Do Newsletters Really Work? Are they still relevant in a point in time when social networking and blogging are all the rage? How can you leverage newsletters for more business and better customer engagement?

Fall News Newsletter GraphicYou probably write a blog every few days, at least twice a month I hope. You’d like to convert more of your readers to become customers. Your goal is to develop a stronger relationship with your prospects and customers. Guess what? Everyone with any ambition in your industry operates in the exact same way. How can you accomplish all of these things and more? Newsletters work well to do all of these things.

The key to newsletter success: making yours unique and informative.

There are a lot of places to find information about an industry at large, buyer’s journeys, blog writing, customer loyalty and you name what else. It doesn’t end. Your customers, new and existing, even former customers would likely be interested in what you have to say, what’s happening, helpful tips and great content that is timely, engaging and reflect value. But how should you share this with them?

A properly designed newsletter is a great way to blend knowledge, events, and shared information. It can include local community information and be a spotlight for new products or services. Success with newsletters is highly measurable if you design and distribute them digitally. And it can really help to “break the tie” with prospects considering your company versus your competition. But, if you are not producing a newsletter that can be counted on showing up in their inboxes consistently, you are actually doing a disservice to your audiences. Publish regularly and consistently, define success and measure the results, and always be on the prowl for relevant information; in the end you will garner great results.

Do Newsletters Really Work? Here are what we believe are the top 5 reasons why newsletters do, in fact, work.

No.1: Newsletters are cost-effective marketing tools

Communicating with your prospects and customers via electronic newsletters can cost literally pennies. Of course you may need to find a writer to assist you but many companies rely on employees for their content (which can be a great morale builder when done properly). Producing printed newsletters costs much more to produce: all that ink and paper, plus postage, handling and more. While direct mail is great for targeted prospecting, it is expensive. With a digital approach there are other benefits over print, such as the ability to add hyperlinks so readers can share your content on social media, share with their friends via email, share, share, share. A newsletter campaign can extend the reach of your brand exponentially when done well. A word of advice however; use newsletters as a relationship tool and not solely as a sales vehicle.

Did we forget to mention that digital newsletters can be shared?

No.2: Positions you as a thought leader

From whom do you purchase goods and services? More than likely you purchase from those whom you trust, are reliable, and appreciative. By sending a newsletter every month, and doing so consistently on the same day, creates respect and admiration because of your caring about them. You don’t even have to write everything either. Sharing content from the “experts” in your industry as excerpts, quotations and clips sprinkled in your work lets your customer know you are knowledgeable of your market niche, respect your peers, and provide valuable information they may not have been aware.

The formal term for this is known as curated content. Great marketing agencies do this each and every day and you should be too.

No.3: Newsletters create multiple use content

Clever marketers know that one form of content can be re-formatted and used in several others. For instance, you may write about a particular product or service as an article. With a little creativity, that article can be converted into a podcast, a slide deck, and even a video. How about a series of articles compiled into a downloadable e-book, white paper, or case study?

No.4: Newsletters create value and improve relationships

People love to be thought of. They also love to know that whom they do business with appreciates their contributions to the company’s success. Creating personalized, well-conceived and informative content develops positive relationships as long as it improves their lives in some form or fashion. By including a section covering their specific needs, wants or opinions, you’ll create a dialogue with your customers and prospects by interaction. You can also integrate surveys and polls, which are great engagement builders (and fun to share). However, if you only send them opportunities to buy something from you, your relationship and customer loyalty will eventually go right out the proverbial window.

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No.5: You’ll be able to measure results

Electronic newsletters can easily be measured by way of open rates, click-through rates, link usage (perhaps you might include a free offer with no strings attached, and let them click through to a landing page that can also be counted). Use an auto-responder and create a way to repetitively market while you are on the beach or at the gym; Constant Contact® has a terrific platform that includes auto-responders in addition to other marketing tools (full disclosure: Zen Marketing is a Constant Contact® Master Certified Solution Provider and love coaching clients on the best use of the platform).

Certainly, you are in business to make money; aren’t all business owners? Focusing only on gaining new customers without showing appreciation, respect, or just paying attention to your existing (or even former) customers isn’t enough for long-term success and sustainability. There’s a cost of business that all too often receives less focus and attention than others. By creating a newsletter and sending it regularly will build respect, loyalty and generate leads if handled correctly.

Planning is a huge part of producing a consistent and timely newsletter, so your customers can come to expect hearing from you. Your value will soar over the long run if performed properly.

By linking your content to social media, re-formatting it into multiple formats for cross-channel marketing purposes, and even printing it for press kits and prospecting folders will take time to orchestrate, but you’ll discover that today’s customers expect nothing less.

Gone are the days when you could just hang a shingle and sit back to see customers coming in. Today it takes a lot of creativity, planning, developing processes, and supplying information that makes people’s lives better in some way.

The best way to get started is to, well, actually start. Use some of your previously produced content along with a survey to gain an understanding of what people would like to see, and you’re on your way to a great marketing piece called Your Newsletter.

Need help organizing your newsletter planning? Need some outside perspective on content creation? Want a newsletter design that kills? Contact Zen Marketing and let’s start a conversation about how you can offer a great newsletter for your business.