The biggest excuse I hear from business owners about why they’re not sending regular e-newsletters is ‘I don’t know what to write about!’
E-newsletters seem to give us writer’s block and make us feel like we have nothing to say, but actually, you have LOADS to say. There are lots of things your customers and potential customers would love to hear about from you, you just need to tap into your inner writer!
To give you a helping hand I’ve put together 17 ideas for things that you could include in your email newsletters.
Please don’t include them all in one newsletter, otherwise it’ll be the world’s longest newsletter and you’ll run out of steam after one attempt!
Choose maybe 2 or 3 from the list, see how you get on, see whether it works for you, see whether it’s sustainable. It’s not a ‘fixed in stone’ thing. You can try it for a few weeks or months, see whether it works for you and then just change it, it’s your e-newsletter.
The main thing is that it talks to your Super Customer and that you enjoy writing it – this might seem like a mile away from where you are right now but I promise, with the right ideas there will be no stopping you.
Why Are Email Newsletters So Important?
E-newsletters are really important because they are within your control, unlike social media. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, they are all fickle – we have no idea what will change and when and if we rely totally social media, and it changes – we’re scuppered. When you build a subscriber list and use email marketing, YOU control who sees what and when. You need to use your regular e-newsletter to stay top of mind with your readers. Build a relationship with them by sharing GREAT content they will love and find useful. Share your expertise. Go out of your way to be helpful. AND showcase your amazing products and services.
With all that in mind here are 17 things that you could include in your regular email newsletters:
1. Personal Introduction
I always recommend having a personal introduction on your newsletters, because, remember we’re relationship building. Write one paragraph about what you’ve been doing since the last newsletter or any big things that have happened in your life, or anything that’s happened in the industry, just something that makes it more personal and less sterile.
2. Nuggets Or Quick Tips
Use your email newsletters to share helpful tips and advice you know your readers will love. You can either write this in the newsletter or record a quick video, pop it on YouTube and link to it from your newsletter with a note to say what it’s about and why people should watch it.
3. Helpful Resources
Why not share a list of the resources you love because there’s a good chance your readers will love them too. These could include any websites that you use, books that you have read, any software that you use. Or instead of the full list, why not share a helpful resource in each newsletter with a link through to it. The good thing about that is that you’re driving traffic to the other person so down the line it may well be that you can set up some reciprocal thing where they do the same for you.
4. Product Reviews
Either reviews of your products from other people or you reviewing other people’s products. Software, tools, whatever’s relevant to your business. By sharing your findings and your expert opinion, you are saving your readers lots of leg work and they will see you as someone to trust, someone whose opinion matters.
5. ‘How To’ Videos
In my business quite often people ask how they might use e-marketing software or record videos, or a whole host of other things. Now I could write a big blog with screenshots OR I might do a 30 second video that I record really quickly pop it onto Facebook, or pop it onto my website and then link through from my newsletter. I know which I prefer! Videos are really popular (and do well on social media too, so you’ll get double the use from them) and it’s another chance for people to get to hear and see you, even if it’s just a screen grab type of video it’s not your face on screen they’ll still hear you and it’s positioning you as an expert.
6. Guest Content
Something most people don’t realise is that your newsletter content doesn’t always have to be you, writing. Think about other people who have got a topic that is of interest to your readers, to your Super Customers. This is another really good opportunity for joint ventures, because if you can get somebody to write guest content for your newsletter, then again it could be reciprocal. You could suggest it to them and say that you can do one for them. You can link through to their website and that’ll help drive traffic, and vice versa. Don’t worry that it will devalue your brand if it’s not all your own content – your readers will love the fact you’re introducing another expert to help them and it will actually BUILD your credibility rather than eroding it.
Interviews with clients, with authors of books that your Super Customers and readers would be interested in, interviews with suppliers – Who would make a great interview? It might not suit everybody but if it sounds like it might be interesting for you then go for it. It’s a great chance to make new connections that could develop into mutually beneficial relationships.
You can interview them on google hangouts, which is free, or Skype or GoToWebinar. One interview goes a very long way. You can use the interviews on social media and your website, too. AND the people you have interviewed will shout about it to their crowd, so you’ll get some new fans in the process. One interview can give you content for an e-newsletter, loads of Facebook posts, loads of tweets, a blog – just for starters!
8. Where We Can Find You
If yours is the sort of business that goes out to trade shows or fairs, or has stands around the place, or does speaking gigs then talk about where you can be found. This works well if it’s a monthly newsletter and you’re going to be in 2 or 3 different places that month, you may as well tell people where they can find you because they’ll probably come and find you if you’re in their neck of the woods.
9. Recent Blog Posts
I do this with every single newsletter. I do a weekly newsletter and every week I write a blog and I use the first paragraph or two of my blog as the main article in my e-newsletter. I’ll put a link through to my blog which is on my website, so I’m driving traffic through from people who maybe haven’t visited my website for a while (because they just see me on Facebook). I drive them back to my website where they will read other blogs and maybe look at what I’m selling at the moment.
