One aspect of marketing that has become more popular is either an email or printed newsletter, that is published monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, or annually. The goals of a newsletter are pretty straight forward:
- Create customer retention and brand loyalty.
- Demonstrate your expertise in the field, and “lightly” educate your customers.
- Keep your company profile in the customer’s mind.
- Gain sales, whether immediate or long term.
Although the goals are obvious, the necessary steps to achieving them are often times nebulous. A newsletter is more than a simple list of articles stating what your company has done recently. In order to fully meet all of the objectives of a successful newsletter, you need to focus on both the content and the delivery.
We’ll begin with the content. Simply stating the accomplishments of the company, or discussing every new product that has been developed, is only going to accomplish the first part of goal #2. And let’s face it, how many of your customers want to become experts in your field? You need to demonstrate your expertise, not make your customers experts. Therefore, a newsletter filled with technical jargon, that tries to make every reader fully understand every aspect of the business, is probably going to fail.
In order to generate usable content, the focus must be on the customer, not on the products, or even on your business. If you think of your newsletter as an actual periodical or newspaper, you begin to see the entire picture. Consider the front of any magazine you have ever seen. The articles listed are about how the reader can change their life. “10 Great New Widgets That Will Improve Your Life!” “How Starlet X Lost 50 Pounds in a Week!” These articles are meant to help the reader in some way. They are more than simply product descriptions.
The tricky part is making sure it does not come across as a sales pitch. If you are truly focused on the customer, you should be okay.
In addition to your product, your newsletter should try to connect with the reader on a personal or emotional level. Does your company do good things for the community? Include an article about that. Once again, this doesn’t mean you should be generating a report on how wonderful you are. As an example, if your company recently gave money to a school, you could talk about the wonderful improvements made to the school. You don’t need to emphasize that they could do this based on your charitable donations; the fact that you are publishing the news alone tends to point that out.
Newsletters can also focus some attention on the community in general. Has a local sports team done something wonderful recently? Make mention. Has a new restaurant opened in town, that you enjoy? Write them a review. Newsletters can positively focus on other local events, that will also lend readability to your publication and give your readers something they will enjoy reading.
As far as delivery goes, your focus needs to be ease of use. For emailed newsletters, they must be accessible to all readers. Focusing your attention on clean coding, proper email etiquette, including proper titling, unsubscribe options, etc. It should be viewable as a website in addition to an email, for those who are using email services that are more restrictive. The ability to download the email as a file, and be read offline, is an additional feature. For more on email distribution, click here.
In summary, your newsletter needs to be enjoyable to read. No one outside of your company wants to read a book about your company. However, if 50% of your newsletter is soft sales on your products, and 50% of your newsletter focuses on the community and things that will most likely interest your customer, based on your customer demographic, the chances of your newsletter being deleted or thrown away without being viewed is much lower.