Note from Dave: Today’s guest post is by Louis Allport of Allport Consulting.
Although email read and delivery rates aren’t as high as they used to be, I strongly feel that email is still one of the key pillars of effective online marketing. In fact, due to the amount of email most businesses send out, they seem to agree too!
However, many small businesses:
- Don’t have much time to write promotional emails
- Don’t know what to write about
- Aren’t clear on how to effectively market through email
- Aren’t sure about the best way to get emails sent out
Now, it’s certainly understandable that when you’re very busy in your business, marketing for more clients can be low priority. BUT…
Without consistent marketing NOW, there may come a day when your business isn’t as busy as you’d like it to be, and that’s the day you’d wished you’d started marketing earlier.
I think many busy small business owners fall into the trap of thinking how busy the business is now, is how busy it will always be. Unfortunately, that certainly isn’t the case, so investing time in effective marketing now helps secure the future of your business.
On the other hand, if your business isn’t as busy as you’d like it to be, then email is a great way to:
- Get more leads to become clients
- Get existing clients to spend more with you
Because all sales and marketing really comes down to:
- Reminding the person you’re communicating with that you exist
- Deepening a relationship with them
- Encouraging them to purchase (if it’s the right thing for them — certainly no hard-sell here!)
So let me ask you…
Are you sending out at least one email a week?
Now, as I’ve spoken about previously, setting up automated email (and text) marketing that helps turn more leads into clients is fantastic. But, you’ll also want to send out fresh content, to help extract as much value from your list as possible.
- Your clients will be happy to hear from you, as long as you’re saying something interesting!
- It builds a deeper relationship with leads, making it more likely they’ll become clients.
So at the bare minimum, as well as automated email and text campaigns that turn more leads into clients, I strongly recommend sending out an email on a weekly basis to your leads and clients.
And the simplest approach to this is by having a weekly email newsletter. I’ll dive into this in just a moment, but just before I do…
The more ways you’re in front of your leads and clients (as long as you’re being interesting, relevant, friendly and not too pushy), the more likely people are to buy from you again, and again, and again.
But this article is all about email marketing, since it still works great, so let’s focus on that…
A Simple Weekly Email That Makes You Money
If, for example’s sake, sending out an email a week on average makes you an extra £100 (so £400 extra a month), would you do it?
Now, it can sometimes be a little tricky to see a direct connection between an email you send out, and more people booking sessions or classes with you. Because people often sit on emails for days, and then finally call you, so a direct connection between the email being read, and that extra booking, might not be directly obvious.
But simply put: If you consistently publish interesting, relevant, helpful content by email — almost without fail — you’ll see your sales go up. It might happen immediately, it might grow slowly, but… there’s a reason established, successful businesses continue to send out emails!
So now we’ve established that sending out a weekly email will almost without fail help grow your sales — whatever size your business is right now — we need to talk through a couple of points in more detail:
- Who you’ll send it to
- How you’ll send out your email
- Exactly what you’ll write about
Who Exactly Are You Emailing?
The short answer here is to send to everyone whose email address you have for your business. So leads and clients. This includes:
- People who have given you their email address in return for a free book/video…etc. whatever it may be. So people who signed up for your “lead magnet” in other words.
- People who signed up for one of your free “taster sessions” but didn’t turn up
- People who signed up for one of your taster sessions, did turn up, but didn’t become a client
- Your existing clients
- Past clients (however you define this — perhaps those who haven’t purchased from you in three months, six months… whatever you consider a reasonable cut off period)
So next, let’s talk about…
How to Send Out Bulk Email
The simplest way is to add everyone’s email address in Gmail (or Yahoo, or Outlook… or whatever you use) and send it out this way.
This isn’t recommended as your email provider may think you’re spamming people, and if anyone complains you may even lose your email account.
This is why there’s dedicated services for sending out bulk emails. Importantly — these are OPT IN emails. Everyone who receives your emails gave you permission to send them email. And these services make sure anyone on your list is able remove themselves from all your future mailings simply by clicking the Unsubscribe link.
Most of these email list services are inexpensive and relatively straightforward to use. Here’s a non-definitive list:
- Get Response
- Active Campaign
- … and many, many others if you search for “manage email list” or phrases like that.
So now, let’s talk about exactly what you’re going to write about…
How to Write a Weekly Email Newsletter That Gets Read
The first point to keep in mind is that the majority of people who receive the newsletter, won’t read it. Sadly. 🙁 Honestly, you’ll be lucky if 50% read it.
Everyone gets so much email these days, it can be difficult to stand out in people’s inboxes. BUT — the biggest advantage you have is that you likely have met in person many of the people on your list. This means you have some sort of relationship with them, and this will certainly help boost how many people read your email. So that’s great news. 🙂
The worst thing you can do with bulk emails is have a boring subject line.
