Monday, October 21st, 2013
When it comes to online marketing, there are many ways of getting your message to the masses. Your blog and website are both great avenues for advertising your brand and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest can be invaluable marketing tools as well.
One often under-utilized marketing method is the newsletter. Some people may cringe just hearing the word. However, newsletters can be an awesome source of new business if you know how to use them to your advantage.
You may already be thinking, “I don’t sign up for newsletters because I don’t want any more SPAM in my inbox. Why would anyone sign up for mine?”
Well, maybe you just haven’t found the right kind of newsletter to sign up for yet.
It’s true that the last thing anyone needs is one more piece of SPAM in their inbox. Usually newsletters don’t even make it that far. Most email systems filter them directly to the trash folder and the intended recipient never even sees them.
To keep that from happening, you have to create a newsletter that stands out from the rest.
You want your newsletter to not only pass the system SPAM feature. You also want it to be a piece of correspondence that people look forward to getting. You want people to get excited when they see your name in their inbox because they know you’re bringing them something tangible, something they can use.
Once you create this buzz and excitement with your newsletter, the next natural step is converting subscribers into clients. Or followers. Or buyers. Or business partners. Or investors – whatever your goal may be. The way to go about achieving that goal is to establish trust and loyalty among your subscribers by providing them with only the very best, top notch information, products and services.
But how do you build that trust and loyalty through a simple newsletter?
Is it even possible?
Sure, it is! Assuming you follow the bits of advice we’ve given you so far.
And to make it easier, we’re going to give you 24 more tips on how you, too, can create a newsletter that converts subscribers into buyers, clients, investors, followers, customers and more.
1. Choose a crisp, clean design.
Fancy backgrounds with wild colors are fun, but highly inappropriate for a business-related newsletter. You want to choose a crisp, clean design that is easy on the eyes and creates a professional tone.
2. Stay way from fancy fonts.
Even though fancy fonts, bolded text and highlighting can add lots of visual appeal to any piece of content – they are not suitable for a newsletter. Not only do these kinds of thing detract from the professionalism of the newsletter, they make it hard for the reader to concentrate on the content they’re reading. If they can’t concentrate on the content long enough to read it, your efforts fall on deaf ears. So use these things sparingly, if at all.
3. Leave space for the white space.
When creating a newsletter, you may feel the need to cover every pixel of white space with content. That’s not necessary. In fact, doing so can be quite annoying because it creates for a cluttered, unprofessional look that nobody is going to want to read.
4. Use images sparingly.
Sure, it’s nice to dress up your text with a corresponding image. However, if you go overboard adding those images, you draw attention away from the text and end up with a cluttered newsletter that isn’t going to appeal to anyone, regardless of what the images are. Use them, but use them sparingly.
5. Create an awesome subject line.
Even though it may be just a newsletter, it’s a newsletter that you want people to know is from you and that it brings good news as soon as they see the subject line in their inbox. You want them to think, “Yay! It’s here! I can’t wait to read it.” Think along those lines when creating your subject line to ensure that it’s going to be an attention-grabbing one that draws them in.
6. Keep the intrigue going.
Now that you’ve wowed them with the subject line by hinting at the great things that await them on the other side of the click, you have to deliver. Speak directly to your subscribers in a friendly, but professional tone that gets right to the point of your message without using lots of marketing hyperbole. Keep hinting at what’s to come the farther into your newsletter you go to ensure they are engaged enough to read it all.
7. Tell the important stuff first.
Sometimes subscribers can see the introductory paragraph of your newsletter before they actually click the link to open it. Be sure that this is where you put your very best details and most important information so that it piques their interest enough to get that click.
8. Know your target audience and speak to them.
Knowing who your targeted audience is will make speaking to them much easier. When speaking is easier, that means the words will come to you naturally. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, how can you know what to say? Consider this before deciding what kind of content to fill your newsletter with.
9. Include a table of contents or outline in your newsletter.
You want to have some kind of outline or table of contents in your newsletter so that people will know what’s inside and which information they want to read first – or not at all. This also helps you remember which kind of content needs to go in which order when putting it together. For instance, you might set up your newsletter in the following order:
10. Make your content scannable.
Subscribers want to be able to skim and scan a newsletter to find the information they want to read and quickly bypass the information that doesn’t interest them. Making it easier to find what they need makes for a reader-friendly experience that will make subscribers more likely to continue reading subsequent releases.
