When I ask people how their newsletters are going, they often reply that they simply don’t have time to keep up their newsletters anymore.
But what’s going to happen when their businesses slow down or want to expand? They’ll have lost the opportunity to stay in front of people.
As usability expert Jakob Nielsen said, “Newsletters must be seen as a long-term investment: They work their magic over time.”
In other words, you can’t just stop your newsletter and then expect to start back up where you left off. You need to keep your newsletter rolling. If content is king, then consistency is queen.
Despite the growing popularity of social media, email newsletters still deliver the best return on investment, according to the Direct Marketing Association. But don’t forget that you are building relationships—not snatching quick sales.
Although flexibility is vital to your newsletter’s survival, you can’t overdo it. Just like with a treadmill, it’s hard to get back on the email marketing machine if you’ve missed too much time.
So, how do you fuel your newsletter machine so it will keep running in good times and bad? Here are 10 tips:
1. Create a list of topics that respond to customer questions and have information you wish your customers understood, as well as other issues that come up frequently.
2. Make a list of seasonal topics that relate to your business.
3. Make another list of ideas to showcase your expertise. For example, include how-to articles, legislative updates or opinion pieces. Relate your expertise to what’s hot and happening in the world, your niche and your life.
4. Create a 12-month calendar. Start by adding seasonal topics.
5. Feel free to ignore the calendar sometimes. If you have an issue to respond to, a product to launch or an experience to share, write about it. Don’t worry about publishing more often than you planned. That will help make up for those busy times. That’s why I refer to my newsletter as “mostly monthly.”
6. Keep it short and simple. Most people will spend no more than a minute scanning your content. Also, by setting small, realistic goals for each issue, you’ll be less likely to miss your time targets.
7. Recycle. A thoughtful email, killer presentation, link you found on Twitter or insightful conversation can be inspiration for newsletter content. Just make sure you rework it to fit the medium and audience. Usually I’ll take a post my subscribers will like and shorten it.
8. Integrate your newsletter with social media. Post your enticing first paragraph and a link on all the sites where potential customers hang out.
9. Stretch yourself. Hire qualified help or learn how to create newsletter content more effectively and efficiently.
10. Learn from your stats and reports. The better your newsletter performs, the less likely you are to neglect your content treadmill.
Although many people have foretold the death of email newsletters, the newsletters endure. I predict they’ll continue to grow.
Look at all the people walking down the street, sitting on the bus or standing in the elevator reading from their phones. Mobile technology is giving people more opportunities to read newsletters. Don’t miss out!
Barb Sawyers helps people write to connect and get results through her book and online course, Write Like You Talk Only Better. A version of this article originally appeared on her blog, Sticky Communication.