Updated: Aug 4
Company newsletters; they can be a lot like those fluff-talking, gaudy old salesmen you see in the movies. You know the ones – they wear the bad 80’s suits, rock a mean greasy comb-over and think they know more about you than you do. They may have been top-notch and cutting edge once, but as time goes by and the suit stays the same, they start to become less of an asset to a business and more of an issue you know you have to deal with, when you just have some spare time.
Having worked for some big professional services multi-nationals as well as boutiques and not-for-profits, I know one thing is for certain – newsletters in some form or another, just like those salesman, are here to stay. They are one of the main ways service-based businesses keep in touch with clients, and offer an opportunity for a brand to stay top-of-mind.
Businesses of all sizes, shapes and styles still use newsletters, and it would surprise you how many of those – especially the ones with highly-paid marketing directors, or outsourced agencies – have neglected to spruce them up as time has passed.
Having a really solid business newsletter doesn’t have to be difficult, time-consuming or cost anything at all, but it really is worth it.
Turn gaud into great
A new suit
One of the biggest surprises when it comes to newsletters, is a business that refuses to move with the times, and instead still sends out newsletters as attached PDFs, or poorly-designed tables in an email. There wouldn’t be a problem with this if something better was cost-prohibitive, but so many html newsletter platforms are free!
Personally, I’m a big fan of mailchimp. While working with clients from bigger companies, I’ve used platforms that cost literally thousands each year and there’s no doubt they are good, especially for analytics. But if what you’re trying to do is create something that is professional, clean, informative, engaging and increases website clicks, you don’t really need all the bells and whistles. If you’re reading this while PDFing your latest newsletter, have a play around with a platform like mailchimp, it will be a game changer!
Standing out from the crowd
It’s not just the platform that can change the game, it’s what you do with it. Design is important – in fact, it’s vital. Something poorly designed, featuring clip art images and multiple script fonts screams of a business that is unorganised and lacks credibility. If you’re not a designer, use one of the provided templates, or have a freelancer design a clean, clear, modern template you can use as the basis for all future newsletters.
The sales pitch
Ah, that fluff-talking salesman, he hasn’t changed his pitch in years. He still thinks talking about what a great salesman he is and telling the customer who they are is what it takes. But these days, customers and clients want a value-add – they want a little piece of your knowledge and experience they don’t have to pay for… and they don’t want to feel like pieces of meat.
When writing your newsletter content, take the time to share your expertise in a way that is helpful to your client. Don’t tell them how great you are at selling cars, teach them how to find a car that is value for money. Don’t try to convince them you’re one of the good lawyers by listing your wins, write about a case study that shows how well supported your client was in a recent case.
Don’t give it away
The one thing that old salesman had right is you don’t just freely give away your service. And while you’re not trying to get every last cent out of a client like he may be, you are trying to get something out of the time it took to prepare your newsletter.
Newsletters are a great way to keep people on the hook, to get them interested and back to your site to find out more information. Use your content to encourage users back to your site (not to make your service redundant), and then your site design and pitch to convert them to a qualified lead or sale.
Watch for the tells
A really good salesman is good at reading people. He can immediately see who wears the pants in a couple, who is driving the purchase, and if he has window shoppers or buyers on his hands. And now, so can you.
Using platforms like mailchimp and combining it with your site’s analytics, you can learn a lot more about your customer. You can find out what information they are most interested in, figure out at what phase they may be in their decision-making process and even what time of day is best to communicate with them. This information can help you plan better and convert interest into sales.
Chat with us if you would like some help putting together your online newsletter.