You see the need to stay in touch with your clients, prospects and supporters. You likely have great intentions of doing so.
But for some reason, getting your newsletter out the door consistently just isn’t happening. You might be time crunched (but who isn’t), don’t have a clue what to write about (I’ve been there) or maybe just struggle to finish the projects you start.
The good news is, it’s not that difficult to put a newsletter together and it can actually be fun! Especially if you take the lazy way out!
Here’s how to do it:
1. Decide what (and how) to write
Let’s be honest. For as much as your audience wants to hear from you, your newsletter has a lot of competition in your reader’s inbox.
You need to rise above emails from reader’s family, announcements from their kid’s school, sale notices and a host of other communications.
To ensure that your email newsletter stands out and is a message your reader looks forward to, focus on delivering content that is useful to them. Consider:
- What can you share that would make their lives easier?
- How can you help them to solve their challenges?
- How can you brighten their day?
Next, think about how you should write.
You may be sending your newsletter to hundreds, even thousands of people. But each person reading your email should feel like you wrote JUST to them.
Keep your tone informal, light-hearted and friendly. The same as you would if you were having a face-to-face conversation.
Most importantly, include a clear, simple call to action. This can be a request for referrals, an event invitation, an offer for a complementary consultation or product for sale. The call to action can be whatever it needs to be to support your current business goals, so don’t forget to take advantage of the opportunity to turn your words into dollars.
2. Create a standard format and stick with it
The “lazy” way to create your newsletter is to spend time upfront creating a polished template, and then sticking with it. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel each time you send a new issue!
Aweber, Constant Contact, iContact and Infusionsoft all offer templates you can customize for your needs. Or you can have a template custom designed for you.
No matter what service you prefer, when you use a template that complements your brand:
- It’s easier for you, because all you have to do is plug in the new content.
- It’s better for your readers, because they don’t wonder who the message is from. They know it’s from you and they dig straight into the content.
- It helps cut down on unsubscribes, because your newsletter is recognizable, so your subscribers won’t mark it as spam.
Another “lazy” tip is to decide on standard content, and don’t deviate from it. Keep it to just a few main sections, such as:
- A brief note from you – this builds the know, like and trust factor
- A practical, useful article – give them content to help them create the results they want. Here are 5 shortcuts to create content when you’re short on time and hate to write.
- An offer for a product or service – this is how you monetize the newsletter. You could also include an invitation to an event in this section.
- Links to helpful resources – Include affiliate links if appropriate, as this is another way to monetize.
That could be it! Keep it simple. Be concise. And remember to focus on what your audience wants to hear from you, not what you want to say.
3. Commit to a schedule and stick with it.
It’s important to stick to a regular publishing schedule so your readers come to expect your newsletter and count on it.
Whether you commit to weekly, every two weeks or monthly (you should AT LEAST be sending monthly), commit to it so your messages are delivered regularly.
Once you’ve set your schedule, create a simple process for producing the newsletter.
If you publish on Wednesdays, for example, work backwards and create a checklist for when each piece of your newsletter needs to be ready so it will go out on time.
Don’t forget about your overall marketing plans, too. Make sure your newsletter serves as a vehicle for delivering information about new products, services and events you have coming up.
4. Get help!
There is no shame in asking for help. That’s what smart people do – they look for shortcuts and implement what they learn. We have worked with hundreds of small business owners, in 50+ industries to help them develop and deliver their content. Not only that, we’ve been publishing this very newsletter EVERY week since March 2010. We’ve never missed a single issue.
We can teach a simple system for consistently getting your newsletter out the door and staying in touch with your audience.
Start the lazy way, and build from there
Don’t beat yourself up about what you should have been doing in the past. Start from where you are now.
It’s never too late to start consistently publishing your newsletter. The fact that you are reading this article is a testament to the power of this tool.
Our internal revenue reports show year after year that our newsletter is one of the top three profit generating marketing strategies we use. It helps keep our business top of mind and has made Smart Simple Marketing a trusted resource for small business marketing coaching, training and support.
The sooner you get started with launching your newsletter, the sooner you’ll be enjoying your own success story!