Updated: 10 May 2022
David Hieatt is an entrepreneur and author of Do Open: How a simple email newsletter can transform your business published by Do Books. Here, he shares the email strategy that helped him grow his business, and could help you do the same.
Emails are one of the most cost-effective ways of talking directly to your customer that a business can ever have. According to a 2019 study by DMA, for every dollar you put into email marketing, you get an average of 42 dollars back in return. But only when they’re done right.
With skill, with a strategy, with a methodology, they become one of the most effective instruments in your digital toolbox. They build community. They build your brand. And they relentlessly build long-term growth. I have seen how a simple newsletter built my business, and so I have no doubt it can build yours. Like anything, it requires effort and some smart thinking, but if you take the time and make a commitment, it will help to transform your business.
Newsletters can be inspiring, useful and fun. But you have to do one thing: be interesting.
A great email works by you sharing how you think about the world, and not just what you have to sell in this world. Remember, it’s not all about you.
Lots of companies think that sending more and more emails is the answer to growing their business. But the number one reason for unsubscribing is too much email marketing. And once they say goodbye, it is for good. So instead of the effort of doing many, how about doing fewer and making them mean more? If your email suddenly becomes something that people look forward to, the ‘do less but better’ strategy will pay off.
A lot of companies will try and hide the fact they are selling with humour, or get to the point in a roundabout way. But the customer is intelligent, internet savvy and time-poor, so give them some respect. Get to the point. ‘Here’s a great pair of jeans, please buy them. Here’s a quick backstory. Would you like a pair?’ Don’t leave them in any doubt that you are selling. Regardless of whether they want what you’re selling or not, they will respect your directness.
My business has two different newsletters. One is very short, which we use to share our latest offers. And one takes time to read as it gives lots of food for thought. This one has eight different categories – in six of them we share pockets of inspiration, and the remaining two categories top and tail the newsletter, and are a chance for us to share what is happening in the company. Our emails are not always selling. More often they are sharing an update or some news.
Think of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as fast-paced, busy roads. Blink for a second and the world whizzes by. That great post you put up a few hours ago? The world has moved on. Emails allow for a longer conversation with your customer. And in a fast-paced social media world, that is pure and utter gold. So try and get your social media followers to sign up to your emails – because having a slower conversation in a crazy fast-paced world has become more important than ever.
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