As GDPR privacy regulations took effect in the EU businesses worldwide began to rethink their lead generation strategy.
Many USA based businesses are now asking people to opt-in to their email list versus distracting customers and potential customers with an offer of a free download to get them to join the list.
Small business owners and dealerships are finally beginning to recognize that in many instances, they were attracting the wrong type of audience with free downloads and coupons.
What that leaves us with is the realization that we may need to take a good long look at
This means that we can put the shiny object away and we can return to focusing on delivering quality content once they join the list.
We are now at a point where it is necessary to assure that the content you are providing in your newsletter is of such high quality that people want it in their inbox. Regardless of any offer them any digital download/bribe to get there or not.
Over the past few years now, the conventional thought was that an e-newsletter was not enough of a reason for most people to opt-in to signing up.
But with the confluence of events from Facebook sharing customer data, Experian data breaches and more, privacy is now at a heightened awareness.
As a result, I am willing to bet that we’re going to experience a return to the glory days of the e-newsletter before e-newsletters turned into 100% sales messages, all the time.
Today, customers are looking to be educated, for value, enlightenment or entertainment and they will sign up because they know that the e-newsletter will provide quality, valuable content.
That means, we need to return to the basics of newsletters and ask ourselves a few questions to ensure that what we’re providing (or what we will begin to deliver shortly) is remarkable enough that people will willingly trade their precious contact information in exchange for it.
As with blogging or video creation, “Because someone told me to,” is no longer a good enough answer.
To be successful with any communication, you have to have a clear goal in mind for your newsletter, for both your business and for your reader.
Goals for your business might include:
And so forth.
Regardless of the "what" and "why" of the ultimate goal of having a newsletter is, you absolutely must be clear on that goal in all content.
For example, you know that 100% your sales come from referrals or purchased leads, not from people on your list, then the goal is not to ever sell to your audience via email. The goal should be to build trust, become a thought leader, or drive web traffic.
Or you excel at building customer loyalty and work diligently at maintaining a relationship with your existing customer with a focus on continuing to lower your marketing costs through customer loyalty. Then your goal is to educate and entertain your current customers.
If you are using the internet to launch model to launch a product or program several times a year, such as paid webinars, your goal is definitely to be able to sell to your audience via email.
On the flip side, you must understand what the goal of your reader is when signing up for your newsletter.
In recent years, we’ve made the lead magnet or bribe the goal of signing up for our newsletter with the pie in the sky (delusional) dream that people would stick around afterward to hear what we have to say.
You must evolve now from this practice and focus on longer-term goals of your audience and customers.
The goal of your audience may very well be:
How do you know what you can deliver to them that will keep them on your email list as loyal readers? You need to figure out their goal.
An example of this is from a client I’ve been working with for more than three years now.
The dealership was using their e-newsletter exclusively to send out discounts and notices of sales.
Today, that’s not the primary goal of the newsletter.
The primary goal is to build that know, like, and trust factor of the dealerships customers — we intentionally made the CEO the face and personality of the brand (dealership), and his customers resonate with the lifestyle, stories, educational aspects, and goals.
The upside of this is that we’ve been building trust with the dealership customers for a few years now — to the point that when we mentioned that he was looking to fill a few open positions at his dealership, in one of the weekly emails, the dealership immediately got 18 responses. Four of which resulted in qualified new hires for the dealership in service, sales, and BDC.
The dealership was able to fill the positions with highly qualified people with minimal costs.
I’d say that’s a definite sign of trust, especially in a very tight job market!
The mistake that I see many businesses and dealerships make is their first thought is not what the goals of the newsletter should be, it's often, “How often should I send an e-newsletter?”
There is no one correct answer, and it depends, but in general, aim for no MORE than once a week and no LESS than once a month. You better have a good reason to go outside these guidelines, and it better be good.
Sending a newsletter under one time a month and people will forget you; on the other end of the spectrum, if you send an email or newsletter more than once a week and they get sick of you, you become a pain in the keister.
Once a week seems to be the sweet spot for building loyalty and driving conversions and if you cannot manage this, then shoot for twice a month.
Another critical thing to consider about frequency is your give-to-ask ratio. In other words, how many emails are you sending that GIVE compared to those that ASK?
I suggest that you should have a ratio of 5:1 — five emails or newsletters that GIVE or SHARE information for every one ASK or SPECIAL OFFER you make.
So if you are using an email sales sequence (an ask) with 10 emails, you need to have sent 50 emails that give value. This is just a ballpark ratio; however, if you’re sending valuable content every week or month, in general, you don’t need to worry about your ratio. You’re doing just fine.
For example, last week, we chose not to write a new blog post or send out a regular newsletter since we were hosting a webinar on how what routine maintenance should be performed at what intervals and why. We knew that we would be sending four or five emails asking people to take part in the webinar, and did not want to clutter their inbox with another subject matter.
Which raises the issue of the "what"…
Once you have decided on clear goals for your newsletter, you should have a solid strategy behind the content you should provide with each newsletter and that it will be valuable both to your customers, target audience/subscribers and to your business.
However, there are some questions you have about how to deliver the content:
Newsletters don’t exist in a vacuum.
They are a critical aspect of the relationship you’re building with a potential customer and growing with your existing customers.
Therefore, it’s critical to think about how consumers find you, what motivates them to subscribe to your list, and how you introduce yourself.
Thinking about these sorts of things can make your weekly newsletters that much more effective at helping you create lasting relationships and happy customers.