Today's guest post is from Kayleigh Alexandra - a content writer for Micro Startups.
While sending out newsletters may be a no-brainer for big businesses, committing to a newsletter when you’re a small, busy company can feel far more daunting.
If your business is thinking about launching a newsletter, timing is everything. There’re no debate to be had around the effectiveness of email newsletters – people love emails, and hate to leave them unread. In fact, 59% of marketers think email is their most effective channel.
It’s worth noting that a newsletter is not the same as a general marketing email. Newsletters are more personal, and should be useful to the customer. A good newsletter provides the recipient with information they’re interested in – this is just one of the reasons newsletters tend to be well-suited to small businesses; they help maintain loyalty from your customers and keep them in the loop.
So, when is the right time to tap into this customer relationship tool? Here are a few things every small business should consider before launching their newsletter.
Recommended reading: Why Small Businesses Should Seriously Consider An Email Automation Tool
Can you commit to your newsletter?
Let’s start with the basics. Before you can even begin to seriously consider setting up a regular company newsletter, you must be certain you have the resources to commit to your decision. Any marketer will tell you that no newsletter is better than a bad newsletter.
Think of a newsletter as a special, helpful news update you send to your valued customers to build a relationship – the way you handle this relationship will directly affect both its quality and longevity. A report from the Rockerfeller Corporation found that 69% of customers leave a company because they feel the business is indifferent to them.
With that in mind, do you have the team power to build a regular newsletter – whether that is weekly, fortnightly, or monthly? For small businesses, setting up a newsletter is a serious commitment. If you send out your first welcome newsletter declaring to your customers that they can expect a newsletter every week, but then don’t follow through, it sends out a bad message about your brand and company (pun fully intended).
Providing you’re comfortable, have the manpower and the resources (read: MailChimp or the like) then now may well be the time to think about kick-starting your business’s newsletter!
Customers on board
So, you have the resources to set up a newsletter, but do you have the customers to send the newsletter to? This shouldn’t be too complicated, and even if it’s a small mailing list to start with, it’s important there are engaged customers at the receiving end of your newsletter. The reception of your newsletter and CTR will help you grow and improve your newsletter strategy as time goes on.
Hubspot found that 78% of consumers unsubscribed from emails because they were receiving too many – avoid spamming your customers with regular updates, it is one of the worst things you can do when trying to first establish a newsletter (…and a mailing list to go with it).
Presuming you have the customer base to start sending your newsletter to, the next thing to consider is the introduction of your very first newsletter. Sale Cycle found that 59% of respondents admitted emails influenced their purchase decisions, so getting off on a good foot is key. This will be your customers’ first taste of regular, news-based contact from your business; it’s important what you send out is engaging enough to make them want to open newsletter #2.
Consider your content
Now you know that you’ve thought about the mailing list for your newsletter, and the resources you need to make it happen, the next thing to consider is your company’s scope for timely, engaging content.
You’ve probably heard “content is king” a million times, but I’m afraid it really is true. Even in newsletters. This is where we need to elaborate on an earlier point; a newsletter is not, I REPEAT, not a marketing email. Think about the best newsletters you receive – why do you open them? What makes you enjoy reading them?
Newsletters should serve an educational function for your customer. A good example of a newsletter which does this well is the weekly digest from InVision. Their newsletter includes an excellent balance: GIFS and CTAs, blogs and helpful videos. Yes, they’re subtly plugging their own business and its services, but it primarily functions as an update which benefits their customers first and foremost.
Come up with a newsletter strategy which shows you understand who your customers are and what they’re interested in hearing. Consider your CTAs and the best way to feature them within your newsletter content (but don’t go overboard, Whirlpool found that a reduced number of CTA buttons actually lead to a 42% increase in clicks!). Conquering both these things will set your small business’s newsletter on the path to newsletter greatness.
Shape your customer sales funnel
If you’re finding that your business has entered a bit of a lull – i.e. things are ticking over, but that steady incline we all like to see seems to be merely petering along – then this could be another sign that it’s time to launch a newsletter.
Not only do newsletters make your customers happy and increase their engagement levels, they help your customers make informed purchase decisions – which is good for both business and consumer. Your customer gets to know your company better, and – whether intentionally or not – begins to understand your service and products better, too.
Make sure that any re-targeting or email marketing personalisation is in-tune with your email newsletter so that you can build trust, not cause annoyance.
Re-targeting cart abandons or lost sales is super easy if you have used one of the major store builders: Care Cart is just one of the great apps you can use. It’s free to add to your business if you have built your store with Shopify and allows you to use cart popups and browser notifications to increase your conversion rates. Re-targeting is also relatively easy to manage manually by looking at your sales and website data
A regular newsletter keeps you in the forefront of your customers' minds, it builds trust by offering nuggets of helpful information for (seemingly) nothing in return. If forging this type of relationship with your customers sounds like an ideal scenario for your small business, then you can rest assured that now is the right time to launch your business newsletter.
Ensuring your small business has the resources, mailing list, and correct content strategy to kick-start a newsletter means you can make a success of your regular email updates.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups— a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest micro biz news, inspirational entrepreneurial stories, and tips on tools and tactics to scale up your business more quickly. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.