These days, there is so much competing for our attention, that our business can become “out of sight, out of mind,” in a heart beat. Most experienced small business owners know that if they can just get in front of their customers, past and future, periodically, that can frequently turn into new business. But how to stay present in their minds without being a nuisance?By using the right tools, and making sure that every contact potentially adds value to your customers’ lives, you can make sure that when a need arises, you are the one they immediately think of to fill it.
Used ethically and effectively, sending email newsletters to former and potential customers is a great way to keep in touch.
Use the Right Tools
It is imperative that you use an email marketing service like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or MyEmma to maintain your email lists and send out your emails, as they will follow the strict legal guidelines required to prevent you from getting blacklisted as a spammer. These tools make it easy for people to subscribe and unsubscribe – note that little will make a potential customer madder than receiving emails they have not asked for and then being unable to STOP receiving them. Using a service ensures that the people who receive the emails actually want them.
Do not ever under any circumstances send mass marketing emails using your regular email program (like Outlook, Mail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc). Doing so will almost always break the rules of the CAN-SPAM Act and can lead to stiff fines.
Grow Your List
Make sure that you make it easy for people to sign up for your list by including a sign-up form on your web site and on Facebook. If you have a contact form on your web site, you can add a checkbox to allow people to indicate they’d like to be added to your list. If you have an ecommerce store, you may be able to add a section of the check out to invite people to “opt in.”
If you have a physical storefront, or frequently have a table at conferences and trade shows, you can collect email addresses on paper or your computer, but you must disclose that the email will be added to your newsletter list.
Make it Valuable
Give people a reason to join your list! We all already get too much email, so you have to go the extra mile to entice people to receive one more.
The only reason people will subscribe to your list, and stay subscribed, is if the content is something they actually can use and look forward to. This might be great offers just for newsletter subscribers, important tips to help their business, the weekly specials for your restaurant, etc. The point of a newsletter should be more about THE READER than about you. If your newsletters are more about making the sale or tooting your own horn than offering value to your readers, then you will see your list rapidly dwindle.
Giving your newsletter subscribers exclusive deals and content can also make being part of your list something extra special.
How you present the message is almost as important as the message itself. Keep it short, friendly, and interesting. No one, and I mean NO ONE, will read a newsletter that goes on for miles. Hit the highlights, and provide a link to your web site for more information. Don’t “bury the lead”—get right to the point or else most of your readers will never make it far enough to find the value. Proofread, spellcheck, then proofread it again. If you are not generally known for your writing skills, delegate the task to someone who is.
The Catchy Headline
I am sure you, like everyone else, get way too much email, skim the subject lines in our inbox, and immediately delete about half the messages without even opening them. If your email’s subject line does not instantly grab attention, it doesn’t even matter what your content is. Use your subject line to tell people what amazing thing they need to read about! “October newsletter” = “Delete Me.” But “Delicious Vegan Recipes” (if your audience is comprised of hungry vegans) is a winner.
Don’t Over Email
Unless you have a really good reason to send an email every day or every week (i.e., what you are sending is something your readers will actually HOPE to see that often) – don’t. The #1 reason people unsubscribe is because they feel like their inbox is being abused. Save your newsletter for when you have something really special to offer, and your readers will look forward to receiving them.
Need help starting your newsletter campaigning? Contact me and lets get started!