I have had two clients recently who’ve physically recoiled when I’ve mentioned the ‘n’ word.  Yes, that one – newsletters.

Why?  What’s not to love about giving a company your email address and then getting daily missives with the latest ‘Unmissable Offer!’ ‘20% Off – One Day Only!’ ‘Buy Now!’ etc, etc.

We’ve all done it, usually unwittingly after we’ve bought something online.  You had to enter your email address, you forgot to tick the teeny tiny box and now the unsubscribe process is so difficult you can’t face it and your inbox is choking under the weight of all those unwanted emails.  Understandably you do not want your business associated with such a nuisance.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

In amongst those shouty, scary, overbeary* emails are there maybe one or two gems that you do like to receive?  Are there people who pop into your inbox maybe once a week, maybe once a month, who far from  annoying you, engage you and enrich your day, even just a little  Maybe they have the same interests, or have the same worldview, maybe they inspire you, give you an interesting fact or tell you a funny story.  These are the ones that are doing it right, they get it, and they get you.

If you run your own business, then you are, without a doubt, interesting. Not to everyone, but you will definitely be interesting to some people.  You have found a way to make people’s lives better.  You either sell something or can do something that will somehow enhance their situation.  This is your story, and you have a duty to get it out there to the people that can benefit from it, in a nice, engaging, non-threatening way.

In this digital age, the only surefire way to reach out and touch the people that find you most interesting is by email. Facebook will mercilessly strangle your posts unless you pay to boost them.  Tweets twitter by in an instant.  Your blog is all well and good, but you need to remind people that it’s there. But an email sits patiently in an inbox, waiting to speak to its destined new owner, in a language that they understand, about things that they’ll find interesting.

Top business coach Judith Morgan says ‘(your subscribers) deserve extra special treatment because they have shared with you their most precious jewel. They have given you their email address and, in so doing, permission to market to them for life, until they buy or die, or unsubscribe!  So make it worth their while. Treasure them with your words, insider thoughts, feelings, discounts, prezzies, prizes, special gifts, time-sensitive offers and the like. But mostly with your respect.’

(This was of course published in her own newsletter and hence enormously flattering to those of us that received it – double whammy!)

I really can’t put it better than that.  If someone has trusted you with their email address, then respect that, and think about why they might have done that. Maybe because you wouldn’t let them check out otherwise, fine, but do make sure they have the option to unsubscribe.  But likely they made a conscious decision to engage with you because they were intrigued by what you do or sell.

You now have a wonderful opportunity to talk to them.  Not sell to them, talk to them.  Why you do what you do, what’s happening in your market at the moment, or a useful little nugget that they might enjoy. If you’re a personal shopper, tell them how to adapt the new Autumn/Winter trends. If you have a coffee shop, teach them how the difference between a flat white and a latte.  If you’re an artist, how about sharing that walk through the woods that inspired your latest work? Draw them into your world, position yourself as a trusted source, and they will stick with you.  Then when they’re ready, they’ll be receptive to making a first, or a repeat, purchase.

If at the end of all that fascinating content (and it doesn’t have to be a huge long epic, a few paragraphs can be enough), you want to include a link to your sales page or mention a special offer, you may then do so, within context.

On that note, if you want to see if I can walk my talk, there is an option to sign into my own newsletter in the footer of this page!

If you love the idea of newsletters but don’t know where to start or simply don’t have the time to write it yourself, give me a shout, I’d love to get stuck in and help you!  Email: hello@alisonread.co.uk

*overbeary – not a real word I know, but I like it!

This post was inspired by the following article: http://judithmorgan.com/newsletters-and-blogs/

Why you should write newsletters, and why your subscribers will love them.
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