Do a search on Google for the word “newsletter” and the first thing that pops on the search results is a definition by Wikipedia that goes “A newsletter is a regularly distributed publication generally about one main topic that is of interest to its subscribers.”
Newsletters are indeed a very effective means of promoting a product or service. It is non obtrusive nor intrusive, and is a great way to establish and sustain a rapport with the recipients of your newsletter.
There are however some key points to remember when running a newsletter especially if these are circulated online through email.
1. Always Only Send Out Relevant Content
Your newsletter should be relevant to the audience you serve. You should provide useful, helpful information that is of interest to your readers. Do not simply send out news about offers and advertising but send them stories that catch their attention, sustain their interest and then create the desire for what you have to offer. The highest conversions are a result of the right offer tied in to the right story.
2. Make Sure You Have Permission
A lot of times companies make the mistake of sending out advertising messages to a bunch of email addresses without even knowing how these email addresses were sourced, without knowing if these were business contacts, personal contacts, leads, or past customers.
Email Spam is a big issue today, and sending out information or advertising that is unrequested for is spam. Before adding people to your mailing list, you should have their permission.
Bestselling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin is recognized as lead advocate and even father of what he coined “Permission Marketing”. It is used more commonly in the online marketing space and its undesirable opposite is interruption marketing. The concept of is simple, marketers obtain permission before advancing to the next step in the purchasing process.
In the case of a newsletter, you would need to get permission to send the newsletter to a recipient. This is common among online marketers, especially email marketers and search marketers.
When a person voluntarily signs up to receive your newsletter through a sign up form on a website and provides you with their name and email address in the process, they are signifying their intent to receive messages from you. As an anti-spam measure, some marketers even send out a confirmation email with a link in it that needs to be clicked to ensure that the requester voluntarily grants permission and explicitly expresses his desire to receive information via email.
“This form of marketing requires that the prospective customer has either obtained explicit permission to send their promotional message (e.g. an email or catalog request) or implicit permission (e.g. querying a search engine). This can be either via an online email opt-in form or by using search engines, which implies a request for information which can include that of a commercial nature.” - Wikipedia
If you have their permission, that means they are interested in what you have to send or offer them regardless if it be a want or need. If they are interested in what you have to offer them, the higher the likelihood they will buy what you are offering.
People never buy anything that they don’t either want or need.
3. Do Not Abuse This Permission
By not abusing the permission you have been granted I mean, do not make them regret opting in to receive you mailing list.
- Try not to send them an email everyday. An email once a week will do, and while two mailings in a week might be pushing it, you would likely get away with it as long as it is content that they would very much appreciate receiving.
- Make sure to also have a section in your email that clearly tells them how they can opt out of your newsletter if they no longer want to receive any more emails from you. That way you can minimize Spam complaints against you, if they know that they can easily opt out of your list if they no longer believe your content to be important to them or simply do not want to receive any more messages from you.
- Always protect the privacy of your subscribers. Do not share or sell their information to other parties.
4. Get Them to Interact
Social marketing has become a key strategy for a lot of Fortune 500 companies in getting their message across to their customers. We have the Web 2.0 phenomenon to thank for that. The internet has changed the way people find information, products and services… and has also opened up more mediums for marketers to channel their messages. We have always known that people have an opinion on just about everything, and the internet of today makes it very easy to voice that opinion.
Always try to get your recipients to do something in your newsletter; this can be as simple as asking them direct questions and being receptive to their responses or as highly engaging as getting them to join your network or community and participate in discussions, unknowingly promoting your product or service for you on these social sites and creating a buzz for you that can go viral.
A highly interactive person on your mailing list has a higher chance of buying compared to someone with whom you have had no interaction with. Marketing is relationship building.
Those are very simple points to keep in mind when implementing a newsletter. These will keep people on your mailing list longer, and the longer a person stays on your mailing list, the more useful content they receive from you, the more you gain their trust, and the higher the chance they buy something from you.