In part one, we discussed the importance of sending a newsletter to increase your value with clients and prospects. You discovered why you should send a print newsletter through the mail, who you should send it to, and when the best time is for sending it.
Today, in part two, we’ll take a look at what you can do to guarantee your newsletter is being read. Because the truth is…
Consumption of your newsletter is critical.
You must create a newsletter that your clients look forward to receiving, one that they find interesting and want to rip open the minute it arrives. Because if your newsletter isn’t being read, you’ve wasted time and money, and more importantly, you’re losing customer value.
Here are seven ways to create a newsletter people can’t wait to read:
1. Make a plan. What do you want to achieve with your newsletter? Do you hope to get more referrals? Convert more leads into paying clients? Build a rock-solid relationship with your clients so they never leave you? By determining your intentions first and creating a plan, you will be better equipped to design content that includes the right elements to achieve your goal –whether that is to increase referrals, increase sales, improve retention, or “all the above.”
2. Include creative, personalized non-relevant content. Believe it or not, non-relevant content often gets you more consumption than anything else. Therefore, your newsletter needs to be about something or someone other than just your products and services. Including seasonal, regional, or future events, business tips, recipes, cartoons, or jokes or a story about an inspiring client are a few ideas for adding variety and interest.
3. Use storytelling. Providing customers with information and education is not enough to create and keep relationships for life. If you want to keep them coming back for more, they must see you as an interesting person and want to hear the next installment of your story. Stories can include things about your personal life – your family, travels, hobbies, and so on. You might also tell a story about a problem a client had and how you were able to solve it or include a Q & A where clients can send in a question and use a story to answer it. Incorporating stories into your newsletter is paramount.
4. Segment your list. You already know it’s important to slice up your list and tailor your marketing for various segments with your emails, direct mail, and sales letters. But segmenting can improve your results when it comes to your newsletter too. It will further build your relationship and improve your results because the content becomes more relevant to your readers. It can also create a more impressive package, therefore, increasing perceived value.
A few ways you can segment your newsletter include prospects vs. clients, by location, or by services. This does not mean the entire newsletter needs to be different. For example, let’s say you are targeting manufacturers to help them with compliance and professional services to provide co-managed IT services. Your newsletter could be identical except for one page where you talk about compliance for your manufacturers and you talk about co-managed IT for professional services.
5. Know your audience well. A big key to more referrals (and sales) is to know your audience well and then demonstrate you know them well in your newsletter. For example, if your clients are veterans from the Greatest Generation, they will be interested in Memorial Day and grandchildren but won’t be interested in back-to-school topics. Millennials, on the other hand, will be interested in completely different storylines.
6. Get the most bang for your buck. Newsletters can be a much more valuable tool when you look beyond the traditional use of a newsletter. You can easily increase the shelf life of your newsletter and capture more of your audience by recycling your newsletter and using techniques for longevity.
Recycle your newsletter content by not only sending to your current clients, but by including it in your shock and awe box, sending it to prospects and newly signed clients, and even adding it to your website.
Another way to get more mileage from your newsletter is to ask readers to pass along your newsletter or offer a reward for referrals in your newsletter.
7. Use themes. One way to do this is to use themes that reflect the seasons. You might tackle topics that are more likely to occur during the season you are in. For example, in the summer, perhaps talk about computer failures that can happen due to power outages and shortages and extreme heat and how to keep computers cool. Another idea could be to rotate themes around the different services you offer. For instance, one month you might theme your newsletter around security issues and the next month could be themed around compliance issues.
In addition to the ideas above, if you are short on time, you can use the following ideas to create a great newsletter FAST which gets consumed.
Keep a folder on your desk to throw ideas in. Anytime you have an unpleasant experience or a good one that gets your attention, jot down a note about it and throw it in the folder. Look at the photos on your phone. With a witty caption, a photo can add personality to your newsletter. If you don’t have time, hire either a done-for-you newsletter service and include one article that you’ve written yourself. When you do your clients will think you wrote the whole newsletter yourself. Or if you can’t write, find a talented writer to interview you and have them write stories for you based on your interview.
No matter how you create your newsletter, the biggest thing is to start one and keep doing it. When you do, you’ll be rewarded with better relationships, improved retention, more referrals, and increased sales.
If you aren’t sure where to start or don’t have the time to produce your own newsletter, check out Technology Marketing Toolkit’s Done-For-You service by clicking here.