10. Inspirational memes.
Memes are those little pictures that you see, especially on Facebook, but also on Instagram, where it’s a beautiful picture or a lovely background with a quote or a saying, or something helpful, a tip or something on there. I use them a lot. I use various little tools on my phone (such as Wordswag or Over) to create them if I’m out and about or sat on the train or in the car waiting for Chloe. I’ll snap a picture of something nearby if it’s a nice background and put some words onto it. I’ll attribute it to somebody if it’s a quote or I’ll just put my own tips on there. I often include these in my e-newsletter and they work well because they make readers stop and think “ah OK, I need to think about that!” Again if you’re putting it in your e-newsletter you can put it onto Twitter, onto Instagram, onto Pinterest, onto Facebook, onto your blog – loads of different uses!
11. Images That Illustrate Your Articles
When I write a blog I always create a lovely image to go with it because on my website, the image shows up in the list of blogs. When I use that blog article in my newsletter I include the image, too. Don’t worry about people not seeing the images on their phone – if they love the newsletter they will opt to download the images and I even put a little line at the top of each newsletter that says **this newsletter works best if you download images**.
12. A Book Review Or Discussion Point
If you read business books or crafting books, or anything related to your business or industry then do a little review of the books you read. Your readers, if you’re attracting the right people (think Super Customers) then they will love your reviews and the fact you’re recommending whether to read that book or not. It’s saving them time and legwork and remember, they value your opinion. You can film a 3 minute video review or just write a few paragraphs. You could even put a link into your newsletter to the book on Amazon and if you have an Amazon affiliate account you could earn a little money in the process, if people click through and buy it on your recommendation. A note: don’t promote books (or anything) just for the money. Always do it with integrity, in other words don’t say it’s brilliant if it’s not, just to get a few $$££ in affiliate fees!
13. Team Profiles
If you’ve got a team of staff or people who work with you, then do a team member profile every month. If they’ve done something amazing or they’ve made something amazing then showcase them. This is a really good way to get people to get to know your business and the people in it.
14. Industry news.
If you’re in an industry where regulations and laws frequently change, you could become the go to expert on keeping people up to date on what’s happening in their industry. This doesn’t work for everybody, it’s not something that I do a lot, although when Facebook changes thing sometimes I will let people know. Industry news could also include trade shows that are coming up, things that have happened, big success stories that you could emulate -look at it with fresh eyes and think about how you might use industry news in your newsletter.
15. Frequently Asked Questions
Are there questions you always get asked when someone is buying from you, or asking about what you do? They might be questions about how to use your product or service, about your refund policy, about warranties, about choosing the right option – think about emails you have received, questions you’ve had on your social media accounts or things people have asked you in person. It would be a great idea to have an FAQ page on your website to answer these questions for your customers and stop them having to ask you in the first place (put it on your list of things to do!) and then you could include one FAQ in each newsletter.
16. Case Studies – Before & Afters
Whether you’re an interior designer, beautician, hairdresser, dog groomer, gardener or coach, you spend your time taking people or things through a transformation.
Think about doing some case studies; describe the problem the person had (ideally include a photo of them), describe where they were before and then how you provided the solution. Finally, the finished product or article. The reason why case studies are very interesting is that they are proof that your solution works, rather than people just taking your word for it. They don’t need to be long or complicated, as long as you get across the message.
Written or video testimonials are a great thing to include in your e-newsletters. Potential buyers love to know that other people have endorsed you. It’s called social proof, that’s the difference between you saying you’re great and somebody else saying that you’re great. The perfect testimonial conveys, succinctly, what you did for your customer (tangible results like money made, time saved, weight lost or whatever are always better) and has their name and photo accompanying it.
Bonus Newsletter Tips
As a general rule you don’t want your newsletter to be all sales. It’s best to have 80% valuable and helpful content and 20% sales messages. A newsletter is there to build credibility, build relationships and keep you top of mind. If you keep doing this and make occasional offers, you’ll find people buy (if you’re attracting the right subscribers).
Don’t include all 17 of these ideas in one newsletter! Pick out 2 or 3 that you think will work, try them, test them, tweak them. If they don’t feel right or it’s not sustainable then try some others; it’s a work in progress and people don’t care that you’ve changed your format so long as you are giving them value. Once you find a format that works, keep using it but it doesn’t matter if it takes you a few months to tweak it and fiddle with it until it feels and looks right.
Just go for it! Get started. Keep building your list of subscribers. Start sending regular newsletters (once a month is perfect and KEEP sending them. It can take 3-6 months for your e-newsletters to gain traction and start showing results but once they DO start working, wowsers! If you spend a bit of time getting your e-newsletters right you’ll find they become one of your best marketing tools.
Claire Mitchell is a best-selling author of the Awesome Marketing Planner and founder of The Girls Mean Business, a mum and business owner. She has been featured in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Closer Magazine, Essentials, The Huffington Post and on the BBC.