Category Archives: Your Newsletter

Welcome New Newsletter Subscribers

Importance of the Welcome Email

It’s easy to overlook that welcome email that you send to new subscribers to your newsletter, but that’s a big mistake.  Why?  Because, as an Experian white paper shows, welcome emails have an open rate that’s much higher than typical newsletter open rates.

Welcome Email OpensThis chart, from the Experian white paper, shows an open rate for welcomes at nearly 58%, compared with about 15% for typical newsletters.

Note also that the click rate is also much higher, nearly seven times as high.

So the welcome email is a great time to reach prospects and customers with your message.

When Should You Send It

Immediate vs Batch WelcomeYour newsletter software may offer you a choice between sending the welcome right away or in a batch at some later time.

The right time is right away!  The same Experian white paper shows the open and click rates for immediate welcomes is much higher than for later, batch welcomes–as you’d expect–when someone has just subscribed, you’re on their mind.

If your newsletter software won’t send a message to new subscribers, this advantage is important enough that you should replace it.  An excellent and very popular WordPress newsletter plugin–the one I use–is MailPoet.  The free version lets you send an immediate welcome.

The First Message

Start by thanking the new subscriber for joining the list.  Then deliver your first message–your vision and mission, told in your own voice.  What are you up to?  What do you deliver, and to which people?

This is your opportunity to tell this customer or prospect that you stand for and deliver things that are important and worthwhile, to reinforce the message that was already delivered about you, that drew this subscriber to you in the first place.

Remember the old saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression!  This is your opportunity to deliver the basic message about your whole business and what you stand for.

Now Offer a Surprise

All of us love to be surprised!  This is your chance to delight your new subscriber with a surprise.  What sorts of things can you use to do this?  The advantage of the welcome newsletter is that you’re not setting a pattern here–this is the first one, so you can offer a welcome gesture that you may not repeat.

Because this is a special occasion, the usual caution about offering discounts in the newsletter–that they can undermine your price structure and create you a body of customers who won’t buy at regular price–doesn’t apply.  You can offer a discount coupon.  You can even offer a more dramatic special–if you’re a restaurant, offer a “bring a friend” coupon with two meals for the price of one!  Be careful to call it a one-time welcome offer so that it’s clear this will not be a regular event.

You can also offer other surprises, such as free shipping, all sorts of goodies as premiums, or even an ebook.  Whatever suits your particular business.

The Standard Outline

If you’re a regular reader of these notes, you’re aware that I recommend that you establish a standard outline for your newsletters, and follow it with each one.  This allows the subscriber to know what to expect–there will be a recipe, perhaps, perhaps an interesting client story, perhaps a description of a new product feature.  This way, if your subscriber likes one newsletter, she knows that subsequent newsletters will be of interest too.

For the welcome newsletter, forget the standard outline!  This newsletter has a very special job to do that’s different from other newsletters, so you don’t need to follow your regular pattern.

The Bottom Line

Establish a special welcome to new subscribers of your newsletter.  And in this welcome, offer them something really special.

Of course you have a newsletter!  If not, go directly to jail and do not pass Go.  Instead, read other articles here about your newsletter and get started.  It’s the best way to build your business on the Web.

 

 

 

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Nurture Your Prospects with Your Newsletter

Your List is Central to Your Web Marketing

We have to face it, no matter how persuasive our site might be, most visitors are not going to commit to us on the first visit. Whatever the purpose of the site, and however good it is, that first visit generally doesn’t do the job. So how do we seal the deal? Do we hope that the visitor remembers our URL? Ha! Or bookmarks our site? Maybe…but should we count on it? Or remembers the company name–sort of–and then finds it again through search? When our competitors are likely buying pay-per-click ads on our company name?
The alternative–that really works–is to let the visitor leave a calling card in the form of an email address, subscribing to a newsletter. This provides a way for the visitor to say “I’m interested but not convinced. Keep in touch and remind me of yourself.”

Repetition

It’s often quoted (but not sourced) that in today’s crowded advertising environment, a prospect needs to see a company’s name in a credible context some seven times before becoming ready to seriously consider doing business. So we get that first impression from the Web site–now how about the next six? The newsletter is a good way to get those exposures.

