I’m asked this all the time by clients and people I meet networking. There was a time when you could put a ‘Sign up to my newsletter’ form on your website and lots of people would sign up, but not anymore.
That doesn’t mean they don’t read newsletters, it does mean that they need more than a newsletter to part with their contact details. It also means that they need to see the value to stay subscribed.
Think about the newsletters you read regularly. Are they the ones that tell you all about what the company is doing right now or do they give you really useful information that helps you and your business in some way?
I’m not a betting person, but I’d happily put money on the fact that you would probably go with the second choice.
How do you create value?
Share your knowledge!
If you attend networking meetings what kind of questions do people ask you about your area of expertise? What comes up in discussion? If people are asking these questions and you know the answers, this is exactly what you should be writing about in your newsletters.
In reality, I don’t write newsletters. I write blogs and then use these articles as the value that leads my newsletters.
The first few paragraphs are usually enough to create interest with a link to the longer version on my blog – I’ve tried putting in the whole article, but some people are daunted by seeing what appears to be a very long article. Although they are happy to read something longer on the blog, which may not make sense, but human nature isn’t always logical!
I usually have an offer or promotion somewhere further down the newsletter, and maybe a second useful article linked to a blog post – so there’s lots of value in there.
When you’re an expert in a particular area, it’s easy to downgrade your knowledge and assume that ‘everyone’ knows what you know. This is a common mistake lots of people make (including me). I have a friend that gets fired up when anyone says ‘You ‘just’ do X’. She says “It might be ‘just’ to you, but it’s a huge mountain to climb for me.”
The moral of this tale is – don’t overestimate people’s existing knowledge. Sometimes you need to give them the basics.
One step at a time
Being a left-brain person I love a good process or a spreadsheet (not necessarily with numbers, but it’s an excellent organising tool). I’ve found that, while not everyone can break things down into a simple step-by-step process, most people like an easy to follow guide – even better with pictures where needed. This kind of approach is an excellent value lead for your newsletter.
Style is critical
Although most of us speak conversationally, for some reason, many people resort to a formal or even pompous style when they’re writing.
Chatty newsletters are much easier to read, so learn to write pretty much as you speak. If you’re struggling with this, either dictate your newsletter so it’s in your spoken style or read what you’ve written aloud, you’ll soon spot where it doesn’t flow.
It’s a way to show off your knowledge and expertise so people understand that you know your stuff. Also they don’t forget you and when they do want what you offer (or meet someone else who mentions they need your kind of help), you are at the forefront of their awareness.