No two businesses are exactly alike. No two email newsletters should be exactly alike either, right? Right!
What works for one business won’t work for another. There isn’t a one fits-all formula for everyone to use. An HVAC company has a vastly different audience than a chemical engineering company. The type of content, length of articles and calls to action need to be created with the needs of a specific audience in mind. When you know your audience, creating a successful email newsletter becomes a lot easier.
We work with several companies in the home maintenance industry who provide heating and cooling, carpet cleaning, landscape services and flooring installation. Although the businesses are different, their audiences are generally the same. For all of their newsletters we focus on content every homeowner should know. These informative articles give the businesses a way to pitch their product to customers without sounding sales-oriented.
How do they do it? They start with common questions they regularly receive from customers. Those questions are a great jumping off point for newsletter topics. Also, there is a lot of interest in do-it-yourself projects. Would you like to rip out your old carpet and install new carpet yourself? I didn’t think so, but the article gets consumers thinking about carpet.
By sharing the information in a newsletter, the business demonstrates their expertise and reminds existing customers to call for repeat services. The newsletters also give loyal customers something to share to support a referral or recommendation. They write about more than just their products or services.
It’s important to be informative and friendly. Give customers useful tips, but don’t throw out too much information. Customers still need a reason to visit your blog. Incorporate the latest coupon or contest into the content. People love to feel like they they are getting something special so consider an “email only” promotion.
Small businesses in the food industry should focus on visual content. People want to see food products used in new and different ways. Interesting recipes combined with bright, bold and appetizing photos draw customers in. Try adding your latest promotion or coupon into the sidebar of your email newsletter. Link keywords in your content to your blog posts. Don’t list the entire recipe in the newsletter. That’s a poor use of space. Insert a link into your text which leads the reader to the recipe on your blog. This gives the reader the opportunity to explore more of your site.
The more familiar the reader becomes with your product and sees how it’s used, the more likely they are to buy it. The next time they visit the grocery store they’ll think, “Oh, I remember seeing this brand of beans in a chili recipe. I’ll have to give them a try.” Entice your readers to try your product or ask them to recommend it to a friend.
If your business is engineering, chemistry, physics (or any other subject I most likely failed in high school), you have a very distinct audience. Your email newsletters need to be informative and straight forward, focused on facts, details and proof. These newsletters can be a little longer than the type a home maintenance company might send to homeowners.
Talk about new projects or services your company provides. Share case studies and specific examples of how these new products have been applied by other companies. Mini case studies will give your readers an idea of what you can do for them. Supplement this information with industry news and emerging trends. Use your newsletter to establish your company as the subject matter experts in your industry. Even in these technical fields, don’t be afraid to let a little of your company’s personality come through. At the end of the day, people still buy from people. Sharing information about new hires- particularly those involved in sales and customer service- can round out your newsletter.
Instead of coupons, offer links to white papers, case studies and informative tools customers can use to make their job easier as the destination for click throughs from your newsletter.
Your small business only speaks to a select group of people and that’s OK! Format your content so it really resonates with your customers. Want to learn more about email marketing? Check our our Free Guide to Email Marketing.