Don’t Sell!

The purpose of the newsletter is to maintain presence of mind. We want the prospect to think of us whenever our area of business comes up. So the newsletter is not the place for sales promotions, or “BUY NOW!” messages. Instead, it’s the place for useful information about what you do, to establish yourself as the business to deal with in your area.

Your List Is Important

Offering an incentive to subscribe can be a good idea. If you write an ebook in your area, offer a free ebook as an incentive to sign up for the newsletter. Your list can become one of you most important assets–it’s your prospect base, being nurtured into becoming customers. These people will refer you to their friends and they will do business with you.

Don’t Share Your List

Few things are less fun than getting unsolicited offers in email, particularly those that are of no interest at all. For this reason, sharing your list with anyone is not a good idea, even if you haven’t promised not to share it. Regard it as a crucial asset whose value you can destroy by sharing it.

The Bottom Line

You will get a few customers who find your site and then commit. If you also add to those the customers who are interested enough to leave an email address, that you bring aboard as customers over a period of time, you can multiply the business results you get from your Web site.

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Why A Newsletter?

Start Your Newsletter!

You may wonder why sites offer newsletters and wonder about their value as sales tools. In my experience, a newsletter is one of the most important selling tools that you can have. It’s a “force multiplier” for your Web site. Here I tell you why I think you should have a newsletter, the goals to set for it and what sort of content it should have. The next issue will talk about an enhancement that can make your newsletter even more effective at automatically bringing business to you.
Small business owners are busy people. They often don’t do newsletters because they are busy and they don’t see the immediate payoff. And doing a good job on a newsletter takes talent and time.

Converted vs Not Converted

We speak of “conversions” of visitors, which is simply getting visitors to do whatever is that we want. It may be buying, increasing awareness, contacting a friend, and so on. A site exists to perform some sort of conversion activity. But what if the visitor isn’t completely convinced, what if she is interested but not completely sold? What happens then? Many sites depend on the visitor’s ability to perhaps remember the URL or perhaps to bookmark it, or to find the site again with a search, hoping that the visitor doesn’t happen on a competitor’s site next time around.
The purpose of a newsletter is to allow the visitor to say “I’m not completely sold but I’m interested. Tell me more and we may do business.” You make it easy for the visitor to leave you an email address, and you follow up with your newsletter, that reminds the visitor of your site and your business and heightens interest.
In today’s world that’s crowded with advertising messages, marketers tell us that a prospect needs to see our business name some seven times in a credible setting before they are prepared to do business with us. So the site visit is number one–how do we get those other six exposures? You got it, through the newsletter! We simply get out the newsletter and we know that we are creating those other six credible exposures.

Don’t Sell

Because the purpose of the newsletter is just to build awareness and credibility, you shouldn’t sell (much) in the newsletter. Now and then a special offer is OK, but the purpose of the newsletter isn’t to present special pricing or to tell prospects that you’d love to have their business–they know that already. It’s to build credibility as appropriate to your business.
If you’re a physician, your expertise is key. But also present a caring staff, a comfortable office, painless treatments, outstanding results, lots of credentials for you and your staff. If you’re renting vacation homes, get across how interesting your area is to visit because of everything that’s happening, how you give great service, how nice your homes are. If you perform dangerous construction maintenance, how qualified your people are, what interesting and challenging jobs you’ve done, what an expert you are on hard problems.
What do I do with this newsletter? I present issues that I deal with every day that I think my readers might find interesting, and my advice on how to deal with them. The idea is that if they have a Web site that isn’t doing the job or know a small business in that situation, they’ll know who to call for help. And they do.
My point is that you’re trying to see at a distance. Think about the message you want to convey and then provide interesting information that conveys the message. For example, if you want to point out what great service your concierges give, ask them to provide some interesting stories about unusual arrangements that they’ve made that have worked out well.

The Bottom Line

Don’t leave your Web site out there making first impressions with no way to get two through seven! Support your investment in your Web site with a newsletter. Give it six months and then look at its effectiveness. Then let me know and I’ll share your success story with my newsletter readership!

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