Speaking at seminars on Small Business Month September, many people have asked how they can save time and increase sales?
The short answer is your e-newsletter.
This is the third business I’ve used a newsletter for and it’s still the most effective sales generator we have, despite technology advancing as quickly as it is. And here’s the secret. A well written newsletter is a proven relationship builder, which also gives you the opportunity to be constantly in touch with your leads and clients, while adding value along the way.
That is, if you use it well.
Start by giving people valuable information about how to get the most out of your product or service. Or, if you feel you’re giving too much away with this, give your readers reasons why they need what you have to offer. But don’t make it all about you. Talk about others, promote complementary businesses, or give simple case studies of clients. For instance, let’s say you’re a florist and you specialise in weddings, write an article about a trusted wedding photographer or cake designer. Your readers will thank you for giving them valuable services and the photographer or designer will thank you for your sending work their way.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time on your newsletter, but it does need to be consistent. I caught up with a colleague recently on a Monday night at a networking function and she said, ‘got your newsletter today. Right on cue. Every second Monday.’ As it happens we’ve been through a growth spurt in the business recently and as a result I’ve missed a couple of those timelines. They've still gone out every fortnight, however I see the Monday timeline as so important I’ve decided to outsource the distribution. I’ll still write the content and put together the offers, however I won’t spend the time getting them online. But the point is, that’s how important I see the newsletter as being that I’m willing to invest money in its distribution. You don’t have to though, unless you want to of course.
Here are some final points on getting your newsletter out there:
- Make a schedule and stick to it. Once a month is fine, but keep the newsletter regular.
- Make it fun, interesting and NOT all about you
- Add value for your readers and invite feedback and comments
- Add images (try istock photos or add your own photos)
- Keep it short. But not so short there’s no valuable information in there
- Always ask yourself ‘what’s in this for them?’ and ‘why would they want to read this?’
- Create compelling headlines
- Use a free email service such as www.mailchimp.com with customisable templates to distribute the newsletter
- Don’t spend too much time on the newsletter, otherwise it will become too much of a chore
- If you can’t find time to write or distribute, consider outsourcing or find a closet writer in your business to do the writing and/or design for you
- Keep it on brand with your colours, look and feel
- Consider giving a free eBook or discount voucher for people who sign up
- Always ask people to opt in and never sign them up without them giving your permission. How many have you unsubscribed from for that very reason?
And last, but by no means least, you can sell in your newsletter. Just remember to sell with respect. That is, earn the right to sell by giving tips and resources people want to earn their trust and loyalty.