Beyond The Buzz

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

– Ray Bradbury

E-newsletters – still relevant?

Published July 8th, 2009 in Marketing, Our Blog, Strategies | Comments Off on E-newsletters – still relevant?

I have consistently encouraged all of my clients to have a newsletter sign up, but recently, with the advent of social media/marketing, I have had a lot of people ask me about whether a newsletter or ‘e-blasts’ are still necessary.

YES!

A newsletter sign up, even if you don’t use it, gives you a solid database of people who are interested enough in your projects and what you’re doing to ASK for information. It’s classic push/pull marketing at it’s best. If you randomly send emails or information to people who haven’t requested it, you’re pushing your information to people who don’t care. On the other hand, if you’ve had people reach out to you, you’re pulling them in and sending them information that THEY have requested. Don’t undervalue that!

Here are a few tips for keeping your newsletters relevant:

Don’t become spam! People have a tendency to abuse these lists and send out far too many email blasts. They fill their readers’ inboxes way too often and begin to be tuned out as spam. This is a sure way to lose readers. Make sure that as you send out your newsletters or email blasts that your information is important to their day. Don’t fatigue your readers by sending out emails just to do so. You’ll lose them!

Conversely, a well thought out relevant email blast can build your readership quickly. If you include valuable resources and information that can better their day or their current situation, they will pass the newsletters along and your database will grow. Keep this in mind as you’re pulling together what to include!

Schedule wisely. Make sure that you send out your emails at targeted times. If you have a program set up that will send out emails ‘anytime’ and you let it send them out in the wee hours of the morning, then they’ll be waiting in someone’s inbox buried in mounds of spam! Even if people are interested in what you have to say, they’re more likely to hit that ‘delete’ button when they’re clearing their inbox than they would be if the mail arrived during their day. This works for Friday (clearing the inbox before leaving for the day – or sometimes taking the day off for a long weekend) and Monday morning clear outs from several days out of the office. The best times to send out email newsletters and blasts are Tuesday – Thursday.

Content is vital! When you put together your newsletter, make sure it’s not too copy heavy. People see lots of lines of text and tend to skim quickly and sometimes, skip completely! Don’t overwhelm them with columns and columns of text. Break up the copy with tastefully chosen graphics or pictures.

Your newsletter IS you. Every time you send out a newsletter, it’s a new chance for people to get to know you and your business better. Share current events or information that they may not find on your company’s website. Give people a reason to sign up for your newsletter. Send out tips, hints, or strategies that your readers can use. They’ll begin to rely on you more and more as a resource and that will create a solid following for all of your future projects.

If your business IS you (such as an actor or author) share more about yourself than they would learn from another venue (such as a magazine or amazon.com) and open yourself up so that people can invest more in following you. (Aka, I really like this person!) As you do this, it’s a razor’s edge. Be cautious with your security and how much you share. Keep the information ‘out there’ to your professional appearances and don’t ever share more than what makes you feel comfortable. It’s a razor’s edge to keep your personal life personal while putting yourself out there publicly.

Successful newsletters and email blasts are invaluable additions to your overall marketing plan. Use them wisely.

How to Create a Successful Newsletter

Published March 25th, 2009 in Marketing, Our Blog | Comments Off on How to Create a Successful Newsletter

Recently I was approached by CWAHM (www.cwham.com) to put together an article on effective newsletters. Newsletters are a key component of many marketing campaigns and though in recent years they’ve evolved from paper format to electronic, the basic tenets remain the same. With an effective newsletter you can increase your client list and establish yourself as a ‘go-to’ expert that people can trust.


Your Mailing List:

If you don’t yet have a database or mailing list or you’re just trying to grow the one you have, here are a few ideas to consider.

Always have a link on your website. When people come to your website they are seeking information. A newsletter sign up is a perfect way for them to continue to receive information. Have a clear visible sign up and make sure people know that a newsletter is available.

Also, don’t be afraid to use social media to increase your database. Places like Facebook, Twitter and yes, Myspace, are viable means of reaching out to potential clients.

Is your newsletter visually balanced?
Once you’ve increased your mailing list and are ready to put together your newsletter, check your layout. On first glance is your layout evenly balanced with text and graphics? This is a fine line to walk these days. People are busy and they don’t want to get bogged down in too much text and information but at the same time, they’ll quickly toss ‘fluff’. Make sure that the graphics highlight your content and don’t pull attention away from your message but also that you don’t overburden your reader with too much text. Make sure you have solid content balanced with eye pleasing graphics.

Share your expertise!
When you write your articles, think of ways that you can make yourself and your newsletter a more valuable resource to your readers. Include content that they can apply to their business, workday or home life immediately. The more you’re able to accomplish this, the more you’ll be able to position yourself in their lives as their ‘go-to’ expert. Your readers will come to rely on you and trust your advice and opinions. This is invaluable when it comes to marketing your products or services!

Timing is key!
Once you’ve built that database and have a solid actionable newsletter, timing is critical to ensuring that your newsletter doesn’t get tossed in the virtual trash can! Have you ever heard the joke that you should never buy a car that was built on a Monday or a Friday? This is true of newsletters as well. Timing is critical when sending out your newsletter. On Monday mornings, what is the first thing that most people do when arriving at the office? Most likely, they’ll turn on their computer and begin to sort through their email. Those of us who do this also know that on Monday mornings, you have an entire weekend’s spam emails to delete. In an effort to ‘clean out’ their inboxes, most people will hit delete much more quickly while filtering through their spam emails than if they were to receive your email during the day. Friday, there’s a whole different aspect to consider. More often than not on Fridays people are more likely to take the afternoon off or be rushing through their projects so they can clear their desks for the weekend.

The easiest way to be sure that you’re hitting at an appropriate time is to make sure you’re sending on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and time it to arrive during business hours in all the time zones that are relevant to your database. In the same way that people are more likely to hit delete on Mondays, they’ll also be more likely to delete first thing in the morning if it’s arrived during the overnight hours.

Happy Newslettering!