The Art of the Newsletter
For young entrepreneurs, a scheduled email newsletter campaign is probably one of your best marketing tools. It’s free or cheap, it’s easy, and it keeps your business in front of customers’ eyeballs. Unlike social media, a newsletter allows your customers to read at their leisure and not miss something posted hours, days, or weeks ago. Newsletters don’t require likes or upvotes to get noticed. And, since email is more universal than social media, you can reach a wider range of customers.
Creating a newsletter doesn’t have to take up a lot of time or effort. Keep reading for a few key tips when considering a newsletter for your small business.
What a Newsletter Can Do for Your Business
> Get you new business: all a customer has to do is forward your newsletter to a friend, colleague, or family member, and boom, you have a new customer. As opposed to a social media post, where your clients can only tag someone who is also on that platform, nearly everyone has at least one email address and can receive a forwarded newsletter.
> Connect with existing clients: customer-retention is vital to any business, and newsletters are a fantastic way to keep your customers happy. You can give them promotional codes for discounts, take a poll, hold a raffle, or ask customers a question and encourage them to email you back. This way, your clients feel seen, heard, and appreciated.
> Preview a new product: let your customers know when you plan to launch a new product or service and give them just enough information to whet their appetite.
> Tell your story: by including a little bit of “behind the scenes” info in your newsletter, you humanize the person (you) behind the business and remind customers that they are helping to support an actual human being, not just a faceless corporation.
The bottom line is that a newsletter allows you to be a little bit more creative and personal with your clients. While social media may provide a real-time conversation, newsletters work because clients can read them on their own time, at their own pace. Similarly, you, too, don’t need to respond in real-time. You can schedule your newsletters ahead of time, and, with some of the newsletter programs listed below, you can track metrics such as how many people are opening your newsletter, forwarding, etc.
What to Include In Your Newsletter
> Changes in your business: are you expanding your delivery area? Launching a new product? Changing your logo? Here’s where you let your clients know that, while you are still the same reliable business you’ve always been, there will be changes and growth. Most people appreciate a head’s up rather than an unpleasant surprise.
> Links to relevant news: if there’s something going on in the world that directly affects your business, include a link to an article or YouTube clip in your newsletter. If there’s big news in your field, include that, too. This tells clients that you are not running your business in a vacuum – you are on top of the latest developments in your field.
> Cross-advertising: have you partnered up with a local business? Has your best friend just launched their own enterprise? Offer free advertising in your newsletter in exchange for the other person advertising your business. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement with almost no downside.
> Links: one of the most important things to include in your newsletter – if not the most important – is the list of ways people can find your business online. This means your business email address(es), Twitter handle, FB page, TikTok or IG usernames, website, and anything else you have online that’s relevant to your business.
> Graphics: no one wants to read a newsletter full of paragraph after paragraph of text. Break it up with photos, graphics, and other non-text media. Just make sure not to overdo it so that your newsletter takes forever to load or becomes too distracting.
> Text: make sure you include relevant content!
How to Create a Newsletter
The easiest way to create a newsletter is to use a service such as Mailchimp, Zoho, or EmailOctopus, which all have free or cheap ($1/month) plans to help you get started. These platforms, and many others, offer ways for you to design and schedule professional emails, as well as track metrics. Which metrics? How many people have clicked on the links in your newsletter; forwarded your newsletter; new subscribers; canceled subscriptions; and more. In turn, these metrics help you market your business smarter and more efficiently by learning what holds your customers’ attention versus what doesn’t.
As you build your young entrepreneurial empire, make sure you include a sign-up link on all your social media so that your customers have an easy way to opt-in to your newsletter. Consider creating an automated “Welcome!” and/or “Thank you!” email as soon as customers sign up, and perhaps include a discount code or free gift for new subscribers.
The timing of your newsletter should be often enough to stay relevant but not so often that you risk spamming or overwhelming your subscribers. About once a week should be enough for regularly scheduled emails. Remember that if it is big, breaking news, or something you need to urgently share with your subscribers, you can always hop onto your service to send out a quick email.
Scheduling emails ahead of time allows you to think through what you want to say and gives you plenty of time to go back and rewrite if something changes.
Finally, please remember to edit your email for grammar, typos, and content! Don’t use foul or degrading language, even as a joke – that type of humor translates badly through email. Keep your tone light and informative but not too informal, lest you come across as unprofessional. Don’t just write and hit send: take the time to set up a newsletter you can be proud of.
One major advantage of newsletters is that they work for any field and any type of work. Take advantage of school breaks and last-minute school closures by sending out a newsletter offering your babysitting services to working parents. Or let everyone know about a special back-to-school discount on your product during the month of August. Whatever it is you have to offer, use a newsletter to keep your customers interested, active, and coming back for more.
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