That said, don’t go to the other extreme as some people do and use “baiting” but irrelevant, even somewhat insulting, subject lines.
Subjects like that may work, but they tend to annoy people, so their effectiveness is usually short-lived. Do you really want to annoy your leads and clients week after week? Thought not.
Examples of this may be:
James, I’m annoyed with you
Well, that was stupid 🙁
What did I do wrong?
And so on…
But on the other hand, an accurate but boring subject line would be:
Newsletter 12 — 15th of August 2017
Honestly, no one really cares about your newsletter, so give them a reason to care…
You want a balance — tell people exactly what it is, but also make it interesting/enticing.
Some very rough examples:
New studio – and – a special offer!
Talking about the studio you’ve just moved into, and celebrating that with a special offer to your list.
I’m taking a short break, but don’t worry! 🙂
Talking about where you’re going on holiday (and who with), and how all the classes will be covered by other instructors.
Let me share Lisa’s amazing story with you…
Talking about one of your student success stories…
So these subject lines are relevant yet enticing. See the difference?
So next, what about the structure of the newsletter itself? Well, here’s my initial thoughts on this, but this certainly isn’t set in stone…
You want a structure you can easily add content to each week without having to think too much – but – avoiding making it look too samey week to week of course. In other words, you want a newsletter “template” you can easily fill in with new content each week.
This may simply be as simple as an introduction and then a timetable, and you may also want to include links to new blog posts, videos, to your Facebook page and group…etc.
But really, the most important part of your newsletter is:
Your Personal Introduction
This would likely be a few paragraphs covering:
- What you’ve been up to the last week, in both your personal and business life. People are interested, so put your personality across, but… if you’re hung over from last night, probably best not to mention that. 😉
- Then talk about what you mentioned in the subject line
Importantly — I recommend having a small photo of you at the start of the introduction, as it helps people to connect with you, rather than just presenting a wall of text. And more photos from your life/business are good too, as people do love photos and it helps get people’s attention, and develops a stronger bond with your readers.
Perhaps, have small photos in your email, which link to bigger (and more photos) on your Facebook page.
And here’s a few ideas of what your intro can cover, with plenty of variety week to week:
- Your news… personal and business, especially big life and business events.
- Success stories… these are great, but maybe don’t include these every single week or it might become a bit boring
- Quick advice… you know your stuff! So share bite-sized knowledge to help people. After all, that’s why they’re on your list…
So this intro:
- Puts your personality across
- Builds a relationship with your list
- Gives them interesting, relevant content
- Ties into the subject-line of the email
So what comes after your intro?
You’ll want a “call to action” at the end of your intro. Whether it’s pretty generic, or very specific. Examples:
Specific: Take up my very special summer offer — reply or click here to get all the details
Specific: I’m running a seminar next week and I’m offering early bird tickets to you first, so reply or sign up here to get your ticket
Broad: Classes this coming week are listed below. Reply or call to book, or visit the site here for more details.
You always want to have a call to action. People need to be reminded to take the action you want them to take! But don’t worry — since you offer a great service you’re improving their lives, so them taking action helps you AND them. Win-win, right? Which is what every business should be.
Below your intro you’ll want to include a timetable, and maybe booking link/information. Also link to your registration form for your free taster session, for people who haven’t yet taken that up.
Think about it — if you just sent out a newsletter each week with a timetable and nothing else, that would be very booooring… and there would be no real reason for people to read your emails.
But a friendly, helpful, personal, informative introduction, helps get (and keep) people interested.
And if you struggle to write, consider just saying out loud what you’d like to write about, transcribing it, and then tidying it up. Although if you do need help with writing content for emails or your website, do feel free to get in touch.
But for personal introductions, it certainly does work well to write how you speak, which makes things very easy for you! 🙂
Your First Newsletter
So… no more excuses! 🙂
You’ve got a bunch of email addresses right, of leads and clients?
Start publishing your weekly newsletter, starting this week. Next week at the LATEST.
It’s really not that hard, it may just take you a couple of hours a week, and almost without fail…
It will help generate more sales for you. And even more referrals too, especially if you encourage people to refer leads/clients to you, in return for something valuable (perhaps: Refer a new client and get a free session with me.)
And as we wrap this up, if I go back to the figure I pulled out of the air — £100 extra sales per email on average. Well, if a weekly email takes you two hours to write, that’s £50 per hour. Not bad, right? Most small businesses would be pretty happy with that I would say.
So fingers on your keyboard, it’s time for you to write your first newsletter…