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5 Steps to an Email Newsletter Your Customers Will Love (and share!)

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Amanda Cook – Enjoy! 

Email Newsletter

photo credit: flickr

“It’s time to write your email newsletter.”

Quick – what’s your first reaction to that statement?

If you’re like many small business owners, you’re filled with a sense of dread, an urge to procrastinate, and the thought “no one reads it anyway – shouldn’t I work on more important things?”

Many people create an email newsletter because they’ve been told that it’s good for business – but they don’t really believe it – and it shows in their emails!  If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, your customer can tell – and your email subscribers will be less engaged and responsive.

A successful email newsletter requires a shift in thinking.  Instead of just telling your customer about your latest sale and some random article you wrote because you should include an article in your newsletter – reframe your email newsletter as a way to engage with your community.

People are busy.  They’re not going to see all of your social media updates, and certainly won’t remember to check your website regularly.  But they did opt-in to your email newsletter because they WANT to hear from you.  They believe that your business can help them solve a problem or get better results.  They just want to hear from you in the right way.

Steps to Creating a Successful Email Newsletter

  1. Go Pro with your email newsletter.  To quote Steven Pressfield, the first step is to decide to “go pro”.  That means using an email service like Aweber or Mailchimp (never sending from your personal account!), only sending to people who opt-in for your email newsletter, and setting expectations up front about how often you’ll email (Daily? Monthly? People want to know what to expect.)
  2. It’s not about you.  This is the #1 most important step for a successful email newsletter. Stop thinking about what you want to sell – and instead, step into the shoes of your customer.  What is she doing this week?  What problems is she facing? How can you help?  Your newsletter needs to be relevant and helpful to your customer.  Yes, it can include offers, but it needs to be linked back to how it’s going to benefit her.  When you get this right and create a truly useful, relevant email, you’ll see your customers engage with you and even forward it to their friends!
  3. Make it scannable.  How much time do you spend reading an email?  Probably only a few seconds before deciding whether to read deeper or hit delete.  Combined with the fact that many people check email on a mobile device, and you need to make your emails easy to scan with bold headlines, sections and bulletpoints.  You might test emails that simply contain a teaser with a link back to your latest blog post, rather than including a long article within the email itself.
  4. Make it actionable.  Make it easy for your customers to take action on your email newsletter.  What do you want them to do?  Buy something? Read your blog post?  Forward it to a friend? Share it on social media?  Decide on the 1 call to action for your email, and make it easy for them.  Include action phrases like “Click here to read…”  Don’t be afraid to mention (and link) to your call to action several times within the email.  Many people won’t make it through your entire email, so don’t save it until the last line!
  5. Write a good subject line.  You know headlines are a key part of a successful blog post – well subject lines are the email equivalent – but they’re even more important!  If you have a boring subject line (“June Newsletter”, anyone?), your customer will delete the email before they even open it!  It doesn’t matter how fantastic your content is – they’ll never see it if they don’t like the subject line.  You can learn what makes a good subject line by studying headline copywriting – but in the end, you need to test and experiment to see what works for your email list.  You can also use the split-testing functionality in your email service provider to test several subject lines for the same email content to see which gets the most opens and click-throughs.

Rather than seeing your email newsletter as another marketing item to check off your list – reframe it as a way to connect with your potential customers.  If you approach your email newsletter as a way to show customers how you understand their specific challenges – and can offer helpful tips, resources and products to overcome them – you’ll see your engagement and responsiveness increase.  And you’ll find writing your regular newsletter gets easier when you see it as a key way to engage your customers, rather than simply promote your products.

Amanda Cook_sqAmanda Cook is an online strategist, certified holistic health coach, and host of the weekly WellpreneurOnline podcast.  Each week, Amanda interviews successful entrepreneurs about how they’ve grown a healthy business – online.  She also runs a free 5-day blogging challenge to fill your blog with content your ideal client will love (and share!)  Connect with Amanda on twitter.

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