Newsletters often get a bad rap - we’ve all received boring ones that fail to offer any useful information and provide "updates" on topics about which we neither know nor care. But, believe it or not, newsletters don't have to be tedious.
In fact, email is still a powerful weapon in your inbound marketing arsenal. They can help you to nurture leads and delight customers, by providing useful information that answers their questions, solves their problems, and generally piques their interest. Regularly sending out informative and useful content can strengthen the relationships you have with the people that need or are already using your product or service.
But where do you start? How do you come up with engaging newsletter content that doesn't bore the socks off your readers? If you're stuck for email newsletter ideas, here are three easy ones to get you started:
1. Blog posts and curated content
A newsletter containing a mixture of your own blog posts and curated content from other sources is a great way to promote your blog and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise – while offering your readers helpful and educative information.
For example, you might decide to send out a monthly or bimonthly newsletter that contains four of your recent blog posts, as well as two pieces of content from other recognised sources that you think are worth reading. Don’t be afraid to promote other people’s content. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it actually shows that you have a genuine interest in your industry and the topics that surround it - and it certainly won’t drive people away from your website, or dissuade them from doing business with you.
Speaking on Rainmaker.FM, Brian Clark says: "There really is an opportunity here because you can still build an audience as long as you are creating the value. Here you are creating the value by finding the best, eliminating the dreck and sending that to people."
By finding the best content out there and sending it to your audience, you prevent them from having to do the work themselves. Therefore, you establish yourself as a trusted source of information.
Of course, you should only send out your newsletter to people that have given you their permission to be contacted. So if you want to reach a larger audience, it’s good practice to include a newsletter opt-in button on your blog homepage and at the bottom of individual blog posts. It's also worth placing a call-to-action (CTA) button at the bottom of your newsletter offering an eBook or other content that you have created, to encourage greater engagement with your content and to move leads further along the sales funnel.
2. Industry news and events
Whenever something significant happens in your industry, it creates an opportunity to send out an email newsletter to your contacts. From new legislation to technological breakthroughs and recent trends, there’s usually plenty of scope to get creative.
For instance, you might write about (or even "newsjack") a current news story and offer your own take on the issue and its implications for your industry. This is a simple way to show that your organisation is insightful and doesn't exist in isolation - it positions itself as piece of a larger jigsaw.
You could also ask your audience to provide their own thoughts on a topic – perhaps using a CTA in your email linking to a quick survey. You could then comment on the results in an additional newsletter. And in doing so, you've killed two birds with one stone: engaged with your audience and found out more about their needs and opinions.
Events, industry shows and exhibitions also offer a wealth of newsletter opportunities. From a one-off blog post on your experiences at the event; to footage filmed throughout the day; and interviews and titbits sourced from prominent people in attendance: there are numerous ways you can invite your newsletter audience to enjoy a slice of the action.
3. New products and services
Do you have a new product that you want to promote? Or have you made a change to your service offering? If you are continually innovating or developing your products and services in response to feedback and ideas from your customers, newsletters can be an excellent format for spreading the word.
For example, you might create an email containing images and explaining the features and benefits of a new product; or you might produce a video in which you explain directly to your audience how your service has been improved - and how they can enjoy the subsequent benefits.
And you don't only have to focus on the new. For folks, further down the sales funnel, why not consider sending out information sheets that answer the most common questions about your existing products or service; or creating a series of webinars that offer a behind-the-scenes look at your organisation and its processes? You don't have to give everything away - just enough to inform your customers; make them feel that they are important to you, you want to alleviate their pain or fulfil their expectations.
When we think of newsletters, we don't usually get excited. They can so often fall into the blanket "sell, sell, sell" category or else, the "company XYZ newsletter" highlighting last week's quarterly quiz or a new way to streamline morning meetings... who cares?
However, when they contain the right content, email newsletters are anything but dull - and they can make an impact. Within inbound marketing, they have the potential to cultivate and cement your relationships with your prospects and customers. Whether blog posts, industry news, commentary or service updates: the right email newsletter ideas for the right audience can help your business to flourish.