Newsletters keep your wet leisure business in touch with its customers and keep them informed of your latest products and services. This article gives some advice on how to write one.
What is a newsletter?
A newsletter is a regular publication distributed by a business to its customers. These days, newsletters are normally sent by email.
The newsletter will contain information about promotions, events, new products or new services. It can also contain opinions and discussion pieces.
It might be very ‘chatty’ or it might be factual but what it should always be is useful and rewarding to the people who receive it.
Think about your audience.
A newsletter isn’t personalised in the way that a mailshot is. It doesn’t begin, Dear… because it isn’t written to an individual, it’s written to a group of people who share a common interest or set of interests.
Whether you have a pool or sauna business or you have a hot tub dealership, you need to see the newsletter as something that goes out to all of your customers and ties them together into a community. It’s a bit like producing a small, local newspaper once a month.
You need to picture your audience and imagine what things will be of common interest to them.
What will be relevant?
Relevant content is the key to a successful newsletter.
You might want to have a ‘lead article’, one story that you think everyone will be interested in but you can also include a variety of topics and sections.
For instance, in the spring you might want to produce a newsletter about opening your pool for the season but later on in that newsletter you could include a section on price promotions on chemicals or the benefits of upgrading your equipment before the season starts.
Whatever you put in your newsletter has to be relevant from the reader’s point of view. It has to be something that is worthwhile for them to take the time and trouble to read. They have to be rewarded for that time.
They might be rewarded by being entertained or informed or offered something of value to them but the decision on what to put in the newsletter can only be made if you understand your customers and know what they will be interested in.
When should you send it?
So a newsletter should be regular, but how frequently should they be sent?
You might choose to do something short and snappy and once a fortnight or a monthly newsletter that has more content.
Perhaps you should look at your marketing plan and see what dates on the calendar are important to you. When are you exhibiting in a local show, when are you getting a new line of products, when does your season start and what other forthcoming events do you think your customers would like to be made aware of.
That process should fill in a number of slots over the year and give you some idea of how regularly you could produce a newsletter that will be worth reading.
What goes in the subject line?
The subject line of your newsletter is like the headline in a newspaper. Don’t just put the date and the word, ‘newsletter’. Put something that will attract the reader’s attention and get them to open it.
How should you write it?
Everyone writes in a slightly different way and with his or her own unique style.
If you are going to write the newsletter yourself rather then get a professional to do it for you, then accept that and try and write the way that you speak. You need to avoid making any spelling mistakes or any really serious grammatical errors, but on the other hand, a natural flowing newsletter that is written with a real interest in the subject will be much more enjoyable to read.
Try and use short, concise and easy to understand language.
Once you have written the newsletter do a word count and then try and write it 20% shorter. You would be surprised how often that alone improves the way it reads.
Research your information and make sure that all your facts are correct.
Try to include a clear call to action. That might be a link or phone number that customers can use to arrange a service engineer visit or you might want to include a ‘forward to a friend’ option – existing customers can sometimes make great sales people for your business.
You should also ensure you always include an ‘unsubscribe’ option to avoid falling foul of the data protection act which deals with unsolicited emails amongst other things.
So what else do you need?
The best written newsletter in the world is of no use unless you have a list of people to send it to.
A good customer database is the most important thing when it comes to using newsletters to promote your business and stay in touch with your customers.
There is an article on databases and customer relationship management here.
A newsletter can be an extremely effective marketing tool. They can also be great fun to write and produce and help you feel as connected to your customers as they feel to you.
We hope that the ideas in this article are useful for you.