I was recently asked to speak to a group of landscape designers on alternatives to social media that still remain effective.
You know what I found out, traditional forms of marketing still work.
The same strategies such as direct mail, newsletters and gasp, face-to-face meetings, can be reliable ways of keeping your business in the public eye and generating new business without breaking the bank.
They keys to success in traditional marketing are the same in internet marketing. You need to send the right message to the right people, and have a compelling offer.
I wanted to share a few things from my talk, and the first is a guide to creating targeted, compelling newsletters. And these tips can apply to e-newsletters, too, if you so desire!
This 9 step guide will help you create informative newsletters and regularly communicate with your contacts. Start by deciding what is your goal?
Goal: To share content about your industry and company so customers take action.
Step 1: Optimize for Deliverability
Segment Your List: You need to segment your list into different groups to ensure each group gets relevant content. You don’t want to overly sell to your customers - you want them to digest and share your content. You could have four segments labeled ‘leads’, ‘customers’, ‘win-backs’, and ‘newsletter’.
Step 2: Gather Your Content
Use content compiled that month as content for the newsletter. You want to be seen as a curator of good content and newsletters are one of best tactics you could use.
Step 3: Determine the Goal
You understand the overarching goal of newsletters, but each newsletter you create should have a primary objective. For example, do you want your contacts to take a survey or read an article on the latest industry trends?
Make sure you place the content that is the most important at the top of the newsletter and in a second spot for maximum exposure.
Step 4: Design Newsletter
Have a consistent newsletter template throughout the year. Only change the template design once per year. Most businesses change their templates at the beginning of the New Year.
What you can change on a monthly basis are headline colors and images to ensure the newsletter doesn’t get stale. Make sure you keep your business and product brand in mind when designing the newsletter. White space is your friend when you design your template. It helps readers find and read the content and makes calls to action stand out. Always be thinking “less is more” when you create your newsletter template.
From Name and Address
The from name and address should be consistent so contacts know and expect the newsletter when it arrives.
Step 5: Newsletter Body and Content
Every newsletter you create should include the following:
- Your business social media links at the top or bottom of the newsletter.
- A table of contents.
You should limit the amount of content to no more than five different content pieces. Examples of content you could have in your newsletter include:
- Articles you wrote
- Gardening guides or checklists
- Case studies, customer testimonials
- Special deals, coupons
- Company announcements
- Upcoming events
Each piece of content should have a call to action that tells the recipient what to do. Limit the amount of non-educational content in your newsletter. A good place for non-educational content is in the sidebar or at the bottom of the newsletter.
You should start each newsletter by adding the recipient's first name in the body
Step 6: Signature
Your signature should be consistent with the from name on the envelope. You should sign the newsletter and include any other information you think the recipients may find useful.
This is a great place to add social media information, your website or blog URL, or announcement s for upcoming events or products.
Step 7: Send the Newsletter
Step 8: Listen and Respond
The work does not end once you send the newsletter. The other goal of marketing is to build relationships with your contacts. Any questions or comments need to be handled in a timely manner.
Step 9: Measure
Measuring how people respond and act after you send your newsletter is very important. Things you should measure include:
- Phone calls or emails after the newsletter deploys
- Responses to which piece of content was most popular
- Total number of unsubscribes
- Spikes in website traffic
- Spikes in social media activity
- Increase in followers on social media
For more tips on growing your business with PR, download our e-book.