Should I Send Out an Email Newsletter?
Read just about any marketing article, and it will tell you that an email newsletter is one of the most effective means available to stay in touch with current clients and potentially gain new ones. Each newsletter provides an opportunity to show what you know and build more trust with your audience. And, if you have the type of business that offers discounts or coupons, a newsletter can result in immediate sales.
Is sending out an email newsletter right for your business and your clients? My answer is, “It depends.” Before you start a newsletter, ask yourself, “Will I have something to say to my clients or customers on a regular basis that is worth both their time investment and mine? Will the information I provide truly be of value?”
And, do you have a list of clients who would appreciate hearing from you? Even a short list might be beneficial. I know a consultant, for instance, who sends out a weekly email newsletter to only 40 clients, but she gets great results.
Lastly, do you have time to write a newsletter on a regular basis, and do it well.
Given that your answer to the above questions is yes, here are some tips for writing an effective email newsletter.
Address the concerns of your best clients
Just like your blog posts, your newsletter should address the top questions and concerns of your best clients and customers. As a matter fact, your newsletter can be re-purposed as a blog post, and vice versa. Once you have written your main newsletter article, post it to your website, LinkedIn, Facebook and everywhere else you have a social presence.
Your newsletter can also include brief updates about your business. Have you hired a new staff member that your clients will interact with? How about including a short bio? Do you want to recognize a special client? How about adding an overview of their business as well as a photo? If you want to offer a discount or coupons, include that as well.
Make it easy to read, personable and professional
Be sure to add plenty of subheadings to break up your newsletter’s text and enable your readers to skip around, if they wish. Images are a great way to add interest. I love including a “photo of the month” at the bottom of my newsletter, allowing me to share a beautiful place I have recently visited. Full disclosure – I’ve had as many clients react positively to my photos as my articles.
How often to send out a newsletter?
If you send your newsletter out too often, you take the risk that people will delete it because you are communicating too much. Send it out too seldom, and your business may be forgotten.
I reviewed several studies before writing this article, and most said to send out a newsletter at least monthly. If you are a business that distributes coupons, weekly or even several times per week might be optimal.
Once again, I recommend you listen to your best clients. How often would they like to hear from you? Also, think about what is reasonable in terms of yours or your staff’s time. Then, let people know upfront how often you will be emailing them. For example, your website might say, “Sign up for my monthly (or weekly) newsletter.”
If you want to get formal about it, Hubspot has published an article titled: The 5-Step Test to Determine Optimal Email Frequency. This article will help you determine the optimal frequency for your audience.
Newsletter tools and prices
The two most popular newsletter tools today are Mailchimp and Constant Contact, and they are both reasonably priced. Under Mailchimp’s Forever Free Plan, you’re able to send up to 12,000 emails per month, if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers. Constant Contact starts at $20/month, after a free trial.
The real cost of sending out a newsletter, however, is your time and patience. I recommend that you review each tool and decide which one will be easier for you to set up and use.
Sending out a regular email newsletter may be a great way for you to stay in touch with your current clients, as well as reach new ones. Just be sure you have something of value to say and the time to make it happen on a regular basis.
If you would like a professional review of your website, I offer a complimentary 30 minute website strategy session. I would love to hear from you!
Carolyn Kohler is an SEO writer who specializes in helping businesses get found online. Her company is Website Wordsmith, and she is located in the San Francisco Bay Area.