In a recent blog post, I shared with you a roadmap on how to keep the content flowing. In this post, I’ll show you not all content is created equal.
For example, a sales letter to a prospect is different than the one you send to a customer. You may wonder, why a sales letter to a customer? It’s a good tactic to upsell or to remind them of a new service your company just released. They know you and will give you some time to learn more.
A white paper includes more data than a special report. Even an instructional video is written differently than a webinar or a presentation.
If you have not used a newsletter in a long time, but you made a commitment to provide more content to your market, now may be the right time.
Many businesses start a newsletter with great enthusiasm, but cancel it after the first issue because something more important came up. Then when that “something that came up” drags out into six months, someone makes the decision that a newsletter doesn’t seem to be a worthwhile investment. That decision maker was usually the one who had the responsibility to create a newsletter in the first place.
This isn’t the fault of the newsletter format. It’s just that too many businesses think of their newsletter as a miniature newspaper or a magazine rather than a business-building tool. And they don’t consider how a newsletter fits into their overall marketing strategy.
Newsletters are all about building relationships. They give you a means of communicating with people who have asked you to send them information. They also help you avoid the “ad blindness” people develop for materials that are blatant sales pitches.
The first rule for using a newsletter successfully is to provide information your readers will consider helpful and relevant. Eight pages of overt sales copy won’t work. Think about what your readers want to know and give them that information. If you’re not sure ask them. People tend to do business with companies that appear to care, so the more you are able to help people, the stronger your relationship with them will be.
The second rule for using a newsletter successfully is to distribute it as widely as possible. Print a subscription offer on invoices. Display a sign-up form on your Web site in a prominent location, ideally on every page. Include a postage-paid subscription card in your fulfillment or correspondence. Mail postcards to customers and prospects with a landing page presenting a sample and a place to subscribe. Send a sample newsletter with a subscription form. Make sure that at every point of contact people have an opportunity to sign up.
A newsletter is also a great foot-in-the-door tool for salespeople. They can hand out newsletters at trade shows or during sales calls. They can also enclose an issue with follow-up materials sent to sales leads.
You can even include your newsletter in your media kit or have copies in your lobby for people to read. Plus, the content can be used over and over as one-sheets, special reports, Web articles, and brochures. It’s also a good idea to post past issues on your Web site either as a PDF or as text to get the most return for your buck.
Newsletters are a long-term tactic for educating prospects and building relationships with customers. They offer you a direct pipeline to the people you most want to communicate with.
Most of all, you give them another form of content that slowly builds into a better business relationship for them, and your company as well.
The loudest complaint I always hear? No one ever called us and mention they read the newsletter.
Just remember a newsletter is a business relationship building tool; not a lead generating tool. It can be part of a lead generating strategy, but standing alone it is not the right tool to generate business.
B2B and B2C are different, but if you take the time to get a better understanding of your customers and market, you’ll know what to say and when to say it.
Let me know how you differentiate your content from one communication tactic to another.