11. Don’t give them the ‘Read More’ option.
For longer articles or texts, some newsletters will include a link where readers can “Read More” on another website. More often than not, your subscribers are not going to click off the page for the sheer inconvenience of it all. Be sure what you want to say is short, concise and fits within the parameters of your margins and available space.
12. Offer something tangible each and every issue.
Whether it’s some expert advice, a problem solving scenario or a free ebook – always make sure you include something tangible in each and every issue. The more perceived value your newsletter has, the more likely people are to not only subscribe to it, but to also remain subscribed to it. Keeping their subscription is what is going to, in the long term, build the trust and loyalty required for converting your subscribers into future customers.
13. Make opting in easy.
Put an opt in form in lots of different places to ensure the most exposure. You could have one on your website and your blog. You could link to those from your social media accounts and you could also link to them from your normal email signature as well.
14. Make the sign up process easy.
Don’t put a lot of blanks on the opt in form. The fewer the requirements for signing up, the more likely people are to follow through with it. A simple name and email address – or just an email address – should suffice.
15. Make opting out just as easy.
There should be an opt out link at the bottom of every newsletter. However, when subscribers click on it and get to the web page that gives them the option of opting out, make it one click process instead of demanding to know why, if they are sure and other things that really are none of your business.
16. Make the newsletter available online.
Have a link handy where people can go to read the newsletter online if they choose to, instead of just having to access it via their inbox. The more options that you give them when it comes to reading your newsletter, the more likely they are to do just that.
17. Create a fantastic welcome message.
When people subscribe to your newsletter, they should be greeted with a fabulous welcome message that makes them feel like a valued reader whose opinions matter. Let that be your guide when it comes to crafting the perfect welcome message.
18. Run regular promotions.
People love free stuff. People love free stuff with perceived value even more. That’s why you should frequently include promotions in your newsletter. It may be a coupon for discounted services, a free product offer or some other kind of purchase-related bonus. The key is to make the offer attractive enough that people will want to invest in your brand in order to take advantage of it.
19. Don’t curate content.
As tempting as it may be to curate content from your website and blog to populate your newsletter with, you should never do that. More likely than not, your subscribers already read your website and your blog so they have already seen the content you’ve posted there. So there is no need to repackage it and send it to them again. And vice-versa – content from your newsletter should not be curated to your blog or website. Keep all the content new and fresh on all platforms to keep your audience engaged and more likely to return.
20. Offer solutions to their problems.
Offering solutions to common problems is a great way to build trust and loyalty among your subscribers. Providing helpful information is also a good way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry, which completes the circle of establishing trust and loyalty.
21. Incorporate video in your newsletter.
Using videos in your newsletter is a great way to showcase a product or service. You can provide subscribers with a live demonstration of how the product or service works, what it can do for them and ultimately why they needed. Seeing it in action is exponentially more appealing and believable than just reading those claims in text form.
22. Have a goal in mind.
What is it you want subscribers to do? Follow you on social media? Buy your product? Invest in your brand? Once you decide, plan your call of action accordingly, focusing on what it would take to make that happen.
23. Make it easy for them to answer your call to action.
The easier you make it for your subscribers to answer your call of action, they more likely they are to respond. If you want them to buy something, include an attractively designed “BUY NOW” button in your newsletter. If you want them to contact you for a quote, add a handy “CONTACT ME” button in your newsletter. Whatever it is you want them to do, make the option to do it readily available within your message.
24. Back up your claims.
If you’re touting a product in your newsletter and making promises that it is going to change your subscribers lives for ever, give them evidence of how that is possible. Show it to them in action. If you promise them that your services will have a greatly beneficial impact on their company, provide white papers and case studies to that effect. If you can’t provide proof that you can deliver what you promise, don’t make the promise.
Putting together a newsletter than converts sounds a lot harder than it is. However, if you follow our advice above, you, too, can create awesome newsletters that not only increase your subscriber base, but that also increase your client and customer bases as well.