4 secrets to turn your newsletter into a must-read publication

Got the newsletter blues? Pip Evan-Cook provides the remedy with her secrets to newsletter success. 

Never has a name done itself more of a disservice than the word ‘Newsletter’.

For me, at least, the word conjures up the idea of those smug Christmas round robins that people used to send inside their Christmas card. Or, a dry self-serving ‘update’ on company news.

The problem is definitely with the ‘news’ part of the word. You see, your customers don’t really wants to hear news about your business, unless it directly affects them and helps them achieve their goals or resolve their problems more easily. If you don’t believe me, think about it, which company’s news do you really care about?

But, from a marketing perspective, it’s very important to stay in regular communication with your existing customers and to keep warm prospects who aren’t ready to buy engaged. 

So, you need to send content, that they likely don’t want to receive. How can this paradox be turned into a customer conversion machine?

The trick here, is (like Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar) to give your audience the information about your business that you want them to have, wrapped up in or alongside something they need.

Spoonful of sugar on pink background

Secret 1 – stop calling it a newsletter

I say, let’s do away with this terrible term for good. The brilliant copywriter Ann Handley describes how she thinks of her newsletter as a ‘love letter’ to her readers instead.

Reposition your regular customer communication into something else, ‘email out’, ‘relationship builder’, anything like that. For our clients, we recommend giving your newsletter a name, like a magazine, for example we advised our presentation coach client to name his wonderful newsletter, which is full of public speaking advice, ‘Speaking Up’.

As ‘The Marketing Architect’, we decided to call ours ‘The Drawing Board’ (you can visit this page to see an example of how ours looks, and sign up if you fancy a spoonful of regular, easy-to-implement marketing advice!)

Secret 2 – Do everything you can to hold your spot in that inbox

You probably get heaps of emails, so do your readers. We are all pretty savvy now about unsubscribing from anything that isn’t delivering some kind of value. So, you have to be giving value to your reader with every single issue.

Whether that means focusing on a specific problem you can solve, sharing resources, curating content from others, supplying interesting reading material or tips. Your content has to be delivering value every week. Remember this mantra: the job of each email is to ensure that the next one is opened. 

Secret 3: Talk to one person

When you receive an email that says ‘Dear valued customers’ at the start, or refers in the copy to ‘…you all might have seen…’, it chinks away at the relationship between you as an individual and the brand. It feels less special. Because it reminds you that this email is part of a marketing machine, and hundreds of people are receiving it, instead of just being a one-to-one communication between you, the reader, and the business.

Write your email as if you are only sending it to one person, and ideally keep a specific person, your ideal customer, in your head as you are writing. You are sending this email to build your relationship with that person. Talk to them, make them laugh, solve their problems, seduce them.

Secret 4: Use the analytics

Use a high-end email provider to send your content, we like Mailerlite, but whether you prefer Mailchimp, Active Campaign or any other system, make sure you get good access to analytics. The click-through reports are your new best friend.

You probably have different content sections in your newsletter, like ingredients in a delicious salad. There’s no reason why the ingredients have to stay the same every time you send. nothing. Check the click through rates of your content section by section, and if an area regularly performs badly, drop it and swap in something new.

Use the analytics to mix up the content recipe of your newsletter and adjust it over time until you get something that is seasoned just right and serves up a delicious meal for your readers.

We’ve recently been supporting the Mumpreneurs Networking Club by creating a newsletter (regular email) to support the brilliant #MNC-SOS campaign. If you aren’t receiving it right now, you
might like to sign up at the foot of this page. Every week we are sending brilliant business advice from experts in the MNC network, (brought to you by Big Bee Content) in the form of blogs like this one.

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