How to Best Leverage Your Newsletter to Generate Marketing Results

Read My NewsletterAt this point, it feels like newsletters have been around forever. I can barely remember a time where I was chatting with clients about creating a branded magazine or traditional newsletter. Yes I know they still exist, but most truly aren’t in need of actually being printed.

Newsletters, like most marketing, go in and out of popularity and are more successful for some businesses and industries than others. Having said that, they have been making a comeback…again. This seems to be a result of the upcoming election and continued advancement of technology—first, it was just text newsletters, then it was fancy layouts, then there was the addition of images. But images added their own level of complexity because spam filters would block them and people would only see blank boxes unless that email address had been added as a “safe sender”.

In addition to the layout, creating content was and still is the biggest challenge for businesses and the time to do it. I am going to share three different styles of newsletters to help you think through this.

Featured Article Style

This style requires consistency and being a good writer. It’s about being able to connect with your target market or avatar through the written word. It’s a gift to be able to do this and even if you can, it doesn’t mean that your audience will have time to read it. It’s also an easy way to share your latest blog post—in fact, I often call these Blog Newsletters because that is exactly what they do—they share your latest blog post with your list.

This type of newsletter is usually between 200-2,000 words. When you know your audience, you’ll know how long it should or should not be. It tends to work best for brands with specific points to convey, those taking a specific stand on something, or brands who are willing to dedicate the time and resources to this.

How to drive results for the Featured Article Newsletter:

  •  What is the specific topic of THIS particular newsletter? And, why does it matter to my readers? Be clear and state this right upfront and in the beginning.
  •  If you are sharing your latest blog post, don’t include the whole article in the newsletter. Remember you want results. Usually, a result that you want is to drive your audience to your website. So include between 200-500 words and then add a link that says “Read More”. This link should be in the middle of an important sentence that they will want to know how it ends.

Be the Resource Style

This style is about building you as the master resource for all things related to your expertise. You do not need to be a good writer for this style, but you do need to have fabulous resources that they are not already subscribed to because then you are just a copycat.

What is really important with this style is your ability to communicate WHY you are sharing these resources with them. What is your take on it? Keep your take short and to the point. When you share your view on it, it shows that you truly can think for yourself and are not just mimicking someone else’s ability to think.

The potential downfall to this style, is it take can take a lot of time to find these resources on a regular basis. The other downfall is that it can attract and encourage the people on your list who only want free resources—you did the hard work so they can benefit and not have to pay you. Yes, they will look at and read your newsletter (Ya! A boost in marketing results), but if they never convert to clients, does it matter? If they never refer you to anyone that converts to a client, does it matter?

When you give everything away for free, people will continue to expect it and may even become offended or resentful when you attempt to charge them. So make sure some of these resources are YOUR resources and you are clear up front that you are IN BUSINESS—this is not a hobby.

Catalog Style

This style is all about selling products, usually tangible ones. These newsletters are filled with high-quality images, sales info, sometimes pricing, and have a minimal copy. The copy that is included is all about driving your audience from that particular newsletter to your shopping cart, NOW.

This style does best with actual products. Service-based offerings don’t usually do as well because it’s more conceptual and harder for the viewer to look at the image and say “I need THAT because it will give me THIS.” High-quality images are also key—the lighting must be perfect, the product clearly visible and displayed in a taunting or sexy way.

People often get tired of this style so it usually has a high audience turnover or peak times of the year. The other challenge with this is because it is primarily image-based not everyone will be able to instantly see the images. Yes, they could click that little link that says “show images” or “add sender to safe senders list”, but not everyone does that and it adds another step.

Now, these are very specific categories. Most brands don’t only do one or another—which is good. When you know your audience, you’ll learn what styles they most engage with. You’ll also learn that subtle variety keeps your brand fresh and prevents stagnation. An example of this is if you primarily do a Catalog Style newsletter, break it up and have a featured product that you review or share how a customer uses that product. Share an unconventional story about how or why you or a customer decided to buy a product and how it changed their problem.

People remember stories—powerful ones. If you want to sell your products or build a loyal following, tell powerful stories. Numbers tell stories to sell.

Another tip is to not use too many images at the top of your newsletter, this can get your newsletters sent to the spam folder. I know, when you are designing your newsletter, you are sitting there and staring at it for a long period of time making sure it is perfect. But your reader is most likely looking at it while walking to their car, drinking coffee, in the elevator, or at a stoplight. Design and create content for them, not you.

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