If you are feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities of online marketing, recollect the humble newsletter service and the advantages of direct marketing. A regular newsletter to clients that includes useful content, requests for referrals or partnerships, and offers can create a solid foundation for you to grow your business.
From email to newsletter
If you have been sending bulk emails out from your personal account, it may be time to graduate to an eNewsletter service.
Many mail clients will block the receipt of mass e-mails from private accounts as spam. If you attach large graphics or PDF’s these may or may not be displayed – or even opened.
An eNewsletter can be plain text or HTML (formatted words and pictures), the latter being more popular, and is e-mailed to your contact list. An eNewsletter service provider also has its own tools so that your missives are not marked as spam (although they may be labelled “promotions”).
Reporting tools are also useful to track your campaigns and see whether people open, click, or forward.
There is a slight learning curve to using some of the online publishing tools – but once you compete your first newsletter you will have a template for successive mailings.
But, I don’t have anything to say!
To make the prospect of newsletter writing less daunting, try jotting down some ideas throughout the month. Commit to one morning a month to write it and send a test eMail to yourself and a friend to check for errors. It won’t be the great American novel – just a few paragraphs to remind people that you are still out there providing useful services.
Take advantage of events, workshops, a seasonal change or holiday to send a note to your contact list.
Keep it Simple, Sally
E-newsletters should be tailored to the busy person’s in-box with one or two key items for their immediate attention. Craft an e-newsletter that speaks to the needs of your audience:
- Write your own content. There are some services that generate industry specific content but they also sound generic. You know your clients and you know your business, trust your own voice.
- Keep It Simple. Avoid creating an email that is too long to be shown in full when received. Edit and curate so that your reader does not have to do this work.
- Include a call to action.
- Include a link to your website and your contact information.
Whether you want people to contact you, visit your website, or download a coupon, make it easy and obvious. Stick to the main points that you want to communicate and save the extra content for the next, regularly scheduled e-blast or blog post. Follow-up any event announcements with a phone call or postcard to let people and clients know that they are important to you.
When to send and how often?
Once a week, once a month, quarterly – whatever works for you as long as you stick to the schedule. If you have a special event or workshop in between mailings, send out an invitation or reminder notice about one week in advance. Happy mailings!