Easy! 10 content ideas for your next newsletter
When it comes to email marketing, one of the biggest blockers stopping small businesses is content ideas. Does this sound familiar?
“I don’t have anything to write about.”
“People won’t be interested in what I have to say.”
“I just don’t have the time to figure out what to write.”
Trust me, I’ve heard about these challenges and more. Finding content ideas for their next newsletter, and the one after that, and the one after that is a proper challenge for small business owners. But really, those ideas are at your fingertips. You just need a little nudge to remember!
Before I get into the 10 ideas, let’s cover off why you should use email marketing and the reason you should use an email service provider.
Why should email marketing be part of your marketing toolkit?
If you’ve known me for a while, you’ll know I always sing the praises of email marketing. I don’t think you should use it exclusively. Rather, it needs to be part of your marketing toolkit. Here’s why.
Take a look at email marketing deliverability rates. That’s how many emails get delivered to people’s inboxes. That happens more than 90% of the time. Now, look at social media’s organic reach. The average Facebook post gets just 0.07% organic reach.
That means if you have 100 people on your email list, your email gets delivered to at least 90 of them. If you have 100 Facebook fans only 0.0007 people see your post! I’m not saying ditch social media altogether. Just don’t put all your eggs in that one basket!
We still read emails
Think about it. Outside of work, what emails do you get? From service providers – all my bank statements are online and my bank emails me when a new one is available. My dentist sends me an email confirmation of my appointment. I get emails from my family with various bits of information.
We. Still. Read. Emails. It doesn’t matter what age your target audience is. They still use email. If that graph doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what else will!
Email marketing has a much better conversion rate than social media. What is conversion rate? It’s when someone clicks on your call to action and goes to the place you want them to go to. For email marketing, this can be 50-100 times the click-through rate (or conversion) from Facebook or Twitter. In fact, these are the average click-through rates for each channel:
- Email marketing 3.57%
- Facebook 0.07%
- Twitter 0.03%
Return on your investment
I always recommend paying for an email tool. You get more functionality when you pay. But even if you’re using free options, it’s still costing you money. Money in the form of your time. So, you need to make sure you make a return on that investment.
Email marketing gives you an average return of £35.41 for every £1 spent. Wouldn’t you want that return?
Why should you use an email service provider?
An email service provider (ESP) is the company that provides the software you use to build your emails. I often refer to it as an email tool. The ESP has spent a huge amount of time developing its software. They’ve built it from the ground up to help you and me build relationships with potential and existing customers. So, what do you get by using an ESP?
I’ve got to tell you, I don’t sit down at my desk and think: Oh, goodie, I get to manage loads of data today. It’s really not the thing that gets me up in the morning. But to be able to communicate with my newsletter readers, I need their data. My ESP manages all that data for me. From collection to making sure I don’t email people who don’t want to hear from me anymore. That frees up my time to do stuff like writing this blog post. Much more productive for me, waaaay more useful for you.
You get ready-made templates
You want your business communications to look professional, right? Using an ESP opens up pre-designed templates for you. They are all customisable, which means you can add your brand colours and logo. This only serves to reinforce your brand and makes your emails easily recognisable. And you know what else? Even if you think a particular template isn’t for your business, but you like the layout, you can use it – you just need to make a few tweaks.
There used to be a time when emails were only read on computers. Now we read emails on mobile devices too. ESPs design their templates to work on all different devices. That means that your email will look good on a laptop, tablet and smartphone. That’s important, and it comes back to portraying that professional image.
You’re reading this and thinking, well that’s not very exciting. But you’re wrong. The reporting is where the magic happens. You find out whether that subject line you spent ages crafting actually worked. Or whether the blog post you spent two hours writing really is interesting to your subscribers. But more than that, this information is valuable in helping you make better marketing decisions. And when that happens, it’s more money in your bank account!
10 content ideas for your next newsletter
Now, I always recommend you create an email marketing plan. It’s the best way to make sure your emails go out consistently. Once you know what you’re going to write about, the actual writing is much easier. I know people struggle with content ideas for their newsletters, so here are 10 to get you started. I’m sure they’ll inspire you to think of your own.
Having a blog is something that is useful for two reasons:
- Writing longer content gives you the opportunity to create lots of shorter bits of content you can share on social media.
- It makes sure your website is updated with regular new content, which is good for getting found online.
OK, actually there’s a third reason. It provides content you can include in your newsletter! You’ve taken the time to write something that’s helpful. Shouldn’t you share it with your subscribers? Believe me when I tell you this: people aren’t hanging out on your website for your latest blog post. You need to tell them it’s there!
What’s happening in your part of the business world? Is there a piece of legislation your readers should be aware of? Is there a new development that means working with you will make their lives even easier? Think of all the marketing experts you follow to keep up to date with social media developments. It’s useful, isn’t it? How can you provide useful information for your readers?
I bet you get asked certain questions loads of times. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to point to something you’ve written that answers those questions? If you have an FAQs section on your website, share it in your newsletter. You never know, it might prompt other questions you can add to it. And it keeps your readers (some of whom are customers) up to date. And for those who aren’t customers? It gives them an insight into what it’s like to work with you.
What? It’s a fancy way of saying content from other people. Not random people, but ones you trust. Maybe you know a few people who run complementary businesses. You can share their content with your readers. It adds an extra dimension to your emails and shows you’re well connected. It also means you don’t have to write everything! Just make sure you read what you’re going to share first to make sure it’s relevant. And, of course, give credit to the person who wrote it!
Running a business is tough. Sometimes, it’s good to lift the curtain on your business and share something about your experience. I’m not one for sharing loads of personal information, but I do share things about my experience of running a business. Even if you sell to other people (B2C), it can be a great way to connect with your readers. Doing this also shows you, the person behind the business. It will help strengthen the connection with your readers.
Sharing customer stories is a great way to show how you help customers. Always get their permission, of course. By sharing customer experiences, you’re really selling what you do. But in a softer way. It helps you tell readers why it’s great to work with you or buy your products. It gives you credibility and shows how prospective customers could benefit from buying your product or service. But they hear it from someone who’s already done that!
Sales and promotions
Let’s not beat about the bush here. If you don’t sell stuff, you don’t have a business. And it is OK to sell in your emails. Just not all the time. No one wants to open that kind of email… unless that’s what you specifically signed up for. So, cut yourself some slack and do add promotions and offers to your emails. How else will your readers find out about them?
Do you host events? Maybe you have a regular live on social media. Or you’re planning a webinar or open day. Whatever the type, this is something you can absolutely talk about in your newsletters. You might even give people additional notice – a benefit of being on your email list. Remember, if they don’t know about it, they can’t attend. I’d recommend you give people around three weeks’ notice of an upcoming event. And don’t forget to send a reminder closer to the event.
Surveys and polls
How often have you wished you knew what your subscribers want? Or maybe what they think about a particular subject. Ask them! A simple poll in a newsletter could be more than enough for your needs. For something a bit more in-depth, consider a link to a survey. There are lots of tools out there to help you create an online survey. Start with Google Forms, which is simple. Consider something more advanced for more features. Your email tool might even have an option – mine does!
Nothing captures people’s attention like a competition. It’s about the thrill of winning. Remember that competition you ran on Instagram? How about sharing that with your readers? They’ll still enter the same way as your Instagram followers (usually by commenting and liking). Tell people what they have a chance of winning and how to enter. Make sure you link directly to the place they do that. That’s more comments on your posts, more entries for your competition, and it gives you an additional piece of content when you announce the winner!