How to Build a Newsletter People Will Actually Read

Duct Tape Marketing Newsletter - Created with Placeit

Duct Tape Marketing Newsletter – Created with PlaceIt

Think about the last newsletter you received in your inbox.  Was it a newsletter you looked forward to receiving or just another piece to add to the daily content clutter?

If it was a piece of clutter, I am guessing the information included in the newsletter did not provide you with value.  Many people view newsletters as an opportunity to sell versus an opportunity to build trust.  I am not saying you can never sell to your list, however, that trust factor is the most important element that needs to be built up first.

What does this mean for you?  As marketers and small business owners, we have the chance to stand out from the daily content dump.  To actually provide value and build trust with our audiences.  To offer something they look forward to receiving each week or month.

Below are four easy steps to build a newsletter people will actually read.

Focus on the subject line

This is your chance at a first impression.  You know the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, well, I am pretty sure that doesn’t apply here.  The subject line is the first glance, the first opportunity to grab someone’s attention and to get them to click through to read more.  Here are some tips on best practices for writing subject lines:

  • Keep it interesting. Change the subject line for each newsletter you send
  • Get to the point. Keep the subject line to 50 characters or less
  • Add personalization.  Use either name or localization in subject line
  • Keep it honest.  Make the subject line relevant to the actual information in the newsletter
  • Encourage action.  Add some urgency to your subject line such as “24 hours only”

Share the best content

When creating a newsletter, one of the best (and easiest) practices is content curation.  Monitoring industry related blogs over the week and collecting the most relevant and value-packed posts to share with your audience is a great way to add value for a number of reasons.  Here are a few of them: establishing relationships with other experts by sharing their content, providing your audience with the best information available to save them time and research, and saving yourself endless hours each week having to write all the content on your own.  A win-win-win!

Keep it mobile

According to emailmonday, 45% of email opens occurred on mobile, 36% on desktop and 19% in a webmail client.  If on average, 45% of you audience is viewing your newsletter on their mobile device, don’t you think it is worth paying attention to?  I sure do.  Here are some best practices for mobile friendly newsletters:

  • Learn to love larger font sizes – 16px as the smallest option
  • Move away from text-heavy newsletters.  Sometimes less is more!
  • Use dividers or different color backgrounds to break up the newsletter into sections
  • Use large, clickable buttons for calls to action

Keep a schedule

If you take the steps above to add value to your newsletters, people will actually start to look forward to hearing from you.  Keeping a schedule to send the newsletter each week or month allows your audience to start to know when to expect it to come through.  Who doesn’t love becoming part of their client’s routine?

I would love to hear from you!  Do you have an example of a newsletter you look forward to receiving?

Sara JantschSara Jantsch is the Vice President of Operations at Duct Tape Marketing.  She oversees day-to-day operations to support the growth of Duct Tape Marketing and the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.  She focuses on strategic planning, goal setting and directing the operations of the company in support of its goals.  Sara is also a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant and has a very strong passion for working with small business owners that started back at the dinner table as a child. Connect with Sara on twitter.

Turning Leads Into Customers With an Email Autoresponder

Today’s Guest Post is by Jack Reamer – Enjoy!

Imagine if your marketing ran on autopilot…

You could sit back, kick your feet up and watch your sales go through the roof.

You could grow your business (and take that much-needed vacation) without worrying about how you’ll get your next customer.

Sounds good, right?

Now, you know that marketing isn’t that easy. But a good email autoresponder can bring you new customers like clockwork – even when you’re not working.

What is an email autoresponder?

An autoresponder is an automated series of emails that gives your leads value, draws them closer to your brand and eventually makes them buy what you’re selling.

Basically, it puts your email marketing on autopilot.

How can your business sell with an autoresponder?

Photo credit: Banquet hall via flickr (license)

Photo credit: Banquet hall via flickr (license)

Picture yourself in a 10,000 square foot banquet hall that’s packed with your potential customers.

You’re holding a microphone, and your potential customers are waiting to hear your best sales pitch. What would you say? What would you want them to know before they made a buying decision?

Those are your selling points. And as long as you have your lead’s attention, your email autoresponder can deliver your selling points just like this fictional banquet hall sales pitch.

You need to know two things to sell with an email autoresponder:

  1. What do your leads care about?
  2. What are your selling points?

If your autoresponder messages are about things your leads care about, they will open and read your emails. So earn their attention by sending emails that will help your leads solve a problem or reach a goal.

Then how do you sell? Easy. Just connect one of your selling points to each email.

Let’s look at an example:

Let’s say you’re a bookkeeping company that wants to turn your leads into customers with an autoresponder.

Your leads are busy small business owners who care about saving time running their business. And one of your selling points is you can save business owners one hour a week by doing their bookkeeping.

An email that would work well in your autoresponder is:

“How any business owner can save 5 hours this week”

Then, inside that email, give five time-saving tips for small business owners.

Make sure one of the tips talks about hiring a bookkeeper to instantly save 1 hour every week. (Include a link back to your website so your leads can click to learn more about your bookkeeping service.)

Why does this email work well?

  • It’s a topic your leads care about so it will get opened.
  • You provide five helpful tips so it will get read.
  • You tie your selling point to the email so your leads can click for more details.

Three email ideas for an autoresponder that sells:

1) Welcome Email

Use this email to get your leads to look forward to future emails (by telling them what’s coming up) and to ask, “what are you struggling with?” so you know exactly what your leads need help with.

2) Problem Solver

Help them solve a problem they’re struggling with. (Just make sure the problem relates to your business.) Give your leads helpful tips to establish your credibility and to prove you’re an expert.

3) Case Study

Talk about a past customer’s problems (and how you helped them solve it), so it’s helpful to your leads. Make sure to provide insights with this case study, but don’t forget to include a testimonial.

Have any questions about selling with email? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll answer each one.

Jack ReamerJack Reamer is an email marketing expert who specializes in helping B2B companies turn leads into customers with helpful & engaging emails. Jack shares actionable email marketing insights on his blog Want to bring in more sales with your emails? Click here to learn the four biggest mistakes business owners make with email marketing (and how to avoid them.)

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