Learn How to Share Great Content and Build Stronger Relationships With Your Customers
As a small business owner, you know that effective communication with your clients is key to gaining their trust and getting paid. As much your clients might love it when you keep your social media up to date or pop in for a coffee and a chat, there are other effective ways to reach your clientele.
The quality of your communication determines the strength of your relationships. Whether it’s communicating better with your partner or writing a small business newsletter, your ability to express yourself can make all the difference when it comes to getting results.
In a recent Business Masterclass Live, expert consultant, Mike Claudio, shared a crucial insight: the number one reason quality businesses don’t grow is communication mistakes.
It’s easy to forget that your communication with clients is in every aspect of your business. It’s everywhere, from how you greet customers in person to the content on your website, and in your emails. It plays a vital role in attracting prospects, building loyalty, and making it a pleasure for clients to pay for your services.
We know you’re an expert in your industry. When you’re out in the field, you’re getting results and keeping customers happy. However, when did you last take the time to assess how you can improve your marketing and overall communication?
We’re ramping up our efforts to supply you with valuable business tips. We want to go beyond empowering you with a straightforward app. Our aim is to inspire you and give you actionable steps you can take to get the results your business deserves.
A newsletter is a great way to improve communication with your customers. With this guide, you’ll be able to share effective content in no time – even if you think you’re not a writer or you’ve never sent an email to your customers before.
First up is some information on building a marketing strategy and showing you how a newsletter fits into the bigger picture. Then we’ll share the 5 essential elements you need to ensure your newsletter makes a strong impact.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been running your own company for decades, there’s something here for you. Let’s dive in:
Why do you need a small business newsletter?
A newsletter is just one aspect of your marketing strategy. It is a well known fact that at least 60% of all new businesses fail within the first 3 years of business, largely due to not having a marketing strategy.
If your business doesn’t have one yet, don’t stress – it’s not too late. Our marketing guru, Natalee Brown, recently shared 8 steps to better small business marketing. This video has heaps of useful information for setting up a strategy.
Creating a newsletter is a great first step to getting yourself heard and winning new business.
Email marketing is perhaps the most cost-effective way to reach out to prospects and build relationships with them. If you’d like resources on how to get started with email marketing, we also have a video masterclass on that topic.
A newsletter is one of the most important emails you’ll regularly send customers. Here’s why it’s worth your time even if you’re busy or don’t consider yourself a writer:
Your customers check their email every day
The average person checks email 15 times per day. Most Australians even check theirs while on holiday! This means that if you send engaging material, your customers will read it. In fact, a well-timed, relatable email will be received with open arms.
Built rapport and credibility with those who want to do business with you
Perhaps you’ve already been collecting email addresses through your website or the Invoice2go app. Now’s your chance to use that information to build stronger relationships with the people that matter most to your business.
Newsletters can do this in many ways. Here are just a few examples:
- You can share photos of recent projects, useful tips, or a peek behind the scenes of your business. Generously sharing knowledge and entertaining information builds trust and loyalty. When your audience is engaged, you’re likely to see sales go up.
- Want to know more about what your customers want and how to serve them better? Put in a survey. SurveyMonkey is an awesome free tool you can use to get some valuable feedback. You can use this information to give your company an edge.
By consistently showing up in your customers’ inboxes with content that speaks to their needs, you’ll stay at the forefront of their minds. They’ll be more ready to reach for their wallets when they need your service or product.
It’s also one of the most inexpensive ways to connect. Running ads in the local paper can add up. Even paid social media marketing can get pricey. All an email newsletter needs is the time it takes to write it. You’ve already got your company email set up- make use of it! Return on investment is well worth it- you can expect an average return of $42 for every $1 spent on email so it’s in your best interest to get writing!
It’s easy to get started and to measure your success
While it might seem daunting to make time to sit down and write when you’re already busy, it’s easier than you think. There are a variety of templates on the internet to simplify the process. Once you get set up, you can reuse your template each month and just change the content.
Note: Email service providers like Outlook or Office 365 can also help you create and automate welcome emails that go to your new subscribers.
Once your email is sent, you can review the analytics on its performance. You can see how many people opened your message and clicked the links within it. This makes it easy to measure your success and get a clear picture of what content your customers appreciate.
Although it’s wise not to get bogged down with numbers, remember that the right information at the right time is what’s going to get your emails opened and, more importantly, read. This site gives a fantastic insight into when to send your emails to get the best response for your industry.
Now that you see the value of a newsletter, we hope you’re willing to give it a go. Here’s how to create an effective newsletter email quickly:
What are the essential elements of a winning newsletter?
First, always keep in mind that the goal of your newsletter is to entertain, educate, inspire, or convince. This is not a place to hard-sell your product or services.
Every business is different, and newsletters can vary significantly. However, they all have these 5 essential elements in common.
1. Write a subject line that gets your email opened
Your subject line is one of the most important sentences. If this short phrase doesn’t catch your reader’s eye, your email won’t even be opened. Because peoples’ inboxes fill up so quickly these days, the line “August Monthly Newsletter” is likely to just be ignored. You really need to be more creative.
It can be challenging to write an eye-catching subject line at first, but here are some tips to help you:
- The best subject lines are typically 30-50 characters long. These days, more people check email on mobile devices so long subject lines can get clipped.
- Avoid words that get your messages marked as spam. Words like “Free” or “Buy Now” can prevent your message from being delivered. You can get some more tips on keeping your email from going to spam folders here.
