Newsletter – “a written report, issued periodically, typically by a business, institution, or other organization, that presents information and news to people with a specific interest in the organization or subject”  (http://www.dictionary.com).

Hmm…well when you put it that way it sounds a little old-fashioned. Old-fashioned or not, the fact of the matter is that a properly written newsletter works with a little modern-day tweaking. Fortunately, gone are the days of actually printing, labeling and mailing hundreds of hard copy newsletters. I can remember vividly doing this for one of my businesses years ago before emailing was the preferred method. Oh how I dreaded that day of the month. I loved writing the content but the printing and preparing for mailing made it an audacious task. It’s so much simpler these days. From the receiving end, there’s no more keeping up with the hard copy and not having it with you when you need it.

Most of my reading is done when I’m waiting somewhere, i.e., the doctor’s office, airport, my daughter’s dance rehearsal…you get the idea. I’m like a busy body (definitely not saying this is healthy, but it’s how I’m wired), I need to feel like I’m being productive all of the time, so being able to read the latest business publication when I have a moment is priceless to me and gains lots of bonus points for that brand. Which brings me to the next point, please, please make sure the content is coded and optimized for mobile viewing across multiple screens and devices, if this doesn’t happen you can forget it. Way back in 2013 (eons ago in the technology world), Brafton reported that 75% of customers deleted content if it didn’t display properly on mobile devices (www.brafton.com). I would be willing to bet that number is even higher now.

 So you’ve decided a newsletter is a good idea….now what? Not a creative writer? I bet you know your business though. You know a lot about whatever it is you’re selling or whatever service you’re offering. You know your business better than anyone.

 First off, you need to gather your audience. By this I mean, gather email addresses. How can you do this? There are a number of ways. Put the word out via social media that you are developing a newsletter and want to collect email addresses. The biggest battle you are going to have to fight is what most of us (you included) are already thinking, “The last thing I need is another email to junk up my inbox.” Your content needs to be something that is worth their time and effort. You can prove this to them by posting a mini newsletter via your social media platforms to give them a taste of what they might miss. You get one chance, so it needs to be good. Depending on your business, give them tips to make their life easier. For example, if you’re a florist, offer your clients ways to save money decorating for the holidays.  Whatever your specialty is, you need to become the “go-to” for information. You will stick out in a client’s mind when they do need to make a purchase.

 You can also give your clients the option of subscribing via your website like http://www.kevinhickeylaw.com

 Another way to gather email addresses is to offer a giveaway. When someone gives you their email address, they are entered in a drawing for something like an Apple TV or restaurant gift card.

 Now that you’ve got that all done, it’s time to work on the content.

 As I mentioned make your newsletter really stand out from the hundred your customer already receives from other companies. Make it something they look forward to receiving. This goes back to what you can do for your customers and how you can help them. This is especially important since Pinterest is at everyone’s fingertips.

 Content is most engaging when it feels like it comes from a knowledgeable and passionate source. Work from your experiences, even if you have multiple competitors your experiences are unique because you are unique. Trust your knowledge and expertise.

 Are you selling a product or service that seems a bit..ummm…mundane? That’s ok because odds are your customer needs what you are selling. Make your newsletter all things that have to do with that particular industry. Say you are selling hammers.  Seems a little unglamorous, right? The newsletter gives you the opportunity to make it glamorous. Give your customers information about all things hammer-related. Think a little outside the box for this. For example, what can one do with a hammer? Well, a hammer can be used to hang an arrangement of family photos or wall grouping like this one, a hammer can be used to build a doghouse, and it is used to build a piece of furniture. See? The possibilities are endless for someone selling hammers! This shows customers you truly do care about them and you’re not just here to inundate them with ads about why your hammer is better than the competitors. You’re creating brand loyalty.

 Think of the newsletter as an extension of your social media platforms. The newsletter allows you to go into greater detail and fully engage your clients. It is also an opportunity to introduce the subscriber to other items related to your business like sales and event invitations. Subscriber-specific discounts and deals are perfect within a newsletter. This also gives you a way to track what your customer is truly interested in, because if you have lots of customers using a discount but none using another one, you know where to focus your attention.

 I know, I know when you’re a small business, you’re in charge of everything that goes on within your business and writing a newsletter on a regular basis can get put on the backburner. First of all, come up with a frequency schedule, like once a month.  This is way more doable than once a week. I also suggest, you think about paying your marketing company to help you with your newsletter. The small fee you pay will repay you tenfold. Yes, you can be as much of a part of the creative process as you want like giving them your content ideas, etc., but letting someone else be responsible for the execution is worth a million dollars!

 Your marketing company brings me to the next item. How do you know your hard work is paying off? Your marketing professional can help you make sense of all those analytics numbers. You will learn valuable information like how many subscribers are actually opening the newsletter, how many times a customer clicks a link within the newsletter. The knowledge is endless and ever changing! That’s why a professional can help you weed out what’s important and where you need to focus your money and attention.

CyberSpyder Marketing Services can help you every step of the way to integrate newsletters into your marketing strategy. Give them a call today at 479.782.0005 or visit their website at http://www.CyberSpyder.net.

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