When I started at Net-Results as a bright-eyed, bushy tailed, young college intern over a year ago, I was anxious to show my talents as a content writer. I found myself chomping at the bit to take on as many projects as I could. (And based on the mixed metaphors I just used, I was some sort of horse squirrel….haha.) One of the content projects I volunteered for was our monthly newsletter, and its been a campaign I have spearheaded since then. Ok I admit it, when I took on the newsletter, I expected it to be a fun writing project with creative freedom. However, being responsible for our newsletter has made me realize the power newsletters have for nurturing prospects. I’d like to share some of what I’ve discovered with you.
I think, generally, newsletters get a bad rap. A lot of companies really miss the boat when it comes to getting all that they can from a monthly newsletter. Newsletters are an extremely effective way to disseminate new content and create an opportunity for dialogue between you and your prospects. Newsletters often have higher open rates than normal marketing campaigns because they are sent to a much larger and more interested group of contacts. Refresh your mindset about newsletters; instead of seeing them as a chore, recognize their potential and think of the opportunity you’ve been given to maintain a dialogue at regular intervals.
Whats the goal?
The way I see it, your newsletter should be a short snapshot into what is going on in your company. It is the easiest (and cheapest) way to establish brand recognition and communicate with a large group of prospects and clients. Give enough detail to let people know what you have been working on, but be realistic, not many people are going to take a big chunk of their day to read paragraphs of information. Newsletters are also one of the easiest ways you can reach out to your current clients. It is vital to customer loyalty to keep them engaged with your content after you have sold them. Use your newsletter to let them know what’s new with the organization and your product or services. Monthly updates are a perfect way to keep people engaged with you and your brand.
I love the way one of our successful partners, Keith Shapiro of Exodus Marketing Group, talks about a monthly newsletter.
“The key to marketing yourself is to build trust with your most valued clients by providing free, valuable, specialized information through a newsletter… With that information, you should always strive to SHARE YOURSELF (what do you love to do when you’re not doing your job?) and SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE in layman’s terms. Your clients will come to respect what you know and what you can do for them. And because you shared with them that, perhaps, your kids play soccer on Saturday mornings— just like their kids do, they will see you as someone they can relate to, they will see you as more human.”
I think Keith hits the nail on the head; give enough information to make people interested, and share personal AND business updates. The newsletter isn’t your blog, it’s an opportunity for you to foster a dialogue with subscribers and offer some informal information that humanizes your company. When designing a new layout, think about how you can include plenty of content and company updates without overwhelming readers with everything you wanted to say. It helps to approach a redesign with 3 basic steps: finding inspiration from others, deciding which elements you wanted to incorporate into your newsletter, and focusing on a final layout that would work the best for your needs long-term.