I am often asked to present to networking groups about Social Media.  To me, Social Media is all about engaging with your contacts using the tool or tools that are most appropriate for your business and your audience.

An effective tool could be, if used correctly, a newsletter.

Concise Training Newsletter

A newsletter allows you to talk directly to those customers who already like or use you.  They may have already worked with you, or they may have chosen to hear what you have got to say.  What better audience could you ask for?  I get either positive feedback or sales from each newsletter I send.  Have a look at my latest newsletter.

Newsletters (like all engagement) can backfire if you don’t get it right – consider the following points:

1. Interest

Think about who you are talking to – what do they want to hear?  I try to include both news about Concise Training as well as tips & tricks that my audience might find useful.  It is important to make sure that your newsletter is easy to read and interesting.

2. Contacts

To whom are you sending your email newsletter?  Ask permission to add somebody to your list to avoid being thought of as a spammer.  Encourage people to join up to your newsletter through your website as well as using other forms of Social Media.  I have grown my contact database slowly and carefully over the past year or so.  I get few unsubscribes and a good percentage of clicks and opens.

3. Regular

Decide how often you are going to send the newsletter and stick to it as much as possible.  I send my email newsletters out monthly – quarterly may work better for your business.  It is a decision based on your resources, your availability of interesting articles and your audience.  Once you have decided on a timescale – stick to it!  Yes, it can be a pain having to write it – but make the effort – the results make it worthwhile!  In an ideal world, you would map out what was going to be in each newsletter 6 months in advance!

Think about the time of the week you send your newsletter out. Is it appropriate to send it out in the evening – or would your audience be more attentive during the week?  What day is more likely to work for your audience?  You may want to send the same newsletter out to different samples of people at different times to test the audience.

4. Professional

Remember your newsletter reflects your brand and values of your company.  A newsletter full of spelling or grammatical errors can be worse than no newsletter at all.  Take the time to check that the words are correct and the links work.  If you can, include your brand, colour and logo.  As a starting point, I would recommend creating your own newsletters using MailChimp which is a great application, free to send to up to 2,000 contacts.

5. Measure / FollowUp

Once you have sent the newsletter out, don’t forget to check who clicked on what link and how many times the newsletter was opened by the same person.  This might be a clue that you ought to follow up this person with a call?  Compare the click through or open rates over time – identify any newsletters that were / were not successful as try to identify why.

How successful have you found your email newsletter? – or why have you decided that this form of marketing isn’t for you?  Let me know.