If you’re unfamiliar with newsletters and how they can be used as a tool for small businesses, consider thinking of them as a handwritten note you’d send to a friend. It’s a direct line of communication between you (your small business) and someone you value (a customer or another local business).
This guide will highlight a few of the noteworthy benefits that newsletters can provide to your business and its surrounding community, as well as outline how to create a successful newsletter step by step to help your Business Page stand out.
Benefits of Newsletters for Small Businesses
As a small business owner, you know every interaction you have with potential customers is one that counts. Sending regular newsletter campaigns is an effective way to cultivate those long-term relationships that are essential to your business’s growth. Read on to learn about how to use newsletters in your marketing strategy.
Build an Engaged Community
One of the most significant benefits newsletters can provide for your business is an actively engaged community. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, consider the conversations you have with clients on a regular basis. Do you chat about upcoming events? Have you shared tips about how a particular product can be useful for them?
While in-person exchanges are certainly a powerful marketing tool to build rapport and trust with your local customers, a custom newsletter can closely resemble this type of conversation in a digital format. Consider how useful it might be to share an upcoming promotion or event with an in-store customer and then follow up with them again with an appropriately timed email.
When done right, a digital newsletter can be a way for local businesses to:
- Keep in touch with their customers
- Educate about a product and its special features
- Inform customers of upcoming events and product launches
- Build credibility and trust with new customers
- Generate new leads
Tom Ahern, the founder of Ahern Donor Communications, reported, “For years, in large part to the newsletter, I’ve never had trouble attracting new clients and the right kinds of clients. People will read my newsletter and be able to tell if I’m the right person for the project before they even call me.”
Aside from fostering quality, intentional communication, newsletters can also be well worth the time and marketing dollars spent on creating them. In fact, research conducted by Litmus showed that for each dollar spent on email marketing, brands saw an average of 42 dollars in return.
That’s a return of over four thousand percent.
With so many free email marketing tools available, starting a digital newsletter can be a low-risk, low-cost investment that can have high-earning rewards for small businesses that take advantage of them.
In addition to being a free marketing tool, newsletters can be advantageous because:
- They can help to increase traffic to your website
- They can be an effective way to improve your brand recognition
- You can target emails to be seen by the right audience
- You can put your expertise on display
- They can generate new leads and conversions
Take a look at your current marketing strategy, see where there is room for improvement, and consider capitalizing on the many benefits that newsletters can provide.
Creating a Great Newsletter for Your Business
If you think that your small business could benefit from starting an online newsletter, then it’s time to get started. From the newsletter content to the newsletter design, make sure your online newsletter is a reflection of your business, its mission, and what it can offer to your local community.
Not sure how to create a newsletter? Keep reading for a step-by-step guide that will walk you through the process.
#1: Determine What You’d Like to Share
The first question you should be asking yourself in this phase of development is, “How can this provide value and purpose to my customers?”
In fact, coming back to this question each time you produce new newsletter content will help to guide your thinking and ensure that customers will be getting the most out of what you create.
Consider if you’d like your newsletter to be:
- Space where customers can offer feedback
- Educational with access to free resources
Perhaps you’ll find that sharing a mix of everything is what works best for your business. Either way, make sure that what you create is rooted in one or several value propositions.
#2: Determine the Frequency of What You’re Sharing
How often would you like to share updates with community members who subscribe to your newsletter? The answer to this question may depend on the amount of content you can develop or the availability of your team to create it. For example, if you’re starting a pressure washing business, a daily newsletter can be overwhelming to stay on top of and it may be more than your audience is looking to receive.
If you’re worried a daily newsletter may come off as spam, consider a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly cadence option instead.
Whatever you decide, stick to your calendar and build consistency with your newsletter subscribers.
#3: Develop the Content
Once you’ve worked out the logistics, it’s time to start creating your newsletter. For your first newsletter, it might be a good idea to lead with an introductory post about your company story or to find an innovative way of highlighting your brand’s values. If you’re a new business that has yet to open its doors to the public, you may consider creating a photo or video tour of the new space to send as a subscriber exclusive.
Keep customers curious and engaged by mixing up the type of content you share. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
- Coupons and promotions
- How-to guides
- Referral programs
- Video demonstrations
- Event invitations
- Job postings
- Blog posts
Make your emails valuable to your customers to be sure your hard work doesn’t end up in the trash bin before it’s even opened.
#4: Customize a Template
Optimize your content by pairing it with an attractive, easy-to-navigate design. By using a newsletter template, you can easily arrange content in blocks using drag-and-drop editing tools while still being able to customize fonts and colors that match your brand. Save yourself time by setting up and saving a template or two that you can reuse for future campaigns.
Here are a few common email newsletter template builders on the market:
Shop around to find one that meets your budget.
#5: Evaluate the Efficacy of Your First Campaign
After spending time developing an email marketing strategy, producing valuable content, and customizing it to pique your customers’ interests, it can be a bit disheartening if the first installment of your newsletter article is met with nothing but crickets. Luckily, many email template builders come with their own set of analytical tools to help you evaluate the efficacy of your campaigns.
Here are few key performance indicators you’ll want to review:
- Delivery rates
- Open rates
- Click-through rates
- Revenue generated per email
Keep track of what emails have been the most successful and why, and consider adjusting your content according to your findings.
Connect With Your Neighborhood Through More Channels
Connecting with your neighborhood gives your small business a greater sense of belonging within your community. It also helps community members feel encouraged to build and sustain a long-lasting, trusting relationship with you and your business offerings. Developing a creative, content-driven newsletter is just one of the many ways to foster this type of relationship.
Another channel worth considering is your Nextdoor Business Page. By creating a free Business Page, you’ll have access to trusted neighbors in your community. Share a promotion, announce an event, and appear in search results among nearby neighbors. Customize your page by adding pictures, a statement of company values, or a list of service offerings.
By increasing the number of channels you engage customers on, you’re that much more likely to grow your customer base—whether that’s an email newsletter or on Nextdoor.
Constant Contact. 39 Top Benefits of Email Marketing for Small Business (with Real Examples).
Forbes. Why Are Email Newsletters Important For Branding?. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/05/08/why-are-email-newsletters-important-for-branding/?sh=753caa33509f
Litmus. The ROI of Email Marketing. https://www.litmus.com/blog/infographic-the-roi-of-email-marketing/
Upland. 12 Statistics that Show the Power of Email Newsletters. https://uplandsoftware.com/postup/resources/blog/email-newsletter-statistics
Claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. For resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers, pertinent news affecting businesses, and more, follow us at @nextdoorbusiness on Facebook.