Done right, an email newsletter can be a very useful & effective way of:
- staying in touch with clients
- drawing traffic to your blog/website
- disseminating information & therefore helping to position you/your company as the ‘go-to’ expert in your field
- keeping people abreast of latest news and offers (to be handled with care)
- over time, turning ‘I’m interested’ into ‘I’m ready to buy’
Done wrong, an email newsletter can end up in the ‘Junk’ folder without even being read. Which is a bit of a waste of time (yours) and goodwill (theirs).
So should you bother?
Let me tell you a bit about the Hexagon email newsletter. It’s definitely not a perfect example, but it’s worth taking a look at.
The primary aim of my newsletter (from a business perspective) is to keep clients and other interested people on board and aware that I’m still here, learning, developing and generally doing web-related stuff. It’s not a hard sell (and in fact, it’s not really even a soft sell either… I usually forget to do any kind of selling), but it means that every month or so I pop up, as if to say, ‘hey, I’m still here… you know you can contact me if you need to’.
And although I don’t do any selling as such (and perhaps I should), I sometimes get people calling or email after they’ve read my newsletter, saying something like… ‘you know what, I’d been meaning to call you…’ – and that then might result in business. Other times, it’s just a ‘good point – completely agree with you’… no new business, but all part of building an on-going relationship.
Based on the above…. should you bother?
Yes, but make sure:
- You have something of value or of interest to say or share. I harp on about this a lot (as the same concept very much applies to blogging), so I’m not going to go into great detail here. But put yourself inside the heads of your readers, and think ‘will they care?’. They probably won’t care about the fact you have an offer running where they get 0.5% off your service. They might care if you can give them some information that will make their job easier, show them a way of saving time, or demonstrate how to create something that will be of value to them.
- You can commit some time to it regularly (or pay someone else to… but even then, there is a level of time commitment required)
- The people you plan to send the email to have agreed to receive it (or you have some way of building up a permission-based email list – e.g. through your website, social media, clients, etc)
Aside: I think email newsletters are a different ball game for more transaction-based businesses – where it’s perhaps more acceptable to do a hard sell. Even so, it has to be of enough interest / value to galvanise people into action – which in reality is extremely difficult.
Aside 2: If you’re looking for inspiration, Mailchimp has a brilliant gallery of newsletter examples: http://inspiration.mailchimp.com/