Quite a few of my clients question whether a newsletter is worth doing. There’s no hard and fast answer to this, it depends!
I don’t recommend a newsletter should be sent, just because everyone else is doing that. There are very few really good newsletters these days – and to keep subscribers, your newsletter needs to deliver value in EVERY issue.
There are plenty of blogs about what NOT to write in a newsletter (tip: hit the Newsletters category on the right to read some of them), but what ensures your readership stays connected and actually reads them?
Lead with value
What is value? For most readers it’s something that will help them in some way.
This might be a free download that provides a checklist or some tips around your area of expertise. It might be sharing your knowledge to make life easier or recommending contacts that have given you great service – with details of how.
It might also be on opportunity to join a free webinar, watch a ‘how to …’ video or attend an event of value (obviously geography may influence this). It doesn’t have to be your material, but might be from someone you really rate.
- Spend some time on creating a compelling headline (and use this for your newsletter subject line too).
- Don’t make your lead item too long – everyone is time poor and they need to ‘get it’ quickly. The longer it is, the fewer people will read it.
- Make sure there is real value for your reader.
Add an offer or promotion
The second item can be a special offer, just for your newsletter readers or promotion of a product or service that you want people to know about.
If you make an offer – make it a real one. Don’t be tempted to boost the ‘actual price’ and then discount it to what you usually charge – someone will catch you out!
This is a good way to promote products and services that fewer people are aware of, even if you don’t want to offer a discount.
- Keep this item short, 2-3 paragraphs at the most.
- Include a short testimonial from a client who loved whatever you’re promoting. Third party testimonials are very powerful.
- Don’t forget to include a call to action – and a link to where they can take action.
Make your newsletter readers feel like you’re talking directly to them.
- Use a program that allows you to personalise the salutation. If you can start off with ‘Dear Jo’ or ‘Hi Alan’ rather than a global ‘Hello everyone’ or no salutation at all, you’ll get more engagement up front where it matters.
- Tell a story – if you want to add something about what’s happening in your company, tell it as a story (and it comes last, not first).
- Always address your comments to ‘you’, not’ ‘you all’ or ‘everyone’. Make your tone friendly and personal.
And one final tip: plan ahead. The more planning you do the less likely it is you’ll keep putting off this month’s newsletter! Get your offers and promotions planned for the year and have the lead item subject in mind.
Good luck with creating great newsletters that build your reputation as an expert.