Stop Selling: How to Correctly Setup Your Company Email Newsletter

By June 2nd, 2013. 3 comments

Tourist Way

Successful newsletters follow a specific formula that is more about conversation than selling.

Image: Tourist Way

Online marketing experts agree that email marketing is the number one tool for marketing your business for long-term brand building. A company email newsletter is your gateway to engage with your customer base in a very personal manner.

However, every day thousands of businesses send out email newsletters to hundreds of thousands of subscribers that are anything but personal and compelling, they are cold and pitch-driven sales letters. Take a moment to think about your last email newsletter. Are you guilty of doing the same? 

How to Setup Company Email Newsletters

It’s fairly easy to get caught up with thinking about all the possibilities for your company email newsletter. You figure that it’s primary objective is to let your subscribers know when and where they can buy your products or services. On the surface that is often true, but you must realize that just sharing your products and services is not the only, and often, not the best way to connect with your customers and potential clients.

For starters, doing so is very one-sided. Effective permission marketing is very transparent and keeps a conversation (relationship) going between you and your subscribers. If the only action you take with your email newsletters is to send them to your landing pages or squeeze page or Amazon page, then you are totally discounting the long-term value that they can bring to your business. You are conveying to them that they are just a sale to you. Subscribers catch on quickly, and when they notice such, they head straight for the unsubscribe option.

That is what you do not want. Your email subscribers have already entrusted you enough to you share their email with you. They are expecting value, exclusivity, and content that is refreshing. So give them what they want, and stop selling.

For a little primer on how to setup your company email newsletter correctly, let’s begin by establishing what goals you want to accomplish with your newsletter that fall outside of direct selling. A strong tried and true strategy is to do the following:

Inform your email subscribers about what you have in your pipeline. Be brief, express excitement, and re-iterate benefits.

Share with your email subscribers, news they can use.

Praise your subscribers for following you and being faithful readers.

Aweber

Aweber, an email newsletter company, understands the importance of images and showcasing case studies and articles.

This formula is a surefire one to follow to maintain momentum and interest in your company email newsletter.

Now, that you have uncovered that the sales angle should not be your only angle or angle period, you may be asking yourself what should you be writing about instead.

If ideas are in short supply, here is a quick list to get you started.

  • Major announcements (new hires, company relocation, etc.)
  • Industry advice series (ideal for marketing, IT, real estate pros)
  • Personal advice series (ideal for life coaches, personal trainers)
  • Collaborations
  • Social responsibility/philanthropy endeavors
  • Customer or Client testimonials
  • Subscriber polls
  • Recent media interviews
  • Give-A-Ways and Promotions
  • Holiday Greetings and Well Wishes
  • Job Listings (are you hiring, if so, let them know)
  • Exclusive invites to events
  • Sneak Peaks
  • A good old fashion Thank You letter

Any number of these ideas can be used at any time, because they are evergreen topics. Email subscribers want to be “in the know” and have a valid reason to open your emails. While you are crafting your email be sure to keep in mind a winning style for your writing as well.

Keep It Conversational

Marks Daily Apple

Mark's Daily Apple opens every email just like a conversation. It then transitions into the latest article...

Image: Mark’s Daily Apple

The conversational style is best.

Your subscribers should feel like an old friend is chatting with them. Think of it as “catching up” with a cherished friend when you are writing your email newsletter. Also, use their first name in the salutation (most email newsletter providers allow businesses to select including a new subscribers name when they are setting up their new subscribers campaign). Doing so adds that extra dose of personalization that people remember and hold dear.

The conversational style routes back to the idea of having two-way communication with your subscribers. This style makes it easy for you to ask them questions, get their opinions, poll them, ask them for help, and all-around catch their interest. This style makes them feel that it is more about them, which in business, is the name of the game.

FreshBooks

FreshBooks asks questions to keep things conversational.

Image: FreshBooks

Your company email newsletter is about showing your expertise and credibility. It allows you to provide additional value to your clients, which is a way to increase the overall value of your brand.

Key Don’ts for your Writing Style

  • Don’t be preachy
  • Don’t be pitchy
  • Don’t use the philosopher approach

People get enough of such in their daily lives, especially in traditional advertising. People open your emails to gain insight, to feel better, to get excited about something.

Once you have targeted and selected a refreshing topic for your next email newsletter and know to keep it conversational for your writing style, now you need to spice up your company newsletter to really get people talking, sharing, remembering.

How to spice up your company email newsletter

Use Compelling Subject Lines

Mercola

Mercola always has compelling article titles and they use them for intriguing subject lines. Tell me you don't want to click on those...

