Thanks for taking my One Question email newsletter survey earlier this month. I received over 100 responses and your answers are helping me shape the upcoming course.
In the meantime, I thought it might be interesting (and helpful) for you to see some of the questions and my associated responses. I’ve included a handful of these below (please share with others who might be interested).
Thanks again, more info coming next month!
Q: What are the most useful ways to generate ideas for content or themes for a periodic newsletter?
A: In short, write as if you are teaching your target audience (prospective clients) about whatever it is you do for them. So a small business lawyer may do a newsletter on contracts; a carpenter on how to use adjustable pliers; I write about how to be successful as a solo professional. What’s useful in the eyes of your target audience? That’s what you write about.
Q: How often should it be sent?
A: if you’re just starting out I recommend monthly. Once you’ve done that successfully for six months, and if you want to get more benefit, double it to twice a month. I find that to be a good pace for readers. Be careful, though, about starting out too fast and not being able to keep pace!
Q: I have started a blog…do I need newsletter as well, or can I combine them?
A: A blog is a web site; a newsletter is an email. I use the same content (essentially) for both and get the best of both worlds without much extra work. The big advantage of a newsletter is that it arrives in a reader’s inbox, so they’re more likely to see it and read it than if you simply post it on your web site.
Q: Working with clients in a plethora of fields, how the heck do I write a newsletter that would be beneficial to all of them?
A: Your newsletter is like a magazine – it has to be about something in particular. So it’s fine if the people you want to reach are in many fields, provided there’s overlap. An attorney, financial planner, consultant, coach all have clients in many fields (generally). You need to find the common thread. If there isn’t any, you need to pick something. Overly broad newsletters rarely get any traction.
Q: If the newsletter is free, do you still offer a FREE product to new subscribers that sign up from your Opt In Page?
A: Yes, even with a free newsletter, if you offer a free incentive of some kind it helps push people over the edge into signing up. Just create something relevant to your audience and of value that you can give them.
Q: What day and time have you been most successful with sending newsletters?
A: Day/time matters much less, now that we are all headed towards 24/7 on email. That said, I try to avoid busy times when people are in “delete mode.” First thing in the morning for
example. I’ve published on Fridays for years (aiming for mid-morning), mostly because that gives me an entire work week to get it done!
Q: Finding the right balance for content that doesn’t sound like a sales pitch nor does it provide so much that it enables people to “do it themselves” without us yet it has enough depth for people to want to engage.
A: I never worry about giving too much away to the do-it-yourselfers. There are entire books and web sites on plumbing and yet people hire plumbers. Same with your stuff. You need
to give away lots of good information so that people can see you know what you’re talking about and so they decide to pay attention ongoing.
Don’t worry about the people who don’t buy – focus on developing a following of people who, when a problem arises that you can fix – and that they can’t or don’t want to solve – will naturally come to you.
Q: How personal should the email newsletter be? I’ve seen dentists send out a newsletter that’s basically a series of links that take you to articles on other sites and lose their identity. You almost forget who actually sent it in the first place. On the other hand, some providers drown you in all sorts of trivia and you think “whatever” and hit delete. Where’s the happy medium?
A: In terms of tone and level of personal information, I just try to make it real. If the dentist is friendly and chatty and talks about his kids in person, the newsletter should feel that way too. There’s no right way to behave in a newsletter – just like there’s no right personality for a dentist or coach or consultant … other than how you actually behave in real life. This way, the people who like a friendly, chatty dentist are attracted and those who don’t run away. In either case, good news for all concerned!