There’s a lot for small businesses today to consider when it comes to marketing and getting more sales — PPC, Social Media, Link Building, SEO, Website Development, Content Creation, etc. Communicating directly with customers and potential customers via a newsletter is still an effective marketing strategy that you should probably pull out of your toolbox, dust off, and put to good use.
A well-crafted newsletter will engage current customers (driving repeat business) as well as grow new leads and sales. Let’s take a look at some best practices for developing a newsletter tailored to your target audience.
1. Include Relevant Industry Content
Share stories about what’s going on in the industry that customers and potential customers can relate to. For example, if you’re a landscaping company you can talk about exciting trends in creating native plant gardens. You can also share tips on how to best care for plants and lawns throughout the hot summer months. If customers view you as an industry expert and someone who is in touch with things that effect them, it will help build your credibility and they’ll trust that you are dependable resource. If you understand customer interests and challenges, you are in a position to offer solutions and demonstrate how your products and services will benefit them.
On a related topic, check out this article on product messaging. This insightful piece gives good advice about positioning your product in a way that clearly exhibits how it makes life easier for customers, rather than simply listing out features. It’s a more complex and challenging approach but well worth it. The article also demonstrates that businesses and consumers must share values to form mutually beneficial and long lasting relationships. It’s not about you and how awesome your product is; it’s about providing solutions for customers and enabling them to be who they want to be.
2. Share Success Stories
If you’re a cleaning and damage restoration service, perhaps the local news included you in a story about how the community came together to help in your cleanup efforts after a big storm tore through a nearby town. Ask your customers for a testimonial and be sure to confirm that you can share it publicly. Briefly relay the story in your newsletter and include photographs if you can. Photographs dramatically improve engagement with customers and allow potential customers to get to know you in a sense, offering visual proof that you are an actual company, and that certainly helps build your credibility. In addition, you can also offer tips on how to storm-proof your home or business.
3. Relay Promotions and Special Events
A newsletter is the perfect way to keep customers updated with new product releases, special offers, and any events you host or attend. If you are going to be at a trade show, let people know the booth number where they can find you. You might consider providing a special offer that attendees can take advantage of if they chat with you and then decide to sign up with you at the trade show or convention. Ideally, you want to offer something that will encourage attendees to become loyal customers rather than offering the latest gadget that has nothing to do with your business. Maybe you offer a free trial for a month. Maybe you offer a buy one, get one free special.
Maybe you’re unveiling a new feature or product at the trade show. Offer a teaser in the newsletter to pique interest and encourage people to visit your booth. You’ll likely get valuable feedback from attendees who experience your offering firsthand. Of course, if you’re not releasing anything new at an event, provide pertinent information about your new release and link to further detail on a page where people can sign up or buy your product.
Outside of events, also include special coupons in your newsletter for customers to put towards the purchase of your products and services. If you want to drive people to your physical location, include a printable coupon or QR code customers can use at your business. If you do most of your business online or want to drive traffic to your website, offer a special code customers can enter at checkout to receive a discount. If someone calls you and mentions the coupon, remember to ask how they heard about it so you can track where your business is coming from and what marketing strategies are paying off.
Last but not least, be sure to track your newsletter performance. Services like MailChimp and Constant Contact allow you to look at how many people opened your newsletter and what they clicked on, showing you what resonates most with your audience. You’ll also be able to see who made purchases and what they purchased after opening your campaign.
There you have it. We hope this helps with your customer retention as well as earning new customers. Just remember, the main functions of a newsletter are to 1) position yourself as a knowledgeable industry leader, 2) demonstrate your ability to solve customer problems and needs, and 3) show your appreciation by offering special deals and savings.
If you have any questions or want to share what has or hasn’t worked well for you, please leave a comment below!