Learn How to Share Great Content and Build Stronger Relationships With Your Customers
There’s no doubt that the quality of your communication determines the calibre of your relationships. Whether you are communicating with your life partner or writing a small business newsletter, your ability to express yourself properly can have a significant impact on what you are trying to achieve.
If you’re trying to grow your business but are struggling, you may find that your communication skills might be holding you back. Business owners who invest more time and energy into clear communication strategies see the following benefits:
- Building trust between both employers and customers
- Increased productivity
- Better team morale
- Improved marketing results
It’s important to keep in mind that communication takes many shapes and forms. It’s everything from how you greet your customers in person, to the way you send emails to your colleagues and the writing that can be found on your website. It plays an indispensable role in attracting prospects, building loyalty, and even making it easier for clients to pay for your services.
There’s no doubt that you’re an expert in your field and that when you’re on the job, you’re delivering high-quality work. However, have you recently taken the time to assess how you could improve your marketing and overall communication?
We’re determined to build up our resources and supply you with valuable business tips that will help you grow. We want to go beyond just empowering you with a straightforward app. We also aim to inspire you and give you actionable steps you can take to get results for your business.
There’s no doubt that newsletters are a great way to improve communication with your customers. So, we’ve put together this handy guide so that you’ll be able to share effective content in no time – even if you’re not completely confident in your copywriting skills or if you’ve never sent an email to your customers before.
We’ll start by reviewing information on building a marketing strategy and how a newsletter can fit 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 if you’ve been running your own business for some time now, there will be something in this guide that will benefit you. Let’s dive in:
Why do you need a small business newsletter?
A newsletter is just one aspect of your marketing strategy. Did you know that 1 in 4 small businesses in the UK don’t have a marketing plan? If your business doesn’t have one yet, don’t worry – you’re not alone. In fact, it means that there are some small changes you can make right now to help you win more business.
Our marketing guru, Natalee Brown, recently shared 8 steps to better small business marketing. If you haven’t watched this yet, it has a wealth of useful information for setting up a strategy.
Email marketing is perhaps the most cost-effective way to reach out to prospects and build relationships with them. If you think you would benefit from resources on how to get started with email marketing, we also have a video masterclass on that topic.
A newsletter is potentially one of the most important emails your customers will receive from you. Here’s why you should spend the time on newsletters, even if you’re busy or don’t consider yourself much of a writer:
Your customers check their email every day
Email is more powerful than ever, and the average person checks their email 15 times per day. This means that if you send consistently engaging material, your customers will read it. In fact, a well-timed, high-quality email might even be welcomed.
Build 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 this database to build stronger relationships.
There are a few ways newsletters can do this. Here are just a few examples:
- You can share photos of recent projects, useful tips, or behind the scenes insights into 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. Always ask yourself: is this content helpful and of value to my audience?
- Want to know more about what your customers want and how to serve them better? Ask them. You can do this by creating a survey to find out the needs of your customers. This will give you direct feedback, and you can use this information to give your company a competitive edge.
By consistently showing up in your customers’ inboxes with content that speaks to their needs, you’ll stay top of mind. They’ll be more ready to reach into their wallets when they need your help.
It’s also one of the most cost-effective ways to connect. Running ads in your local newspaper isn’t cheap. Even paid social media marketing can get costly over time. An email newsletter requires only the time it takes to write it, and potentially the cost of your email service provider. Did you know that email return on investment can be up to twice as high as other digital marketing channels?
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, you’ll likely find that the process is easier than you think. Conveniently, email marketing platforms have a variety of templates to help you. Once you get set up, you can reuse your template each month and whilst simply changing the content.
Note: Email service providers also help you create and automate welcome emails that go to your new subscribers.
Once your email is sent, you will be privy to valuable insights that can be found in the performance metrics of the email. You can see how many people opened your message and how many of those people clicked the links. This makes it easy to measure your success and get a clear picture of what types of content are resonating with your customers. This will allow you to, over time, learn how to send the best information at the optimal times.
Hopefully by now you are beginning to see the value of a newsletter, and you’re willing to try it out for your business. If so, here’s how to create an effective one quickly:
What are the essential elements of a winning newsletter?
