There’s no greater travesty in direct mail than when someone gives up after one try. Sadly, we see it time and time again. They send out one newsletter, don’t get the results they’re hoping for and then call it quits. That’s not how it works! And if you’ve been the culprit of that in the past, what stopped you from continuing it?
Let me ask you a question (put on your consumer hat here). If you receive something at home from either a company you’ve purchased from or have an interest in, would you develop a relationship after one piece? Or would you respond better when you’ve been receiving their monthly newsletter for a year? So why are we so quick to shut down our business newsletter when we haven’t given it a chance to produce the results it can? You gotta give it time.
I want to highlight two aspects that will allow you to maximize your newsletter so it produces the results you’re looking for. Develop consistency and provide opportunities for involvement.
To develop consistency, you need to have a schedule. How often are you sending your newsletter? Is it monthly? Quarterly? Every other month? Whatever you have decided, stick to it. Your readers will begin to look forward to receiving the next issue when they know exactly what they're getting and when it’s coming.
Here’s a prime example of how that’s actually true. My wife is subscribed to a million and one monthly subscription services but one in particular she loves is Ipsy. It’s a monthly subscription service that sends her a package filled with five make up items. And boy does it have her hooked. On the 3rd of every month she gets a notification letting her know that she can check the preview of what’s going to be coming in her package that month. Then she always receives the package between the 13th and the 15th of every month. In fact, she gets so excited to receive this that she calls me on my way home to ensure I get the mail as soon as possible. Just in case someone might take it out of our mail box in the hour before she gets home. (insert eye roll) Do you think Ipsy has nailed down this consistency thing?
They’ve done such a great job with consistency that their customers know what to expect and when to expect it. What would happen with your newsletter if your customers knew what to expect and when to expect it?
What would happen with your newsletter if your customers knew what to expect and when to expect it?
Remember, getting to that point is hard work. It takes months of being disciplined and sending it out on time. Your recipients will have trouble identifying your pattern if you're skipping months here and there, or sending it at random times. Of course obstacles can get in the way, but if you want the results, you have to be willing to stay disciplined with your schedule.
The second aspect to maximize your newsletter is providing opportunities for involvement. Going back to Ipsy, they do a great job of getting their customers involved. They allow my wife to provide her preferences for products, and then give her a preview of her upcoming package. She wouldn’t feel as connected if she just sat around waiting every month after giving her information on the initial sign up. By allowing her to interact with her product multiple times a month, she feels invested in what she’s receiving.
How can you allow your recipients to feel invested in what they’re receiving?
Contests are a great idea for giving your readers a reward for reading and the opportunity to participate. In our monthly newsletter, we create a crossword puzzle contest and award the first two participants who complete it with gift cards. This is a fun way for them to get involved, and a chance to receive an easy $25 gift card by reading. Other ideas for contests are word searches, quizzes, and “find the misspelled” word. It doesn’t have to be some elaborate activity. Something simple and easy to follow along with can provide the feeling of investment for your readers.
Besides activities for “entertainment,” newsletters can be effective vessels for increasing your sales. Use an insert to promote your newest service or product. Run a special for the upcoming month and highlight it several times in your newsletter. Let your readers know about a company event coming up, and give them a preview of how they can benefit by attending.
One of the most effective ways we see our customers use newsletters for, is to increase referrals. Many of our clients promote referral contests and giveaway awesome prizes for the winners. Try running a referral contest for the next two months, promote it with your newsletter insert, and let your readers know about it. This gets your promotion in front of your customers eyes. Since you’ve already developed that consistency, you can be confident that they’re going to be reading it. Since they feel invested in your company, they'll be more willing to promote to their friends. Plus, they have a strong chance to be rewarded for their efforts. This can increase participation in contests where you may have struggled in the past.
Learn more about the other keys to newsletter success.
Keep At It!
Let me close with this. Establishing a quality newsletter that performs is hard work! It takes time and it takes months and months of consistency. If you’re feeling discouraged with how yours is performing right now, stay with it! Keep at it and don’t give up. If you keep providing your readers with helpful content and opportunities to get involved, you will reap the benefits for your efforts. You got this!