Oh, look! That plumber I met randomly in a smelly networking meeting sent me an email. Oh no… it’s a newsletter!

I keep getting these awful small-business newsletter, whether they are solicited or not, where they are filled with stock photos and no substance whatsoever. They appear to be written by some copywriter that lives overseas in a hut. Why are small-businesses doing this? They have stopped the postcard mailing in my postal mailbox and transferred the same trash to my inbox.

I would imagine that they at one point watched a 2-minute video of a self-proclaimed marketing expert telling them the magic of email marketing. I must agree, there is magic in email marketing but not with the examples I am seeing.

Here’s the problems with the newsletter I am seeing.

Think Value; A Reason to Open Your Newsletter

I’ve heard of CPA firms or HVAC companies hiring generic marketing firms that will give you 2 articles a month you can share in your newsletter. These articles end up being tips on how to make a family vacation more fun, or 12 tips to stopping a leaky sink.

Gag me.

Listen, these might be interesting articles but they are too generic. There is no concern for who the audience is nor has there been any thought put into the niche your businesses is targeting. Every small-business owner keeps targeting anyone with a pulse and $20 in their wallet. This approach won’t work with newsletters.

Give them value. Understand the problems they actually face in their day-to-day life. If you don’t know what questions they face, that means you aren’t meeting with your clients consistently enough to know what is on their mind.

Imagine sending out a newsletter people actually anticipate. Imagine sending an email they actually want to read.

Show us REAL PEOPLE

Would it completely kill your self-respect if you took a selfie in the office? I get it, you aren’t a teenager but stop it with the stock photos. People are more likely to do business with you if they can relate to you. A rough selfie of you sitting at your desk, or sharing the latest Snapchat filter would go a long way. Walk around the office and snap pictures of the 10 things your clients wouldn’t expect to find in your office. Introduce someone in your office with 10 pictures and have them answer 10 random questions. Make it fun and simple.

Stop Wasting Time

You’re so busy, I get it. If that is the case, then stop sending a newsletter. Bad marketing is many times worse than no marketing at all, so pull the plug. If you really can’t find time to add value or dynamics to your newsletter, hire someone to do it. Approach a business teacher at the local community college and tell them you are looking for a millennial to do an internship. Millennials have a natural sense for social platforms and what works online. Have them come into your office and meet your top 5 clients and then have them start creating content. Tell them to create a weekly newsletter and you might be surprised the value they offer after a few months. I wouldn’t be surprised if you hired them after 90 days.

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