Every business owner wants to have her ideal client’s ear—even after she’s left the store (or website, Facebook page, etc.). Staying top-of-mind is crucial if you want someone to buy from you down the road. You need to engage your audience, offer loads of value, encourage them to visit your site (or store) again and remember you.
Businesses used to use direct mail to stay in front of potential and current customers. My dad owned an accounting software sales company in the 80s and I can remember earning a buck or two an hour labeling and stamping postcards for him. A few hours in, I had adhesive congealed to my fingers and my tongue was pasty. Yuck. Luckily we have many more options today, and email marketing is at the top of the list for offering a direct line to those prospects.
An e-newsletter is an educational piece that’s intended to bring value to your audience. It’s not a sales piece.
Let me repeat: It’s not meant to generate sales.
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Will an email newsletter generate sales? Absolutely! When you provide value to your audience, they’ll come to know, like and trust you. And eventually they will buy from you.
But don’t use your email list solely to promote your products or services. I’ve seen it. It’s icky. And sleazy. And REALLY annoying for the recipient.
Instead, use your email newsletter to educate your audience about your industry. What’s new this season or this year? What are some best practices? Tips you can offer your audience? Are there helpful resources out there (besides your own website)?
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I’ve seen real estate agents offer tips on home décor, tax preparers provide information about retirement planning and business coaches give ideas for developing a quality website. Anything that complements what you do is fair game, as long as you have the resources to back it up.
Of course, you can also offer tips and resources that directly relate to your own business, as long as you’re not pushing your products and services.
Also beneficial is information about what you’ve been up to as a business owner. Several business coaches I follow do this very well—links to free webinars and courses, previews of podcasts and discussions of partnerships are things your audience wants to know about. They show that you’re moving forward in your business, offering real value and partnering with others (which must mean you’re really an expert, right?).
Your email newsletter truly is a must-have marketing tool for your business. If you’re not already signed up for my newsletter, get on the list!