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Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with customers – and today’s online tools make them easier than ever to inexpensively create and distribute. Too often, though, both mailed and emailed newsletters wind up in their respective trash bins.
Why? The answer is simple: The newsletter provided no value to you as a reader. While the author likely started with the best of intentions, he or she failed to engage you, failed to provide information you can use – in short, failed to write with the reader in mind.
Before you dive into creating your newsletter, consider these steps:
For example, say you sell plumbing supplies to homeowners. Your customers will be interested in learning about:
Once you understand your audience it is a lot easier to develop content. Each newsletter should provide a variety of information. While every article may not be of interest to every reader, at least one article should be interesting to all your readers. Think about the retail plumbing supply example. Your newsletter could include articles in these categories each month:
Notice there is no mention of specific products or services for sale in the above categories. The key is to offer value first; then you can offer products for sale. Keep the sales pitch gentle; maintain an 80/20 split – or better yet, 90/10 – between value and advertising. Your readers won't mind small amounts of advertising mixed in with information of real value; but you must focus on value first, advertising second. Otherwise you will lose them.
To make the content creation process easier, don't wait until the day before you will publish your newsletter to start thinking about topics. Keep a notepad handy; whenever a customer asks a good question, consider using that as the basis for an article. Watch for news about your industry. If you solve a thorny problem for a customer, consider how others could benefit from that information.