Should You Write a Newsletter for Your Business? Part I

I started using a newsletter in our business about eight years ago.  Initially, it was just a bit of a lark, it seemed like a fun thing to do to stay in touch with our clients and customers.  I had been looking through a newsletter that came as a result of my daughter’s involvement in the local symphony.  It was a fun read, some great articles, and I sensed that it was accomplishing something that we were lacking in our business.

It was a way to develop community.

If you have a business where you have a lot of clients and customers who come in, but not always in a really regular basis, using a newsletter can help to accomplish two things:

  1. It will keep you at the “top of their mind”.
  2. It will make you appear friendlier and more approachable.

Here is an example of a four-page newsletter we created a couple of years ago…because this was for our gift shop, we chose a style that was in keeping with our image:

This is the front page of the newsletter:

    • As you can see, it has a title,
    • The name of the business,
    • A table of contents,
    • A letter from the owner,
    • and a picture.
People LOVE to know who they’re doing business with.

Most businesses think they are in business to sell things.

Actually, you’re really in the relationship business!

Because our demographics for this business include 95% female, we always include a fun, original recipe for them to try out at home.

Sometimes we would incorporate something we sold at the shop, but most of the time, we did absolutely, positively  NO ADVERTISING on the FRONT PAGE!!!

This is really important. I can already hear some of you saying, “WOW! A 4-page newsletter, can you imagine all the ads I can put in that thing????!!!!”

Hold on. A newsletter is to be of service to your clients.  This means you have to give them something meaningful, something they can use in their lives.  You want them to say, “This is really great!  I NEEDED to know that right now!”

What business are you in?

Do you think you can’t use a newsletter to help your clients and customers be better informed?

I write newsletters for a LOT of businesses, and there isn’t a single one who hasn’t benefited from writing a helpful newsletter.  Why? Because it made their clients and customers feel like they were special.

Once we started our newsletter, people would come into the shop and rave about the newsletter.  They said it made them feel so special and they loved the articles and recipes, and timely/helpful tips and hints that we always tried to include.

The next post will show you the inside of this four page newsletter, providing more examples of the type of things you may wish to include in your newsletter.

Until then…think about your clientele.  What do they want from you?  How can you help them best?  Is your competitor doing anything that you’re not? How can you change that? What do you wish all your clients knew?

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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!