I had a client a couple of weeks ago who came to me and asked if he should have a newsletter. It seems that someone told him that if he didn’t send out a regular monthly newsletter, then he was missing a huge audience. This wasn’t the first time someone has asked me that question and to be honest, I’ve had different answers for each of my clients. So here are a few tips to help you decide whether you need a newsletter for your business or not.
Some business websites don’t add new content very often. My business website for example, doesn’t need to change very often and doesn’t outwardly have a lot going on. Mostly I’m spending my time promoting my clients through their own social media channels. I don’t have a newsletter. But some websites, like CWAHM, change all the time. There are articles and things happening that are always full of good information. Jill does a great job keeping people in the loop of what’s happening at CWAHM and her newsletters are a big part of letting people know what they can find at the site.
All marketing falls into two major categories. Push and Pull. Push marketing is when you’re pushing your ideas, product or project out into the world for other people to see. Imagine someone with a sandwich board on a street corner. You may be driving by that area, but you didn’t necessarily drive by just to see that sandwich board. It’s the same way with banner ads at websites or posting on Facebook walls. You’re not going there to see the advertisements, but since you’re going there people want you to see the ads so…yeah. You get the picture.
It might seem like newsletters are push marketing but in actually, they’re pull marketing. Why? Well, people don’t get your newsletter unless they’ve signed up for your mailing list. (And make sure that is the case! You do not want to be considered a spammer.) That means that they’ve come to you and they want to know what you have to say about things. They are telling you they want more. That’s the definition of pull marketing. By starting a newsletter or having a sign up, you’ll see how many people are interested in what you have to say and that’s a good thing.
If you have a customer base that isn’t on Facebook or Twitter and doesn’t make an effort to visit your site often, you’ll need a newsletter. If you do parties in people’s homes and you hear them talking about how they aren’t on any social media sites, then by all means, you must have a newsletter.
If a good portion of your business includes speaking engagements and meeting new people, it might be a good idea to have a sign up list or sheet with you. I like to recommend that people get a guest book and have people sign the guest book. It’s much classier than a notepad or dropping entries into a fishbowl of sorts and it also allows you to evaluate your messages. You can look at the dates on the various dates on the registry and see when you had more people sign up or less and try to figure out if there’s a pattern. This can help you evaluate your speaking engagements.
In some areas of business, perhaps where you have a website and you want people to buy advertising, the numbers on a newsletter mailing list can help you add to the amount you can charge. It also might help you if you’re looking at partnership with another company or business.
If you’re extremely active in all areas of social media, you may not need a newsletter. You can put updates from your website onto Facebook or Twitter and you can cross post your blog entries. It’s up to you to decide how you’ll get that information to your audience. However, if your numbers aren’t great on social media channels but you have a lot of people interested in your mailing list, then that creates your balance. You can use the newsletter to drive people to social media if you like but if not, there’s not a need to stress over it.
All in all, newsletters are considered somewhat old school these days, but they still do have a relevant place in marketing when used properly and for the right audience. If you don’t have one and things are going great, then you don’t need one! Don’t stress.