Company newsletters are a great way to reach out to potential and existing customers. It’s an affordable and versatile tool to spread the word about your products, offers and latest news and hence one of the best marketing channels for small businesses.
I’ve already blogged about the benefits of newsletters and how to get started. Today I share my ideas which help you grow and improve your mailing list — to make sure you get the best results for your efforts:
1. Sign-Up Forms
The most important tool when you want to grow your mailing list is a sign-up form. If you are using newsletter services like Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor or a newsletter plug-in for your WordPress website, you can easily generate a sign-up form and a link to one that you can use to encourage potential customers to join your mailing list. If you are using a custom-made newsletter system, ask your developer to implement a branded sign-up form for you.
Embed this form into your website and don’t even think about hiding it away somewhere in the footer. For your website visitors to see and being able to use it, it needs to be in a prominent position, best somewhere at the top. Consider also to have it either on every page or at least on several of your web pages, e.g. your contact page as well as your product pages.
You can also use the link to this form by adding it to your digital marketing activities. If you have a blog, add the link to every blog post. On social media create sign-up tabs (Facebook) and pins (Pinterest) and post the link regularly to advertise your newsletter to interested readers. You can even add the link to your email signature for optimum reach.
If you have anything that you can offer people as a free download on your website (e.g. your ebook, a presentation or a white paper of some sorts), you can link that to your sign-up form and offer them the free download in exchange for their email address.
Keep it short and simple
When it comes to your sign-up form there are two things to keep in mind: Always make the process as easy as possible for the customer and never forget a call-to-action (CTA). It’s very important to keep the form short and simple by only asking for the information you really need. And never, ever forget to tell them why they should join your mailing list in the first place. People who know how often they are going to receive your emails and what the content will be are more likely to make an informed choice — and not to unsubscribe again at the first opportunity.
2. Share Buttons
Social media and content marketing in general is all about sharing. Something you should use to generate more readers for your regular newsletter. For this to work you have to make sure that your newsletter is worth sharing in the first place, by making sure that your content is relevant to the reader, entertaining and interesting.
Forward to a friend
Make it easy for existing readers to forward your newsletter to their friends, family and colleagues who might also be interested in your content or latest offer. Most systems offer a ‘Forward To A Friend’ link that you can implement in your newsletter. And don’t forget to add a ‘subscribe’ link as well in case the new arrivals like what they see and want to sign up as well.
Another option are social sharing buttons that enable people to share the newsletter with their friends on the likes of Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Again, just adding a link isn’t enough, actively encourage people to share your newsletter by adding a call-to-action.
Social media posts
You can also share the newsletter itself on social media channels. This grows your general readership and, if prompted properly, can lead to new sign-ups. And don’t hesitate to share it several times, especially if you have a limited offer or if you want to announce your next newsletter.
When you attend networking events, trade shows or conferences, never forget about your newsletter. Every time you make a new contact ask yourself if this person would benefit from receiving your emails — and act accordingly.
If you are exhibiting, you can easily collect email addresses for your newsletter at your stand. Have a printed sign-up list ready or your tablets fired up with your online sign-up form to collect new addresses for your mailing list. To encourage people, you could offer a little prize draw for everyone who signs up during the event.
As a visitor you’ll collect business cards from everyone you met and talked to. Rather than adding them to your mailing list without asking (and alienate them in the process), I’d highly recommend sending them an email. Tell them about your newsletter by linking to your latest one as example. Let them know how frequent you’re sending it out, that you’ll protect their data and they can unsubscribe anytime. Then give them the choice to either confirm their subscription or unsubscribe.
The last bit is very important. Always ask people, add an opt-in for subscribers to make sure they really want to receive your emails. It doesn’t do you any good if people on your mailing list have never signed up for it and are not interested in your content. When it comes to your newsletter, it’s better to have a few actively engaged readers than a lot who delete your email as soon as it appears in their inbox.
It might sound counterproductive, but consider sending an opt-in email once a year to everyone on your mailing list to tidy up and make sure people are still aware that they are signed up for news from your company. This will lead to a few unsubscribes but will also improve the quality of your mailing list and your response rate. And it’s also a great way to reactivate the quieter ones among your readers.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
Newsletters – A Great Way to Boost Your Business
Is Your Marketing Annoying People?
Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Leads
7 Marketing Checks for Your Small Business