Firstly, always keep in mind the goal of your newsletter: whether it is to entertain, educate, inspire, or convince. This is not a place to hard-sell your services.
Every business is different, and newsletters can vary significantly. However, all good emails 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 in your email. If this short phrase doesn’t catch your reader’s eye, chances are your message won’t get read. As people get so many emails these days, the line “August Monthly Newsletter” is unlikely to be opened. You 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. Keep in mind that more people check email on mobile devices, and long subject lines can get clipped.
- Avoid words that get your messages marked as spam. These include words like “Free” or “Buy Now” and can prevent your message from being delivered.
- Use a tool like Subject Line to test your ideas before hitting send. This is a great way to optimise your subject lines and get instant feedback.
Remember, even though it’s just one sentence, take your time with it and feel free to write several versions of it before deciding which one you will use. One trick that works for many email marketing pros is to set a timer for 10 minutes and jot down as many subject lines as possible. You can then go back and pick the one that stands out to you the most.
2. Share engaging, useful, and entertaining content
Don’t be too salesy: 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, in a way that’s relevant to your company. Think about the questions you get most often, helpful tips, resources, and industry trends you can share. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Your latest news and company highlights
What’s happened in your business this month? Have you reached a milestone, introduced a new service or completed an exciting project? Don’t be shy about sharing what’s happening in your business, as well as any upcoming milestones.
Keep your language friendly and human, and remember 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 the seasons, holidays, and special events in your community. For example, for construction companies, you could provide insight on the best time of year to renovate.
You could also share quotes, funny stories, or anecdotes connected to holidays or happenings coming up in your community. If your business is hosting a special event or sale, you could give the details or provide a link to sign up.
- Share customer feedback
Responding promptly to customer feedback is a great 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. Use your newsletter to answer common questions or share testimonials from review sites.
You can also embed surveys into your newsletter to get direct customer feedback. To encourage engagement, you can include a participation prize like a gift card or discount. Then, don’t forget to share your survey results in your next newsletter.
- Tips, guides, and resources
Provide your readers with useful information. You could share best practices or review products or tools that you use on the job. You might even consider making short how-to videos or tutorials. If you notice your customers are making common mistakes, teach them how to correct themselves.
This may seem like you’re giving away free expertise, but there is still plenty of value here. Giving great advice will help you build trust and customer loyalty, and it will ensure that your emails get opened.
- Spotlight an employee or customer
Many people enjoy behind-the-scenes footage of their favourite local businesses. An employee or client profile can help bring you closer to your community. For example, if you just completed reflooring someone’s home, take some pictures and share the client’s story.
- Guest posts
For us at Invoice2go, we often have guest speakers who share advice in our Facebook groups. Consider calling on other professionals in your network to share their best tips in your newsletter.
This can also go beyond getting free content. Asking people in your network to contribute can help you establish stronger professional relationships.
- Provide discounts or special offers
Whilst it’s best to avoid hard-selling, occasionally offering a special discount to your subscribers can be a valuable marketing tool.
You may want to consider email-only promotions which will make your mailing list feel like VIPs. Thank them for subscribing to your list and let them know how much you appreciate their support. 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 email to look great, and adding eye-catching images will improve your success rate.
There’s no denying that when your content looks sharp, people pay more attention and remember more of what you have to say. Just be careful that you are complying with copyright laws. Be sure to take your own photos or use a stock image finder like this to find relevant 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. There’s no need to use long sentences or complicated language. Write in a friendly way, as if you were chatting to a friend, but keep it professional. And don’t forget to get your spelling right! Always use a service like Grammarly to make sure there are no typos or spelling mistakes.
Keep it concise and easy to read with bullet points and short paragraphs. It’s worth taking 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.
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 painstakingly obvious by placing it either at the top of your newsletter or in larger text. While it is OK to have secondary calls-to-action, keep them smaller or lower down in your message. Competing 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. There’s no need to expect your first email to be a massive success. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Over time, you will undoubtedly learn more about your customers and the types of content they appreciate.
Writing newsletters doesn’t have to be a gruelling process, and we find that many come to enjoy this task once they get started. With the help of this guide, we hope to save you time and ensure you’re delivering superb content each time you hit send. Remember, despite the rise of social media, email is still one of the most personal and direct ways to connect with your customers.
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.