Writing a Newsletter for Your Business

Did you know that for every month you are NOT in contact with your clients and customers, you lose about 10% of the value of your relationship with them?

How often are you in touch with your clients and customers?

A monthly newsletter is an ideal way to stay in touch with clients and customers, it is inexpensive, and really is not that hard to do.

Remember, it is much more cost-effective to do whatever it takes to keep your current clients and customers than it is to try to woo new ones.  Your current clientele is like gold! Even if they only buy a one-time item from you, don’t forget that they are excellent sources of diversified marketing strategies or for referrals.  Referrals are not to be discounted.  Without referrals, your business influence is severely limited.

A newsletter should consist of five major components:

  1. A personal touch from you, the owner of the business.  Some people write a quick note to their readers.  Others place editorial comments throughout the newsletter with their name after the comment.
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  2. Educate your clients and customers. This is a great place to let people know how best to use your products and services.  You might even consider highlighting other clients and customers and how they are using your goods and services.  While you can’t be everything to everyone, you can certainly let them know what you do well!
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  3. Inspirational articles that give people something to think about and feel good about themselves.  The better people feel after reading your newsletter, the better the impression they will have of you and your business.  Remember, you want them to associate a “feel great” mentality to you! You might include inspirational quotations, or articles about ways to improve their performance, health, or attitude.
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  4. Testimonials that reinforce the idea that you are the best person to be doing business with. This is a huge point.  People like to be part of the “in crowd”, and testimonials further cement the idea that doing business with you is the right thing to do.
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  5. Use your newsletter as a direct response opportunity.  While your newsletter should not be filled with ads and information about you and your company, you should not be shy about asking for referrals, providing special offers to people who refer other customers to you is just good business.  Go into partnership with another small business.  Combine your efforts.  Is there a restaurant nearby?  Can you purchase discounted gift certificates from them, and give them to customers who refer paying customers to you? Get creative.  Unite with other small businesses and make it worthwhile for clients and customers to do business with all of you.

Start off with a page or two…the important thing is to just get started today! You can pretty things up later, consider it to be a “work in progress”.  The next several postings will cover newsletter creation ideas in a lot more detail.

Stay Tuned!

Amex Supports Small Biz Saturday

This might seem like a bit of a stretch, the great big corporation, American Express, supporting Small Biz…and yet it isn’t.

Initially, Small Business Saturday was the day after Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving).  Amex was pushing ads in the middle of the summer to have small businesses apply for an opportunity to win $25,000 and grow their biz.  The deadline was in the middle of summer, so perhaps they’re really trying to spread the word about supporting small business.

What I always find interesting is this bid for attention to a single day of the year this coming November.  Now they’re promoting Small Biz Saturday all year.

I can’t argue with their effort.  Small biz needs to find their oomph.  If American Express is going to support that effort, I’m all for it.  For now, I’ll “Like’ them on Facebook, and I’ll watch to see what other tools they make available to small businesses to better market themselves.

There are free tools to use, available from them on their website at Small Business Saturday.  Most of them have to do with creating a biz page on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.  If you aren’t doing this yet, you really need to.  I’m not going to wonder at their motives, they’re purely financial…but if it brings biz back to Main Street, America, then let’s join the march!

Small Shops Join Forces – Unite for a Festival

You’re a small store owner and you want to improve your bottom line. If you’re in a shopping center, look around. Each store in your vicinity has a group of people who regularly frequent their store. In smaller shopping centers, it is far more likely to have a customer park, go into one store, and then return to their car and leave. How can you change that?

Small business owners unite!

Join forces with the other stores in your areal. It doesn’t matter if you are all of differing businesses. If you can present a united front to the public you will all benefit from the joint effort. Even if you work next door to one another, you might have been so busy getting your business going that you really didn’t take the time to introduce yourself to your shop neighbors.

Go in and introduce yourself. Share a little bit about you and what you do. Ask a few questions about what your neighbor does and see if they might be interested in creating a shopping center group where you work together a few times a year on a project designed to bring people into the shopping center for an event that will benefit everyone.

One really great idea is to do an outreach in your neighborhood. Do something that might benefit the people of the neighborhood, or a nearby school. This helps to cement the idea of community and creates a sense of belonging both for your neighborhood as well as for the other shopkeepers in your center.

When you join forces, when you unite, obviously someone is going to have to be in charge. If you’re one who is reading this, it is probably going to be up to you. Or, if you can identify someone who has a really gregarious personality and is engaging and is able to work well with other people, is fairly well organized, that is the person you want to head this kind of a group.

The idea is to make friends with the other businesses. Unless you’re selling exactly the same product, which you probably aren’t, being in the same shopping center, you might actually do better by having a great big event. Something that we used to do is ti have summer Friday Festivals. We would have a small up and coming band who was willing to donate their time, or maybe take up a collection and give them $50 and they’d play for three hours. You set them up outside if the weather is good enough. Inclement weather usually shut down the event.

Some people could provide popcorn, hotdogs, sodas, clowns, face painting. Each participating store needs to be open. What would be a good idea would be for each store to have some kind of a special going on that night only. The idea is, it is advertised as a Friday Fiesta or Friday Festival. You stay open a little bit later on a Friday night and during the summer more and more people are actually able to spend a little bit more time. They aren’t in a rush to get home, get dinner, so they can prepare for school and work the next day.

Many times, Friday evenings are a good time to have this special event in your shopping center. Advertise it. Hire a kid to pass out flyers in the nearby neighborhood. There are a number of ways to get the word out, but by uniting your forces, you expand the event. If only one single store were to have a special on one Friday night, that store would be able to bring in a few of its very best customers and would have a halfway decent night because your very best customers came on one of the Friday Fiestas. But, if you relied only on those really great customers, after awhile, the number of people coming on those Friday nights would diminish.

But, by having a united event in your shopping center, you’re going to tap into everyone else’s good customer list as well. If you have enough going on, if you have a good enough reason for people to come to your event, they’re going to tell their neighbor, their sister.

They’ll say things like, “Hey, do you want to go to a Friday Fiesta at the shopping center tonight? I went last week and got a great deal on this __________.” Fill in the blank. Word of mouth advertising is your very best, so the events have to be good!

Many small shops believe that they have to go it alone and there is strength in numbers and by uniting forces, you can have a really great event and a really successful event.

K Birmingham