Here Peter Hanley looks at What is a newsletter format? All business will achieve with a newsletter, but some will really turn the lookers around.
Let's start by wondering if Newsletters are really necessary. I searched Wiki for an answer but moved on to my own experience. Many years of almost daily emails to a bunch of customers. I have used Ryan Deiss as an authority as well as Wealthy Affiliate. I have tried all sorts of carriers and ways to get a result.
Your format will depend on your desire or product.
Let's start with the main reason for sending newsletters. It is about several things depending on where you are going with this
- Branding can be the first and only one.
- Local news and updates for schools and clubs
- Seasonal influences
- Attraction influences
- A basic introduction
I started with branding and this is the main reason for emailing. It is not a selling sequence or clicks now issue because we want them when they are ready, not when we want to sell.
Also on the list were Attraction influences. This is a very clever and easy format to follow and I will give you a great example.
First of all, the emails will be branded with Logo, contact details, opt-out etc. This will be consistent and very easily recognised over the long run.
Who the email is from also brings readership as well as the opening line. We shall dig deeper into that soon.
I work business to business so I am involved in this area and never domestic services.
A lot of my work is online so they need to be compatible.
What is a newsletter format? Some examples.
A great example
A local signwriting company does a monthly newsletter to all its current and past contacts.
Their speciality is what they call car or shop wraps. This is where they cover the car in signage so it stands out in the crowd. It's the same with shops, buildings, buses, trucks, anything they can do.
Every month they post the best display of the month on a job done by them. Photo, a bit of history and the usual tagline.
This is not an everyday product however for most of us it has great eye appeal and we look, consider and remember. They stand a chance of being my signwriter or better still get a referral from me and the business in the picture gets free exposure. An all-around win-win experience
Time taken is probably less than half an hour and the effect longstanding.
News-letters are about romance, not closing the deal. However, you can always ask the question because you never know the answer.
Segment your list or go solo
The answer, of course, is both of these depending on your products and customers.
If you sold Ford and GM cars you would split the list because there is no way many will move for you, it is a boundary too far.
For men's and women's items, seasonal items, and interests, the list is indeed long.
However, many things are equal across the spectrum.
Tyre service sends me a monthly newsletter. Inside the news is linked to various articles of interest, some for the boys and some for the girls. This is very good except it is a bit long-winded with too many articles.
They feature the latest in sports cars and how to get non-skid tyres.
There is no selling involved only links to the three stores they own.
The need for a newsletter
Do they need a newsletter, they are all very busy stores, well above the norm in today's market but they are there because they have the tentacles of touch. They utilise media at its best.
The finance broker has a quarterly newsletter. This includes current housing statistics, interest rates, a home loan calculator and a few tips to save money.
Again, he utilises the media to stay on top of the current flat market.
He was sending out an SMS to his base every time the home loan interest rate changed. This worked very well until the interest rates stayed the same for nearly 12 months, so he paused this for a while.
Interestingly, the first SMS blast he sent out returned him a large loan from an old customer that had no contact for many years.
He works on many forms of touch to keep his base alive.
What is a newsletter format? Enhancing the rules of touch
Work on many forms of touch to keep your base alive.
Alan Dibb, Marketing consultant
Random acts of marketing will only hurt your business. You need to know who your target audience is, what media they consume, and what message would compel them to act before creating marketing material. You also need to understand what each piece in your marketing arsenal is meant to do before you begin marketing on purpose. Without a plan, you’re wasting your hard-earned marketing dollars.
Get it working before moving on
Whilst you have a multi-marketing stream the idea is to get one working before moving on to the next. Newsletters are great but let's look at some ideas to consider
- Who is your target market?
- Where do they live?
- What media do they consume?
- What message would compel them to contact you?
- How will you take them through the customer journey to becoming a lifelong brand advocate?
In most cases, a good newsletter can accommodate these issues.
What is a newsletter format? And when to send them
When do you send your newsletter?
The rule of thumb is that more is better than less.
What is your marketing and how quick is the change?
I believe monthly is ideal and in some cases quarterly.
I have a curtain shop friend that has a quarterly newsletter.
At the start of each new season, he provides what is new on the market and the trending products. I am not currently in the market to buy curtains but it allows me to provide an opinion to my kids who are renovating.
I have just done a series on social media and the impact on small business. A new heading every 4 days. Readership has grown with each email and the click rate with it. I wrote an article on Twitter. Then I have a link to a web page that has a fuller explanation, that web page has links to affiliate sites so I take a customer on a sales journey through information.
The customer base was built on my messaging product but went to marketing to get them back to my messaging service. The result is working.
At the end of this series, I will revert to fortnightly with matters of business interest.
I had a guy call me recently, he was on my list but unknown to me.
He rang and said “OK, you have worn me down let's set up a meeting”
He had been on my list for nearly a year.
I can give you the rules but they may not apply.
Your first is an introduction, the second a warm-up. the third testimonial, then product description, then Ideas rather than a pitch.
Except that every email should have a buy button because you don't know where in the cycle they are.
If it is a long cycle you aim for the know and like elements of sales where one day they will come to you because you have built trust. A simple formula.
What is a newsletter format? You must have a plan
Write your plan and follow it
With my social plan, I have written 16 headings of what I want to talk about.
This will cover the next two months of mail all set to go out automatically and will only be monitored on a daily basis. It did take me sometime to write the posts but I will be able to quantify the results over income.
The plan has returned sales so I am in front already.
In the end, I shall revert to regular periods.
When do people join the list?
A list is always necessary and I wrote on this recently if you are still seeking clients
If you have a series based around the fundamentals of introduction etc they all need to be put in an Autoresponder.
The alternative is to load them into the current series.
This, of course, depends on the CRM plan you are using. The more expensive ones will have a guide, so then it is what to write.
What is a newsletter format? You are an entertainer.
You are in the entertainment business
If the customer is not entertained or interested they will click delete me from the list.
Your industry will have interesting topics that you can relate to.
Google News is a good source of inspiration for current events. How to do things, what to do with things, stories and pictures.
Our attention span is pretty limited. We are busy unless it is of interest to us so grab my attention or lose me.
I just had a newsletter from Yellow pages in Australia
These guys are the leaders in the industry. You will see they have a selection of articles and some advertising, a competition, a seminar and an opinion poll.
Now none of us will be this slick, but what are they selling?
Other than the brand, they have a search engine program at the very bottom.
We can debate over this but these guys are leaders in the market so they know their stuff and what they do works.
In conclusion, a newsletter is cheap to send, don't take over your day and form a valuable reminder of who you are. Customers are not always in the buying cycle but when they are you want them to think of you.
Newsletter format by Peter Hanley
Business newsletter ideas extra reading