Image: Mercola

A few more potential ideas:

“We gained 2,000 Facebook likes in 2 days because of you”

“There’s only one way to turn your life around by tomorrow morning”

“Your recent success should be applauded”

Notice the reference of “you/your’ in the subject line examples. People eat up personalization. If they think your company email is tailor made with them in mind, then they will be much more likely to open and read your email.

Include Company YouTube Videos

Ramit

Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich includes snapshots of his Ask Ramit video series in his email newsletter.

Video is quickly becoming a prime medium for people to absorb content, especially about companies and brands. Tap into this trend and use it to your advantage. Either imbed your videos directly into your newsletter or include a “You Tube” button in your email for them to view in another window.

Use Witty Photos

Company Email Newsletters SEOmoz

SEOmoz has a great intro that includes a fun image of their branded mascot.

Image: SEOmoz

People are visual, and photos are another form of communication. Place intriguing photos front and center of your non-video emails. To find some of the most intriguing photos on the web, search Pinterest, Photo Pin, and Flickr. Of course give full credit to the owner of the photograph directly below the photo you use.

Share your Pinterest boards that relate to the topic of the newsletter

ShoeMall

Use social media in your emails. Pinterest is very social and engaging.

Image: ShoeMall

This tactic works well no matter what industry your company falls into. From event planning, to motivational speaking, to being a real estate investor, to being a jeweler, Pinterest is a social media darling. It is steadily sending tremendous amounts of traffic to company websites. Plus, once again, it taps into the power of photography (info-graphics count too), and it allows you to use photos in your email newsletter in another way. You’re bending the medium so to speak, and your subscribers will see the value in that.

Provide exclusives just for email subscribers

Hotter

Hotter is a shoe company. They always include letters and content in their email newsletter that is not found anywhere else. It makes subscribing worthwhile.

Image: Hotter

Allow your subscribers to be the only ones privy to your next webinar or to receive a 30-minute complimentary consultation or download your e-book for free. People enjoy the idea of exclusivity because human psychology equips us with the desire to have elite status. Adding this strategy to spice up your emails will go a long way with your email newsletter subscribers.

How to Format Your Company Email Newsletter

A great deal has been covered on how to successfully set up your company email newsletter, but for more of a visual for a winning newsletter, try the following outline:

Photo

1. Introduction (Welcome)

Provide a brief overview of what is going to be covered. Share a helpful tip for your subscribers, and a bit of company news. Also share any client wins or testimonials. People love reading and hearing success stories.

2. Value Content

Three articles your subscribers want to read about. These are ideally from your company blog. Otherwise use three useful articles you’ve read recently.

3. Benefits Content

Remind your email subscribers in a brief paragraph here, why you appreciate them and why they should continue to be a part of your brand.

4. Share with them how to stay in touch

Use this area of your newsletter to either remind or explain where else you can connect with them (online and off) by including your Facebook/Pinterest  buttons, Twitter handle, Google Plus profile link, your business hours, email, and location if you have a brick and mortar store.

5. Outro: Sign off with a teaser for your next email newsletter

Always have what your next email topic will be and entice your readers with a quick glimpse of what’s to come.

Examples:

“Be on the lookout next Monday for Part II of …”

“Our next edition of, Mod Event Planners Daily, will cover how to write your business plan”

“Next Tuesday we will share our interview with finance expert…”

Extras: Final Tips for Company Email Newsletters

Send your email newsletter out at a designated time like clock work. For example; every 30 days, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at exactly 11am.

Segment your email list and send emails that speak to that audience.

For example: volunteers, donors, current clients, past clients, those that have never bought from you, etc.

Make your newsletter scan-able so people can read it easily.

For example: break up your email into short bite sized paragraphs, use paragraph headings, use numbered lists and bullet points.

Email Newsletter Template: Two Examples

Here are two examples of the email template I like to use. These have high opt-in rates. They build rapport with subscribers and really build the relationship you have with your clients and potential clients.

Newsletters are about more than selling. You attract the wrong type of customer if you make offers and do contests and things. A few of the examples above do that, but the real point of this article is to focus on more of a newsletter-type email.

1. Dowling Homes

Dowling Homes Newsletter

2. Inner Strength Pilates

Inner Strength Pilates

Two great examples of the formula there. Click on the Dowling Homes one to view the entire email newsletter.

Conclusion

To sum things up make sure that you are making your company email newsletter totally about your subscribers. Do not use a sales approach. Interject a personable and meaningful touch into your emails to have your content resonate with your subscribers. If you use the pointers provided above, then you will connect with your subscribers on a level that will have them not only looking forward to your email newsletters, but becoming a brand ambassador for your company as well.

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