- Use a tool like CoSchedule’s Subject Line Tester. This is a great way to optimize your subject lines and get instant feedback.
Remember, even though it’s just one sentence, take your time on it. Try writing several versions of it. One trick that works for many professionals is to set a timer for 10 minutes and jot down as many subject lines as possible. Then go back and pick the one that stands out to you the most.
2. Share engaging, useful, and entertaining content
Be careful: Aim to come across like a knowledgeable leader, not an annoying salesperson. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Is this a message you’d like to receive from a business?
Focus on engaging your customers by giving them value. Think about what would be most interesting to them with regards to your business. You can answer the questions you get asked most often, share helpful tips and resources, and discuss industry trends. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Your latest news and company highlights
What’s happened this month? Have you introduced a new service or completed an exciting project?
Don’t be shy about sharing what’s happening in your business’ world. Keep your language friendly, straightforward, and relatable. Make sure you sound human – sounding like a robot will alienate your audience immediately. Try using bullet points to make your content easy for your readers to skim and digest. Remember that a wall of text is going to get your readers clicking straight out of your email.
Also, keep in mind that your customers may not understand industry jargon. If you use any technical terms, be sure to explain them.
Talk about upcoming special events
Connect your business to seasons, sports events, and community functions. For example, construction companies could share the best time of year to renovate.or a real estate agent could share tips on the best time of year to put your house on the market.
You could also share quotes, jokes, or anecdotes connected to holiday seasons or celebrations days like Mothers’ or Fathers’ Day. If your business is hosting a special event or sale, you might want to give details or provide a link to sign up.
Share customer feedback
Responding promptly to customer feedback is a fantastic way to stand out. What have you been hearing about lately from your customers? As a small business owner, chances are you wear many hats in your day-to-day operations. It’s a great idea to share testimonials from your Facebook page or Google reviews. 94% of Aussies believe reviews to be trustworthy so including this in your newsletter can only be a good thing.
You can also embed surveys into your newsletter to get direct customer feedback. To encourage engagement, you could also include an incentive like a gift voucher or discount. Don’t forget to share your survey results in your next newsletter.
Tips, guides, and resources
Provide your readers with useful information. Share best practices or review products or tools you use on the job. Consider making short how-to videos or sharing a link to your Youtube channel, if you have one. If you notice your customers are making common mistakes, share how to correct them.
This may seem like you’re giving away free expertise, but there is a ton of value here. Giving great advice will help you build trust and customer loyalty.
Spotlight an employee or customer
Many people enjoy behind-the-scenes looks at their favorite local businesses. An employee or client profile can help bring you closer to your community. For example, if you have just completed a reno, take good pictures and write up the client’s story. Sold a house? Consider a walk through video or a profile of the buyer (with their permission, of course!).
For us at Invoice2go, we often have guest speakers share advice in our Facebook groups. Consider collabs with other professionals in your network to share tips in your newsletter.
There is a bonus here: Asking people in your network to contribute can help you establish stronger professional relationships, especially if it benefits you both.
Provide discounts or special offers
While it’s best to avoid hard-selling, occasionally offering a special discount to your subscribers is wise. This makes them feel valued and important, and creates a sense of loyalty.
Consider email-only promotions. Thank them for subscribing to your list and let them know how much you appreciate that they follow you. You can incentivise word-of-mouth about your business by encouraging your readers to share the email with friends and family interested in discounted services.
Here are some examples of newsletters that we hope will inspire you.
3. Make your newsletter visually appealing
You’re a professional, and your emails should reflect that. Formatting your newsletters to look attractive and adding eye-catching images will improve your success rate.
When your content looks good, people will pay more attention, and remember what you have to say. Be aware of copyright laws on images. It’s best to either take your own photos or use a resource like this to get stock photos.
To save time, we recommend using email templates like the ones MailChimp provides. These will help you create a great-looking message in no time.
4. Make sure your writing is easy to read
If you’re not a confident writer, here’s good news: simple is best. You don’t want to use long sentences or complicated language. Write in a friendly way and use a service like Grammarly to make sure there are no typos or spelling mistakes. Consider compounding words (eg. “It is” to “It’s”)- it makes you sound more human and less formal.
Use bullet points and short paragraphs. Take a little extra time to proofread your work. Even if your readers aren’t consciously aware of it, reading material with lots of mistakes will cause them to lose trust. You could even get your partner or a friend to look over it as even the most seasoned proofreaders can miss a typo and a fresh pair of eyes can do wonders.
5. Go for just one main call-to-action
When you sit down to write your letter, think about its primary goal for that month. Do you want customers to give you feedback? Do you want them to read a new blog post or watch a video?
Make your call-to-action easily visible – either at the top of your letter or in larger text. While it’s OK to have secondary calls-to-action, have those be smaller or lower down in your message. Too many CTAs can confuse your reader or have them take action on items that are less important for you.
Keep in mind: all of this requires time and experimentation. Don’t expect your first email to be a massive success. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Over time, you will learn more about your customers and types of content they appreciate.
Writing newsletters doesn’t have to be a chore. Many come to enjoy this task once they get started. With this guide’s help, we hope to save you time and ensure you’re delivering superb content. Email is still one of the most personal and direct ways to connect with your customers, despite the rise of social media.
If you want to know exactly how to set up and send out your newsletter with email marketing service, MailChimp, check out our article that explains how to do that step-by-step here.
Want to get feedback from our community about your newsletter? Join our Facebook groups to share and pick up more valuable tips and tricks for your business.