What does your email strategy look like at the moment? Creating a compelling email newsletter for your business is something that we all need to be able to do. Whatever stage of your business you’re at, you will learn something new here!
Meighan O’Toole is a small business coach who supports business owners carve out their unique space online, by using the ‘right’ tech for them and badass marketing.
Why do you need a newsletter?
Social media is amazing, but can get really ‘noisy’. With social media, you are unlikely to reach all of your audience, as they may not see your posts unless they physically go and look for them. If you send an email, you are 90% more likely to reach your audience, as they are able to open the email you have sent to them on their own terms. This also means that you are able to achieve 40 times more likely to receive customers from one email, than you would via a social media post.
Another huge selling point for having an email list is that you own your list. It doesn’t matter if you choose to change the platform you are using, you are able to take your list with you. Social media is ‘rented space’: we are unable to control the changes that are made to any of the platforms, and can loose a huge portion of our followers due to this.
So many business owners have the belief that by sending emails we are ‘annoying’ people. The people on your email list have physically subscribed to hear from you! What you need to remember is that people will open the emails from you that appeal to them. You should be sending a newsletter at least twice a month, but ideally once a week. Get comfortable with the fact that you will have people that unsubscribe; they are not your ideal audience.
CAN-SPAM Act of 2003: If you don’t know what this is, Meighan provides a brief explanation of what this is, and what you need to know about this.
Create a Newsletter That Represents Your Business
When you first think about what you are going to send in a newsletter, you need to define specific goals about what you want to achieve. Meighan has four specific goals that you need to consider:
- Drive traffic back to your website
- Create brand and product awareness
- Make sales (don’t worry if you don’t make sales straight away, as people will want to get to know you first)
- Build loyalty
Meighan’s top tip: make sure that you do actually tell people what you sell… otherwise they won’t realty know what you do!
What Kind of Newsletter Should You be Sending?
Your newsletter needs to be unique to you and your business. If you’re sending value, you are sending email content that appeals to your audience.
How do you decide what to send? Meighan recommends that you brainstorm and write down all of the ideas that come to you. Also, subscribe to other newsletters: these can give you inspiration about what you can send. Seven types of content can you send:
- Special Announcements
- Insider Info
- Sneak Peeks
- Resources & Tips
- Content (links to blog posts)
Meighan recommends that you track the number of sales or offers you send in your newsletters. Don’t feel that you always must entice your audience with sales. Not only are you hurting your business and bottom line by doing this, but you’re also creating an expectation that you will always be sending an offer. Content Equals VALUE for Your Audience:
- Images (especially if you’re a product-based business)
- Reviews & Testimonial
Tips & Best Practices for a Successful Newsletter
Always ensure that you use your brand in your newsletter, this includes your logo, brand colors and fonts that you use.
- Create a template: instead of having to create a new newsletter each time you go to send an email, all you need to do is add your content and it’s ready to send.
- Email Subject Lines: THINK about how you can best use your subject line to ensure you email is opened. Some tips include: maintaining interest, don’t be too general and be informative.
- Re-read, Send & Test: Send a test email to yourself so that you can check your spelling; that you’ve included the RIGHT information; that each of your links and images go to the right places; and, that your images are a good size so that you don’t crash everybody’s inboxes by sending an image that is way too big!
- Call to Action: ALWAYS include a CTA so that your audience know what they’re getting when they click on a button or link!
Building and Managing Your List
Organic growth is the best type of growth. Slow growth is the best type of growth, as you know that the people that have subscribed to your list WANT to be there. One of the best ways to grow your list is to have opt-in forms on your website: there are a lot of options you can choose from; whether it be an embedded or pop-up form. When you are creating your form, give somebody a reason to sign-up – this can be a lead magnet of some description. The optimum number of opt-in forms you should have on your site is approx. 6 or 7 in different places and pages.
If you don’t already have an automated welcome email in place, get one set up. When somebody new signs up to your list, WELCOME THEM! Give your new audience member a reason to continue to follow you with different places they can find you.
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About Our Guest
Meighan O’Toole is a small business coach who’s passionate about helping small businesses define, establish, and build their businesses online. She thrives by helping others carve out their own special area of the Internet through marketing, tech, and productivity. Previously, she worked for Yahoo, Wikia, and WIRED Magazine.