Sep 21 | 5 minutes read

Relevance - the only way to get loyal subscribers and customers

The perfect newsletter – what does it look like?

Actually, it doesn’t exist. If you try to create a newsletter that suits everyone, it will be so bland that most people won’t care much for it. You need some edge to it, something specific, something that clearly describes your offer. Something your customers and potential customers really like.

Half-hearted subscribers will be half-hearted customers. You stand a better chance at succeeding when you have the courage to be different. When you speak with a unique voice. When you don’t look just like your competitors.

Even with a perfect mix of content, your readers will react differently. And, naturally, it is better to have active, engaged, interested and loyal readers than readers who just don’t care.

But they don’t necessarily have to like everything you do. They just have to like it often  enough to keep reading your newsletters.

Email marketing works both short term and long term – both to inform about current events and to build a brand over time. And while it may be easy to make someone interested once, what can you do to make them open your next newsletter as well?

What do you want your readers to do?

Start by asking yourself what you want your readers to do.

Buy something?

Visit your web site?

Download something?

Share your content with others?

The answers will help you determine which target groups to aim for. Who would want to do what you want them to do?

What should you send?

Once you know what you want your readers to do, it is easier to decide what your newsletters should contain.

If you want to increase sales quickly, you may want to send offers on special deals.

If you want to position your company as knowledgable, write insightful articles on the latest trends in your industry.

If you want to strengthen customer relations, include tips on how to use your products or show surveys that point out how good they are.

Remember: it’s all about value. The more you want from your readers, the more you have to be prepared to give. So, you need to understand the needs and priorities of your subscribers.

One thing that worries many new email marketers is creating content that their readers will like. What should I write about? Do I really have something interesting to say?

First of all: yes, you do. Those who subscribe to your newsletter do so because they think you will give them something that they value. By subscribing, they show you that they think   that you and your business are interesting.

Collect material for your newsletter continuously, and put it in a folder where you can easily find it. Think of it as an ongoing task, not something that should be put away until the very last minute. Make sure to get tips and ideas from others in your organisation. What kind of questions are recurring at customer service? Consider answering some of them in a newsletter.

Be inspired by others. Subscribe to other newsletters in your field, visit blogs, forums, exhibitions and networking events to see what your readers are talking about.

Recycle content that has already been published in another channel, perhaps a blog, web site or social media.

Be generous with your knowledge and share as much as possible. Most people like to get tips and advice. Try to use a friendly tone and a personal touch in your newsletters, since people like to do business with other people. Find the voice that is right for your company.

Think long term. Don’t just plan ahead for the next newsletter, think far ahead. What will you write about in the tenth newsletter...and in the twentieth? A production plan will facilitate your work flow.

Don’t send something just because you feel that you have to. Every newsletter has to have a purpose and content that offer something meaningful for the subscriber.

You can find inspiration from new and emerging communication channels. Social media are usually a continuous flow of information rather than periodic sendings. The feeling of being in the present is strong in social media, but it is possible to create the same feeling with email, especially if you use it together with social media.

Create an interest with the newsletter, close the loop at the website

Your objective with a newsletter is to reach people with information and offers, but you don’t want your readers to read your letter and say ”that’s interesting”. You want them to read your letter and do something. You want them to click on a link and visit your web site.

Imagine that you draw a circle in your newsletter – a loop that you won’t close until the reader clicks on a link. Use the newsletter to create an interest, but don’t answer all the questions until the recipient actually does something.

There are numerous ways for you to activate your readers. Here are a few examples:

  • Write good preambles and interesting link texts
  • Encourage sharing in social media
  • Use poll questions
  • Use specific calls-to-action
  • Ask questions and present the findings in another newsletter
  • Use dynamic text or images to personalise your newsletters. The most common way to do this is probably by inserting the recipient’s name in the text, but it is also possible to make the sender more personal by using your employees – perhaps sales representatives. This way, the newsletter is not sent from an anonymous company but from someone you know and trust.
  • A series of articles is a good way to keep readers interested.

In real life, few people sit and wait for newsletters – even we must admit that. But still, there are many newsletters that always get opened. Why? Probably because we know that there is something there that excites us, interests us or is useful for us.

If you make an interesting letter that create expectations, there is a great chance that your recipients will open the next letter too.