How to Grow Your Business Through Email Marketing
Newsletter Writing for Soloists
At its best, email marketing is like an updated version of a pen pal letter — a welcome, friendly update on your business, delivered in a way that is relevant to your clients’ lives. Email blasts promote your business and keep you top of mind with clients. Effective emails put a face behind the service and allow customers to get to know you personally, which is key in any client relationship. With a firm strategy in place, email marketing can be a useful tool for growing your business. Here’s how to get started and how to make newsletters work for you.
Pick Your Platform
MailChimp and Constant Contact are two popular email marketing platforms that are perfect for small businesses. They each offer email templates so you can create visually impactful emails, manage your lists, and schedule campaigns. Each has a roster of unique features and pricing plans, so take a little time to research and find out which is better for you.
Set a Schedule
Newsletters do no need to be sent on a daily or even weekly basis (contrary to what our overflowing inboxes indicate). Think about what types of communications you want to send, as well as what feels like a manageable workload. Quarterly updates keep you on people’s radars, while monthly ones can recap what’s been going on. An annual “Happy New Year” message to clients? Absolutely!
Once you have a game plan, create a schedule. Planning newsletter topics for at least 6 months out helps you craft a theme to your communication. Even if you don’t have specifics yet, knowing what you want to talk about will make that newsletter much easier to write. For example, a fitness professional may want to share one at-home move a month, or a professional organizer may offer quarterly tips for organizing your closet according to the season.
Don’t feel daunted if writing isn’t your thing. There are 2 key tips to making it painless:
- Be YOU. Clients work with you because they like you; let your personality come through in your message.
- Keep it short. Let’s be honest: people don’t take the time to read things through. Consider using bullet points, or breaking information into small digestible sections. For the text itself, a fun app to try is the Hemingway app, which helps you write concise sentences.
Call to Action
Most importantly, have a call to action. Incentivize people to reach out, such as “Want to learn more? Email me!” Incentives or deals garner more responses than straightforward informational pieces. Blogger and consultant Sarah Von Bargen of yesandyes.org likes to add a specific question at the end of her newsletters, such as “What are you struggling with now?” By encouraging readers to write in with feedback or questions, she opens the lines of communication two-ways and engages her readers.
Eye-catching graphics visually draw people into your message and make the email aesthetically pleasing. Graphics can also be used to break up larger blocks of content so information is shown in manageable chunks. Just be careful of copyright laws; try to use original photos or approved images directly from sources, if possible (for example, if you’re training clients at a particular gym, ask the gym’s marketing or PR person for images or a logo you can use).
So, you have great content and a snappy newsletter ready to go; now you need an equally compelling subject line that encourages people to open that email. coschedule.com has a headline analyzer page that shows you how compelling your subject line is to readers. It’s meant for SEO optimization, so the analyzer works for web pages, articles, and other online content.
Growing Your List
In addition to existing customers, start entering names from any business cards you accumulate. Create an opt-in link on your newsletter or a section on your business website where people can register. With a Facebook business page, you can add a “contact now” button that leads people to your website and encourages them to leave their information.
On every eblast, make sure to link to your social media handles; Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer these automatically on their templates, so subscribers can easily follow you. Both platforms also allow you to share your newsletter through your channels so can expand your message beyond just email. Encourage existing customers and friends to share your newsletter post on their feeds, thus increasing the number of eyes on your business.
Once you have templates and a schedule in place, newsletters become an easy way to reach out to customers. As you begin working on yours, think about what garners your attention from all the newsletters you receive: is it a funny headline? Beautiful images? Something else? Notice what you respond to and think about how those elements can work for you. In no time, newsletters will become an integral and effective part of your business strategy.