Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with your audience and communicate information about new products, services, and ideas. Once you get your newsletter up and running, you should be able to keep up with it while only spending a modest amount of time each month managing the process.
While that all sounds great, anyone who has operated a newsletter previously knows one thing to be true – it’s hard to come up with fresh ideas every month. You might find that you are writing about the same things over and over again, which is not going to be content that people on your list will want to consume. So, in this article, we are going to discuss how you can keep developing fresh ideas that will engage your audience and drive your business forward.
The Benefits of a Monthly Newsletter
Having plenty of motivation behind your newsletter is a helpful way to keep yourself accountable for the task of producing this content consistently. In other words, if you understand just how valuable a newsletter can be for your business, you will be more likely to keep up with it month after month. So, before we dive into ideas for newsletter content, let’s first stop to talk about some of the many benefits of this type of marketing.
- Drive traffic. Simply put, newsletters are a great way to get people onto your website. You spend plenty of time working on your site and making it as effective as possible, so it only makes sense that you’ll want to bring people to those pages over and over again. You can drive traffic through other methods – like PPC ads – but some of those other channels can be expensive. With a newsletter, you keep bringing people from your list back to your site time after time, and doing so can go a long way towards converting sales of your products or services.
- Create further engagement. Someone on your email list reading a newsletter is one form of engagement, but you might find that connecting in this way is also able to drive engagement in other areas. Specifically, delivering a consistent newsletter – that is full of valuable content – could compel some of the readers to follow your social media channels. This kind of positive cycle can help you grow your following in all areas and you’ll suddenly be reaching a larger audience with each message you send out, no matter what platform it happens to be on.
- Build anticipation. If you have an upcoming sales event – like a new product launch or a discount on one of your popular products – you can use the newsletter to make an announcement and build anticipation for that date. This might be more effective than a separate email with that announcement, since recipients will be used to opening your newsletter and will get more out of it than just a sales pitch. Blending sales initiatives with genuinely valuable content in a newsletter can help you get better open and click-through rates than you would be likely to achieve with a marketing-only message.
There are certainly more potential benefits to using a monthly newsletter than the three points listed above, but you get the idea. You have a lot to gain here, as long as you can consistently produce ideas that will lead to valuable content your audience wants to consume.
How to Generate Great Ideas
We can’t, in this article, tell you exactly what to write about in your newsletter. The specific topics you cover are going to depend entirely on what your business does, who your audience is, and so much more. With that said, we can point you in the right direction by providing some ideas for types of newsletter content that have proven to work well for others. By reviewing these ideas and applying them strategically to your own business, you may be able to produce a newsletter that people will be excited to receive.
The obvious place to start when looking for ideas for your newsletter is any news that is relevant to your business – it’s right there in the name, after all. So, if there are any notable events or occasions that relate to what your customers can expect from you, this would be a great place to provide that info. We talked about this concept in the previous section and it’s something you should plan on making one of the featured elements in the monthly content you distribute. In fact, you might want to even build a “What’s New” (or similarly named section) into the design of the newsletter so people can quickly catch up with what’s going on.
Unfortunately, news around your business is unlikely to provide enough content material to produce a newsletter that is useful to anyone. Many months, there simply won’t be much going on, and that section of the newsletter will be quite short. This is why you need to be armed with plenty of other ideas that you can bring into the fold to expand on your message and produce something that delivers value to the reader.
- Blog post promotion. If you are good about adding content to your blog on a regular basis, you can use the newsletter to promote that post and drive traffic to the site. A good way to do this is by summarizing the blog post right there in the newsletter and then providing a link if people want to read the whole thing. This way, the reader gets value even if they don’t click through to the blog, but they can easily do so if the topic is of interest. This is an effective way to get more use out of your blog and make sure your audience is noticing the interesting content you’ve been posting.
- Present a case study. Case studies are one of the best types of newsletter content. Depending on the type of business you run, you may be able to reach back to contact previous customers or clients to ask them about participating in a case study. Those who agree can be featured and you can collect some quotes from them about how your products or services solved a specific problem or helped them achieve a goal. Case studies are effective for a couple of reasons – first and foremost, they allow the reader to see themselves in the people that are being featured in the case study. They will recognize the struggles they discuss and see that you are offering a good solution. Also, case studies show that you maintain positive relationships with past customers, which reflects well on your business and will encourage others to trust you.
- Ask questions. Newsletters can also be a great way to gather feedback from your audience. Consider adding a section where you ask questions of the reader and encourage them to reply to the message with their responses. You might be surprised to find how many responses you will get, and the things people say can help you make more informed decisions about your business. For instance, if you ask something about why they haven’t purchased from you recently, or what they are interested in your brand offering, you might get responses that can direct strategic choices you make in the coming months.
- Advertise for employees. Another type of content that can be added to your newsletter is a section where you post job openings and ask for applicants. It’s worth remembering that everyone on your list might not be a potential customer – there could be some people who are interested in what you do from a business perspective and want to learn about your tactics and marketing strategies. Some of those people may be interested in working with you if they find out about opportunities through the newsletter. It’s harder than ever before to find people to fill roles in your company, so this is another good place to look.
Is Segmentation Necessary?
One thing you might consider doing with your email list when sending out a newsletter is breaking it down into specific segments. By breaking up your list, you can better target people on that list based on past behaviors, expressed interests, and more. That might mean you produce more than one monthly newsletter, so you can send a targeted version out to various segments, or you might only send your newsletter to a subset of the list that is deemed suitable for the content.
But is this step necessary? Is segmentation something you need to worry about when diving into the world of marketing newsletters, or can you keep it simple and just send the message to everyone on your list all at once? We can’t give you a single, definitive answer here, but the points below should help you come to the conclusion that will be best for your needs.
- Do it as a service. When trying to decide whether you are going to segment your list, focus on doing what is right for the audience rather than what could drive sales or profits. This is a good time to think about the customer first and foremost – would segmentation make for a better newsletter experience? If so, it might be worth the effort to make it happen. If you can’t think of how your list would benefit from this step, however, don’t bother and keep spending your time and energy elsewhere.
- Consider list size. You’ll want to have a rather sizable list before you even think about going ahead with a plan to create segments. It’s simply not worth the trouble to make segments within a list that only has 100 subscribers, for example. Sure, you can be collecting information that might help you segment the list later, but if you are just getting started or only have a very small subscriber base, focus on making the best possible content and save segmentation as a strategy for later on.
- Have a clear plan. Don’t just segment your list because it seems like an advanced marketing move to make. Instead, only do it if you have a very clear purpose for what you will accomplish by dividing things up in this way. What information do you want to deliver to one part of your audience that doesn’t need to be delivered to another segment of the audience? If you can’t answer that question, this technique might not be necessary.
Without a doubt, creating and sending out a monthly newsletter is worth the time and effort required to produce it. Staying engaged with your audience should be one of your primary marketing goals, and a newsletter will take you a big step in that direction. We hope the ideas in this article will help make your newsletter more interesting – and easier to produce – than ever before. Good luck!
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