Want to grow your business? Sure, who doesn’t want to? Whether you’ve hit a dry spot, or just want to get more customers in the door, consider starting up an email newsletter to keep current customers engaged and bring new customers in the door.
Done properly, email newsletters are one of the easiest ways to turn occasional customers into raving, loyal fans of your business. Here are 4 ways that a great email newsletter can bring more customers in the door and increase your bottom line.
Before we start…I’m going to assume that you either write, hire someone to write, or otherwise create engaging, helpful content for your subscribers. If you own a wine shop, for example, you could write up weekly articles about different grape varietals, how to serve wine, how to store wine, etc. All kinds of valuable, complementary information that your customers can put to good use (and that will get them coming back for more).
Got that? Great! Let’s get right back into it:
1) Fosters a Sense of Reciprocity
Reciprocity is the idea that if you provide something of value to someone else, even for free, they’re far more likely to do business with you in the future because subconsciously they feel like they owe you something.
In other words, “I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine,” even if your prospect or customer doesn’t know that they’re scratching your back!
By putting out valuable content that helps your customers on a regular basis, they’re far more likely to “return the favor” when the time comes to do business with a company in your field in the future.
2) Positions You As An Expert In Your Field
By the sheer act of dropping valuable knowledge, you’ll start to be seen as an expert in your field by your subscribers. After all, if you’re just giving away this kind of knowledge, absolutely free, on a regular basis, you must actually know a lot more that you can help them with…if only they were a client…
That steady stream of information is a great marketing tool; as the weeks go on, you’ll gain more and more credibility in their eyes, and become more of an expert–the expert that they’d be crazy not to hire the next time they need what you’re selling.
3) Customers Are More Likely To See The Offers You Include
I’m currently working on a fairly large project providing content to golf courses. I subscribe to dozens of golf course email lists (for, ahem, research purposes), and you would be shocked how many of them immediately come into my spam folder, simply because so many people “spam” them out of habit.
And with good reason! Golf courses are some of the worst culprits with regard to relentless “offer marketing.” “Tee times available this weekend–play our course!” is probably the most common example of this, but there are plenty of others, like “25% off our logo polos in the pro shop,” and “Room still available in the 4th of July tournament!”
What these courses don’t realize is while they view it as “educating” consumers on their “fantastic” offers, people are bombarded with offers like this all the time! If you simply send out offer…after offer…after offer, you come off as a TV channel made up entirely of commercials, at best. At worst, you look like a panhandler holding his hat out.
Courses seem to think that the value is in the offer itself. But since offers have come to have negative value in the minds of most consumers, if you want to get their attention enough so that they see your offer in the first place, you have to provide something valuable to them in order to pique their interest.
That’s why it’s perfectly fine to make offers in your emails to your list, but I highly recommend that you sandwich one or maybe two offers at most in between roughly double the amount of valuable articles or links to videos. The content gets the newsletter out of the spam folder and opened–then maybe prospects will be more willing to listen to your offer. The better your content, the more likely people are to do business with you.
To torture the analogy even further, if pure offer emails are like panhandlers holding their hats out, content email marketing is more like a really good street musician playing in a subway station. You’re adding something valuable to the surrounding environment, so people are more likely to throw more money in the guitar case (and feel better about doing so).
4) Newsletters Are More Likely to Be Shared
If you’re providing truly valuable, helpful content to your subscribers, the odds are that they have some friends who have (or who will eventually have) similar problems or issues.
If Frank knows that Bob has issues maintaining his old heap of a car, and a car dealership sends out a weekly newsletter with car maintenance tips to Frank, Frank may forward the newsletter on to Bob. Eager for the help, Bob subscribes to the newsletter. Once Bob is ready (or forced!) to replace his heap, he’s already getting emails from the car dealership, they seem to know a lot about cars, and especially in this case, the newsletter goes against the common stereotype that car dealerships are out to screw people, so he’s more likely to think that they’ll give him a fair deal.
That’s just one example, but you can see how it could work in countless other fields. As the newsletter is shared among friends, and more people sign up for it, your potential customer base continues to grow. Then those people have even more friends, and continue to share it–it’s a wonderful chain reaction that keeps the ball rolling until you have more customers than you know what to do with–a fine problem to have!
These are just a few of the reasons an email newsletter can help your business grow. I’ll be back with more ways to increase your newsletter’s reach and impact in the coming weeks. Be sure to leave any questions in the comments.
D.J. Gelner is a freelance writer and editor with extensive email newsletter experience. Feel free to contact him directly with questions or potential projects at email@example.com.