What is the best way to stay in touch with your clients and customers? While social media works well for some markets, an email newsletter works better for other needs and types of customers.
A periodic email newsletter keeps your company top of mind for established industries and markets. Even though email inboxes are overflowing, clients and prospective clients are more likely to open and read a well-written, engaging newsletter that tells an interesting story.
Most small businesses want to deliver a newsletter but only a few make it happen consistently. Make this a priority and you can stay ahead of your competitors.
What’s the key to a good newsletter?
A newsletter must include interesting content, education, stories, humor and actionable items. Another key is brevity. Keep it short and exciting.
Lastly, visual appeal is critical. Keep it fun and visually appealing. If you have a graphic artist, have them create some unique images for your newsletter. If you don’t have a graphic artist on staff, try a free design tool such as Canva, Adobe Express or Lunacy
How do I brainstorm newsletter topics?
You can generate your next few months of newsletter topics using what is known as the “5 x 5 Exercise.”
Here’s the process:
- Write down five general categories of work that you do. For example, if you are a technology company, you might host websites, run security audits, sell servers and install WiFi. Use those significant categories and a couple more.
- For each general topic, write five specific ideas in that category. In our tech example, under the website topic, you might include WordPress versus Wix, when to update your website or how to hire a web designer. Then add sub-topics.
- Edit each sub-topic to generate an article title.
- Now you have your topics defined. Since this is your area of expertise, write an outline for each subject and get the article done.
How do I get subscribers to open and read my newsletter?
When you write a newsletter with the idea that you are writing to a crowd of people, you get general and often vague wording. When you write the newsletter as if you are writing to one person, you can get specific and personal. The reader will feel that individual attention and respond much better to it.
Secondly, tell a story. When articles are written abstractly about concepts, the reading gets boring. When you tell a story, readers get more interested.
One newsletter writer we know wrote about how he had gotten lost in the woods at night on a recent camping trip. He described how he spent the night lying on the ground in the woods. At the end of the article, he left us hanging! He closed the article with: “You’ll find out what happened to me in next week’s newsletter.”
Readers couldn’t wait to open the following week’s newsletter! As soon as it reached their inboxes, they had to read it. Of course, since the author was still alive, we all knew it had a good ending. But the details made readers desperate to find out how it all happened.
This relates to the next point of keeping it entertaining. Some writers are funny; some are educational; some are crass. Their personalities shine through their writing. They both educate and entertain. Entertaining content will win every time.
Lastly, you should include offers and promotions in your newsletter. Ask people to buy from you. Keep it narrow and only sell every fourth or fifth newsletter. You are allowed to use your newsletter to drive sales.
What if I’m not a writer?
If you don’t see yourself as a writer, you can still write the topics and outlines for the articles. Hire a content provider such as Aristeen to create and manage your newsletters. Aristeen has several clients who outsource their blog and newsletter content to us.
You should review and proofread every newsletter before they’re published. You may need to add a specific term or turn of phrase to make it more readable or understandable. But the bulk of the work can be completed by the content management firm you hire.
Use email marketing software for your newsletter. Do not email it from your email address and CC or BCC your subscribers. Try an email marketing tool such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or AWeber.
Tie your newsletter to your social media posts. Publish articles on your company website in addition to your newsletter.
Good email marketing software will allow you to determine if your subscribers are sharing your newsletter and if more people are subscribing or not. Pay attention to the numbers and get a feel for what types of articles your subscribers like most. Then do more of that.
Need help producing your corporate newsletter? Contact Aristeen at firstname.lastname@example.org.