Is it e-ssential to have an e-newsletter?
I know that these days it’s all about tweeting, Liking, sharing and blogging, but I think there’s still plenty of room for the humble email newsletter, otherwise known as an e-newsletter.
Many organisations – from restaurants and supermarkets to banks and travel companies – have been issuing regular e-newsletters for years. Yet, surprisingly, some companies have never considered e-newsletters as a way of communicating with their customers.
The benefits of sending a company e-newsletter can be immeasurable. Here are a few.
- E-newsletters are cheap. This is probably the most important point for most companies. Depending on how good you are at writing, you may wish to write it yourself (which will cost you nothing!) or you may choose to use a freelance writer to put it together for you. But if you provide the majority of the content you shouldn’t have to spend too much. And sending it out doesn’t cost much either – there are no printing or postage costs! There are certain benefits to bringing in the professionals that are probably worth a mention. Firstly, professional writers and email marketing companies can save you time. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, they can make your e-newsletter LOOK professional and deliver great results. If you have the time, however, there is no harm in giving it a go yourself.
- You have an instant way of introducing new products and services to existing clients. Perfect if you’ve just launched a new line or a different range. You could even run a competition, give samples away or invite readers to send their reviews.
- E-newsletters get your name out there. Even a short mention of your company’s name or a glimpse of your company’s logo will put your brand into customers’ minds. The more they see your name, the more likely they are to think of your company when they are looking for the product or service you offer.
- You can entice customers with special offers and discounts. Encourage new sales and return customers by offering good discounts, incentives or money-saving vouchers. You might choose to include a page for customers to print off and bring along with them next time they shop – or, alternatively, you can issue a code to be used for online discounts.
- You build relationships. Ask your customers to provide feedback on what they would like to see in future e-newsletters and make sure you respond to their requests. This is a great way of putting yourself over as an approachable brand and should result in customers looking forward to receiving the next issue. Meeting the requirements of your customers is always a guaranteed way of keeping them happy!
- You build your database. Give your customers the option of subscribing to your e-newsletter through a form on your website or by filling in a form in-store. Also include an option for readers to suggest friends who might be interested in receiving your e-newsletter, or an option for them to forward it on. Email marketing companies are able to offer many services including tracking such emails.
- You can see what interests your customers. Email marketing companies are able to set systems up which enable you to track which parts of your e-newsletter have been read; which links have been opened etc. This can be invaluable information as it helps you to discover what your customers are interested in.
So, now you know some of the key benefits, what are you waiting for? If you’re not sure what to include in a company e-newsletter, here are some ideas:
- Company news. Customers like to know what is going on within the companies they buy from. Keep them informed about new products, new services and significant management changes.
- Offers. Customers love to save money! Make sure your customers feel valued by offering incentives and discounts.
- Industry news. Include links to news stories relevant to your industry. Even better, bring your company into the news! Are the newspapers full of stories about businesses making redundancies? Include a story about how yours is bucking the trend. Is the media dominated by stories about environmental issues? Include an article in your e-newsletter explaining how your company approaches recycling. You get the idea!
- Competitions. Readers of e-newsletters love competitions so it might be worth running a regular competition that benefits your business. If you run a retail outlet the prize could be a voucher to spend in store. If you have a restaurant the prize might be a meal for two. Either way, the prize results in customers coming through your doors!
- Surveys. These can be a good way of finding out what your customers want. Ask readers what they like about your company and whether they think anything could be improved.
If you don’t have one already I hope you’re tempted to look into the idea of setting up a company e-newsletter. Remember to use it to your advantage, yet keep it interesting and informative for your customers. A well-written, professional looking e-newsletter can be a real positive marketing strategy for most organisations.
Here are a final few top tips for ensuring you experience e-newsletter success.
- Keep it interesting
- Make sure it is well written with NO spelling mistakes or inaccuracies – this would do nothing for your company’s image!
- Make it easy to navigate
- Make it easy to share
- Don’t make it too long – short and sweet is the key
- Send it at a time that is convenient for customers (there has been a lot of research into this, which can be easily found via an internet search. In general, avoid Mondays and Fridays!)
- Send at the right frequency. Send too many and you’re likely to annoy people – and are also likely to struggle to find the time to put together the content for each issue. Send too few and you won’t built that customer trust. Monthly is probably a good option for most organisations.
- Let people opt out. Unfortunately, even after all your hard work, some customers will simply not wish to receive your e-newsletters. Don’t make it difficult for them to opt out or you’re likely to put them off your brand completely. Include a clear opt-out link which allows users to unsubscribe with just one click.
Good luck! I hope to see your e-newsletter in my inbox sometime soon!