The lost art of (news)letter writing

For those of you who are running your business from under a rock with no internet connection, you may not have heard this oft-said, very true piece of information.

Your database is The. Most. Valuable. marketing asset you have.

And even if you have heard it – you may not be sure what it means and what the implications for your business are.

For digitally savvy businesses, the race for social media validation sees a lot of time, energy and money being invested in getting ‘likes’ ‘followers’ and ‘connections’ on various social media channels – and no attention to building a database of subscribers with whom you can build a direct and personable relationship with.

But how is a database different to your online followers and how on earth can it help your marketing?

Your database is a list of names and email addresses given to you by people who are interested in your product or service. By handing over their details they are have effectively said, ‘yes please, send me some more information’.

How to use an email newsletter to build relationships with your database.

Newsletter content
A newsletter is more than another channel to broadcast your blog – you can use your newsletter to let your readers know what else you are up to.  New events, special offers, product launches, these can all be included in your newsletter.

A well structured newsletter consists of approximately:

  • 80% original content – use an informative blog post as the centre-piece of the newsletter
  • 15% sales content – use sidebars, boxes and images to alert your readers to any offers or events you may have on – link these to a landing page
  • 5% curated content – share something fun, or educational with your readers – make sure it is relevant!

Like any content that you distribute online, make it very easy for your readers to access your website from the newsletter, include a CTA and social sharing buttons.

Newsletter tone/style
Most newsletter programs allow you to personalise your content by using their first name – Hello Sarah, for example. Newsletters giv you more scope to be familiar and chatty, so write something about what is included in the newsletter and why:

Hello Sarah,
I was collecting the post last week and amongst the bills and discount vouchers, there was a newsletter from a boating company, which had me thinking about newsletters and how many people aren’t using their database to full advantage, so we wrote a blog about it! Hope you find it useful.

Newsletter frequency
Because your reader can hit the ‘un-subscribe’ link at any time, you need to find the right balance of how often you send your newsletter. The general rule of thumb is that the less frequently you send it, the more information you can put into it.

Newsletter gold
Using a program such as Mail Chimp will help you track your email newsletter activity so you know who is reading them, who is clicking the links and who has unsubscribed from your list. Use this information as part of your sales funnel, to improve your content and to understand what is resonating with your readers and what needs to be reviewed.

People have chosen to be added to your email database because they are interested in what you do – don’t ignore them – by not utilising your database, you are missing valuable business opportunities.

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