to connect with customers and prospects and to build trust through conversation, you need to keep your sales pitches to a minimum in your newsletter. There are exceptions to this. You could offer a newsletter that was all discounts and special offers, all the time. If people like your product, they will like that.
For the most part though, if you have a traditional small business, you only have a few things to sell and/or are not discounting constantly. What you need to focus on with your newsletter is your knowledge and expertise. If your customers buy web site design from you, you should seek to educate them in that arena. For instance, you might include an article about how they can get listed on Google Local for free.
The goal is to provide a newsletter that your ideal customer base will want to read, on a regular basis. You may not be able to write one that every single customer will look forward to, but you can do one that your most active and loyal customers will appreciate.
For a newsletter to work, it has to be sent out on a regular basis. Just like with marketing in general, you need to stay in front of your prospects. The best scenario is to send a newsletter out once a week.
You can come up with enough interesting content to do a weekly newsletter. You just need to commit to it. Also, your customers will not be annoyed with a weekly newsletter, as long as you are providing good content.
If you are communicating on a regular basis via your newsletter, you are building a real relationship with your prospects. People who read your newsletter will be informed, be insiders, and will help spread the word and be more inclined to buy when you need them to.
If you just send a newsletter irregularly, with a press release or special offer, people will not be in the habit of reading it or trusting it. It will largely be a waste of time.
Always Get Permission and Maintain Trust
If you want your newsletter to be successful, you absolutely must make it permission based. Sure, it is fine to email your customer base from time to time without getting permission. But that is really no different than sending postcards. With a newsletter, you want people to buy in to the concept of it.
Send out regular invitations to join the newsletter to your customer base, but don’t just start sending them the newsletter until they sign up for it. There are lots of reasons for this. You don’t want to be seen as a spammer, for one. But also, you really want to qualify your readership. Those that take the time to sign up for the newsletter are far likelier to read it and to engage in a deeper conversation with your company.
Once you get permission, you need to maintain the trust. Never sell your newsletter list. Its okay to make offers from other companies, ie. affiliates, but only if you know and trust the product. Trust is the key to doing business. The newsletter is a goldmine for creating and building trust, because it allows you to stay in regular conversation with your prospects and customers. So honor that trust. Give value, and don’t be selfish with your newsletter.
If you follow these three rules, you will be on your way to developing a great newsletter. Now, you just need to work on creating the right content.
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Bradford Shimp is the publisher of All Biz Answers. He is also the co-creator of Idea Anglers, a place to see your ideas come to life through collaboration. Follow on Twitter @bradfordshimp. Let Bradford help you with your business – visit BroadRiverCreative.com