Here are seven tried-and-true tips for practitioners of newsletter marketing. These apply to both printed newsletters and email newsletters.
1) Get in the habit of mailing a newsletter every month. Get something in the mail. Don't be a perfectionist. If I could jump up and down on the page to stress this point, I would. It’s that important.
Why? Because habits free our minds. Think about the dozens of things we do each day without really thinking. If we had to think about tying our shoes, driving a car, sending an email or dressing for work, we'd be paralyzed. Activity would slow to a crawl. Habits let us get more done.
With any important project such as your newsletter, it's easy to let your mind fill up with anxiety and excuses. Stop thinking and create the habit. If you didn’t finish that article you wanted to include, mail your newsletter anyway. It doesn't have to be pretty either. You could hand-write your newsletter, copy it, and mail it and you would be surprised at the results.
The very habit of mailing will free up your mind. In short order you will be free to create your own special, personalized content.
I’m going to tell on myself here to prove that it’s worth developing this marketing habit. The screenshot below shows actual website stats for one company. Guess which four months we did NOT publish our printed newsletter?
From August through November we didn’t mail our newsletter and not surprisingly, activity on our website shows a direct correlation. Sales figures happen to correspond almost directly with the website activity. Put another way, more activity equals more sales.
In December the newsletter resumed—as did the activity and corresponding sales. Regular monthly contact with your customers and prospects is FAR more important than the content.
Develop the habit of mailing regularly first, and the good content will follow. Just as importantly, the printed newsletter habit substantially increases the odds of being top-of-mind with your customer when they need you.
2) Make it personal. Include a short blurb that gives your readers a glimpse into your company or your life. No time to write a paragraph or two? Then put an interesting photo in the newsletter with a short caption.
If you think people aren't fascinated by the personal touch, consider the popularity of social media and reality television. People can’t get enough! We’re social beings and we prefer to do business with people rather than faceless entities.
3) Use a mix of newsletter content. If your readers are eager to get your newsletter, they will open it and read it. Think about the newsletters you love. I suspect they have a mix of light and serious content that amuses, entertains or inspires.
In our case, readers constantly tell us they “look forward to” the inspirational quotes. Readers especially love the cartoons. To me, that’s the gold medal of newsletter marketing. This means when they get our newsletter, they will read it. And every month, a percentage will respond to the offer.
4) Insert an offer for one of your products or services. Be sure to include a deadline date or limit the quantities. You want to instill a sense of urgency to respond. Don’t be afraid to test a different offer every month. Use your imagination. If you find one that works, repeat it later or use it in your email newsletter or on your website.
5) Drive traffic to your blog or website. If you don't have a blog, drive traffic to your website. As I showed you above, print and online work powerfully well together and can have a significant impact on sales.
You want to give the reader a good reason to go to your blog or website. Here are a few ideas.
- If you have a blog, drive them to a post that was popular.
- Offer a digital product or free download that is of particular interest to your customers.
- Don’t know what they might like? Drive them to an online survey and ask them, perhaps offering prizes for taking the survey.
- How-to articles
- How-to videos
- White papers
- Free templates, checklists, or worksheets on a subject that appeals to your ideal customer.
6) Showcase your expertise. If you offer variable data printing, use it in your newsletter. Tie in the offer of the month with it. Whatever it is that sets you apart, show it off in your newsletter. The fact that you produce a print newsletter differentiates you all by itself. When you use the newsletter to highlight your print service expertise, you set the competitive bar even higher.
7) Refer to tip number one—get your printed newsletter in the mail every month...no matter what! That’s how important it is.
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