How many websites do you visit and they ask you to ‘sign up’ for their newsletter?

There’s no indication of what the newsletter will deliver and these days most of us are smart enough to recognise it as a means of getting our email address to market to us.

There’s nothing wrong with that – but let’s be honest – do you really want another miscellaneous email in your inbox?  How many of the newsletters you’re already signed up to do you actually read?

If you’re anything like me most get deleted – because they don’t deliver anything of interest or value to me.

A newsletter should deliver value for the reader

Many don’t.  These are NOT value for your reader:

  • A new member of staff
  • New clients
  • An award
  • Moving to bigger offices
  • A busy month

As Rhett Butler famously said “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

They may all be things you and your team are excited about, but why would a potential, or even an existing, client find these interesting?

Your newsletter, like your blog, is an opportunity to show off your expertise.  Give your reader something useful.  This might be:

  • A ‘how to’ article
  • Some tips on a subject of interest (in which you are expert)
  • Some inside information on developments that are relevant to your target audience
  • A case study that explains how to get specific results

Don’t write a long article – short and to the point is the secret of getting your newsletter read.  For an e-newsletter a maximum of three items – one longer information piece, some PR for your latest offer and, maybe, a paragraph on your business updates – in that order.

How to get people to sign up

Everyone gets excited about building your list – and it’s true that it’s a really effective way to market.  People who have parted with their email address to get something they want have, effectively, raised their hand and said “I’m interested.”

What will get them interested enough to willingly part with their contact information?

You need an ethical bribe; in other words you give them something of value and they’ll agree to be on your list.

The four things people respond best to are:

  • How to … (something you’re often asked about)
  • 10 top tips on … (your area of expertise – it can be 7 or 17 or any other number, but typically people respond best to odd numbers – with the exception of 10)
  • Your … Checklist
  • The 3 biggest mistakes people make when … (something you’re expert in)

These don’t need to be long ebooks, a one or two page document delivered as a pdf is enough.  If you happen to have written a good ebook with a catchy title and really good content then you could give that away, but you could also sell it for a nominal amount and just give away the first chapter.

There are different approaches for different companies – you will need to find something that works for you, but remember it’s all about delivering value in the first instance – and then continuing to do so in every communication.  After all – it’s easy to unsubscribe too!