I don’t know how many emails you get from big corporations every day, but I get tons of them. But it seems like most small local businesses here in Fredericksburg aren’t sending emails like that.
Now to be fair, the things that work for a much bigger business won’t always work for your micro-business. In this case though it will work, if done properly. Here are three reasons you should be doing a simple newsletter for your micro business.
A Proper Newsletter Maintains Relationships
All small businesses are built upon relationships. And while you can (and should) take the personal time to maintain relationships with high producing referral partners, you don’t necessarily have the time to spend personally interacting frequently with each end-customer individually. A newsletter is a great way to fill that gap.
Your customers are reasonable people who understand that you can only spend so much time in personal conversation with them. Especially when they only need you every year or so. See, that’s not the problem.
The problem is when we do nothing.
A newsletter is a solution to this problem. A newsletter can show a customer that you care about their well-being, their interests, and their goals.
The Key to a Relationship Newsletter
The key here is not to think of your newsletter as only you talking about what you’ve been doing. Instead the newsletter should focus on providing something valuable to the customer – helpful information on maximizing the product or service you provide, or educating them on how they can maximize the experience you know is important to them (the reason they hired you to begin with.)
Put another way, your newsletter should either talk about:
- Extending the product you provide, or
- Maximizing the emotion they gained.
So if you’re running a landscaping company in Fredericksburg here’s what that might look like.
Every month you write and send an article that highlights what they should be doing that month to care for their lawn. You can make this very personal because you’re working with customers in this climate and so it doesn’t have to be as generic as a nationwide new newsletter by some big corporation. Your newsletter can be more specific to the Stafford, Spotsy, Fredericksburg region.
What your customer gets is free helpful tips and advice that are actually relevant to them. Whether or not they choose to act on it, they will remember that you were trying to help them. And that what you were saying was personally relevant to them.
Newsletters Are About Awareness
The second reason you should do a monthly newsletter actually happens before the first reason, and that is simple awareness. Something you can’t always accomplish with social media is “front of mind” reminders. In order for social media to work well at maintaining this awareness, enough of your customers have to be active on social media, and they have to interact with what you’re posting in order for your post to “go viral.” In local business, social media cannot accomplish this on its own.
But a newsletter arrives in your customers inbox reliably. Whether your open rate is high (15%+) or low, you can be assured that your legitimate customers are seeing your name on a regular basis.
A Newsletter Positions You as the Expert
The third reason that a simple newsletter is valuable, is that over time you establish yourself as an expert in the eyes of your customers. If your customer only reads a small sampling of the newsletters you send, and they provide helpful, accurate information, your customer will learn some key things about you.
Your customers will begin to believe in your expertise. They will understand that you can’t write a series of articles without investing time in your business and understanding your business. If you write articles that focus on other things at customer cares about, they will begin to also believe that you care about the other aspects of their life.
Customer-centric Newsletters Are Self-Serving
Going back to our Landscaping example, you can extend your newsletter talk about many different aspects of backyard life throughout the year. You can alternate months or mix them into each month – whatever makes sense for you and your customers. You’re showing them that you understand them and care about their deeper goal. That you understand why they want their yard to look spectacular. You’re showing them that you understand their priorities, and that will resonate with them on a much deeper level than you may realize right now.
A Fourth Reason (Bonus!)
There is a fourth benefit to creating a simple newsletter for your micro business. Now I’m listing this as a bonus reason because in some cases this doesn’t work. This reason really only comes into play when you, or one of your employees, is personally writing the content for your newsletter. So if you’re splitting the writing with a company like ours this may not work quite as well.
The fourth benefit is that your own understanding of your industry and your customer will grow.
First of all, you may have to do research along the way in order to write better articles. Second of all the more of this you do the more motivated you will be to learn more about your industry and get better. Certainly as you see more business and more referrals going in you should have more time to spend on your own education.
Last, but more importantly, sharing this kind of information with your customers (even though you’re not doing it face-to-face) will help you understand your own business operations and potential better. It helps you to think through your explanations. It helps you to break down your processes, products, and services, and the value you provide into little bites that a customer can understand. And in the process of doing that you strengthen and deepen your own understanding of what you do. And you get better at explaining it to others, which has obvious benefits in your sales and customer service encounters.
The Reasons Are Many
These are the reasons that you need a simple newsletter. I know that it’s a commitment of time, but if your business is small and is built on relationships then a newsletter is an important habit to develop or system to put in place.
If you need help developing the habit, I highly recommend the book The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. This book has changed my life and my business. Stop by our office any time – I would love to give you a free copy.
If you’re looking for a system to put can put in place right away, give us a call. We’re helping our customers stay front of mind, and connected with their customers on a regular basis and we love to talk with you about how we can help you too.
Best of luck. Now get back to work!