Almost every newsletter which is widely read, and results in increased sales, can be considered successful. The objective of your newsletter is not to bore people with uninteresting articles, where you just talk about yourself. The objective is to remind them of who you are, and to get them to buy from you again.
As you probably know, to get a new customer, you need to invest money in marketing. This means that you have an acquisition cost for each new customer. Your acquisition cost is determined by how much your marketing costs are, divided by how many customers it brings into your store. Once you’ve calculated this figure you can then work out how many times each customer needs to purchase from you before they become profitable. In the average business this will mean selling to them 2.5 times before you begin to make a profit.
Your newsletter then is the tool that you use to ensure that your past customers come back on a regular basis. If your customers buy from you only once, you’re actually losing money each time you acquire a new customer.
By using a well formatted newsletter, you increase the number of times they do business with you, thus turning them into, a profitable customer.
What MAKES a successful newsletter?
There are several key elements which combined, make up a successful newsletter. The most important of these is the content, of course, but we’ll come back to that another time. One important consideration is any offers you’re making. No matter how well written, or entertaining your newsletter is, if you don’t make great offers, it is likely that it will not bring you additional sales.
In the upcoming blogs, you’ll learn how to write newsletter headlines that work, how to position your photographs for maximum impact and which typefaces have the best recognition. You’ll discover which stock your newsletter should be printed on, what size it should be, and which articles, angles and appeals work best.
Testing & Measuring
Before you get started, it’s critical that you understand the principal of testing and measuring.
Just the same way you’d try different ads in the paper to see which one worked the best, or different front counter displays to discover which one sold the most, you need to be prepared to change your newsletter around and find out which approach works the best.
Remember, it’s always better to hand out 20 newsletters that don’t work, than 20,000. Even if you love your new newsletter, and everyone who sees it goes crazy, it’s important to keep your head, and avoid going too far too soon.
Take it slow at first, check the response then gradually increase the numbers. If you hand out 100 newsletters and find that 10 of the coupons or ads from your newsletter come back, it should follow that 10,000 newsletters should turn into 1000 new sales.
Of course, nothing is ever that certain in marketing or business, and you really must wait and see. Having said that, it’s important to realise that if you hand out 100 newsletters and see none back, then you’d be a little insane to expect 10,000 to do much better.
You have the option of creating a number of versions of your newsletter and trying all versions at the same time. Ask each person where they heard about you, and which newsletter they have.
Over time, you may notice that one version seems to do much better than the other. This is the one you keep.
The problem is, creating newsletters can be expensive – there are the set-up costs, then the printing costs. If you were to create multiple versions, you’d end spending quite a deal more than if you just decided on one and stuck to it.
Ultimately, it depends on how important newsletters are to your business. If they represent one of your most critical sources of new business and repeat sales, then it may be in your best long-term interests to pay for two different newsletters.
The other option is to create a small number (about 20) of each of the versions you’re thinking about using. Show these to as many people as you can – customers, friends, family.
When they give you feedback, LISTEN to what they have to say. Don’t block out their criticism of your favourite design or minimise their praise of the one you didn’t like.
It pays to not be precious about it – this isn’t fine art we’re talking about. Your newsletter is a business tool that is designed to make you money. Take note of what people say, and act accordingly.
When creating different versions, you should only really alter the most important parts of the newsletter.
Changing the size of your phone number from a size 12 font to a size 16 font is unlikely to have much difference. But a new headline, a different offer, and a change in the amount of text will make a big difference.
If you’re going to test two versions against each other, make sure that they are significantly different. There’s no point spending all that money only to put out two newsletters that look virtually the same. Save a couple of truly unimportant differences.
You’ll find that changing the headline on the front panel and the sub-headlines in the main content will completely change the amount of response.
Just as your newsletter is an advertisement for your business, the headlines are the ads for the newsletter text.
Compare these two headlines …
“How to make more money …”
“How 37,600 Australian women under 27 are making £2300 per week, every week without fail”
Which one would you read? The second headline definitely stimulates a hell of a lot more curiosity. Having said that, you can never be entirely sure which one will work the best. This is why testing and measuring is so important.
If you can understand that two headlines would bring in such a different response. You can understand why it’s worth printing up a couple of versions and seeing which one takes off for you.
It’s also important that you really take proper note of which one is working the best. Create a tally sheet and make sure you fill it in every time somebody comes in off a newsletter.
After a month or so, add up the tally and see which one is working the best…
… that’s your golden ticket.