grow your business5 big tips for coming up with great story ideas for your email newsletter content that will not only grow your business, but also ‘grow’ you.

Twitter, Facebook and email marketing make it easier to reach potential and current customers, but many marketers are left speechless. What can you say — month in, month out — that will be of any interest to your audience?

Of course discounts, sales, offers and free gifts will always be of interest to your audience, but time and knowledge are also gifts that you can give with less impact on the bottom line. In fact by giving you will receive in return. In your quest for knowledge to share, you will become a smarter, more knowledgeable marketer yourself.

  1. Talk knowledgeably about your own business — In the old days newsletters would typically bore the audience to death with pictures of the Managing Director giving out prizes at the company dinner. No one is interested! However, the people you do want to attract are people who areinterested in your services or product, so don’t be shy to talk about them:
    1. FAQ – what questions do you most commonly get asked? Turn this information into either a short story, or simply highlight it as ‘FAQ of the month’.
    2. What is it like to enjoy your service or product? Interview one of your customers. Ask them what they like best and write a short case study, with your customer’s permission.
    3. More information please. Putting a company brochure out is overwhelming, but break it down. Highlight a product of the month, or week. Describe it in detail with customer testimonials or comments if possible. Don’t forget to use the ‘for more information’ button.
    4. Keeping the MD happy. If you have plenty of information that is of genuine interest to your audience, it is still ok to stick in a photo of the Managing Director doing good works.
  2. linkedin groupsTalk knowledgeably about your industry — This is the bit where you get smart. You are supposed to be the expert so your audience appreciates you doing all the legwork and feeding the best bits to them in bite-size pieces. Your gift here is not only knowledge, but time.
    • Register to receive industry newsletters from bloggers and your suppliers; join discussion groups on LinkedIn; find forums and dare I say, read or listen to books. Summarise and refer readers to points of interest.
    • Attend industry events, seminars and exhibitions and summarise key points that would be of interest to your audience.
    • Keep an eye on local news and feel free to comment on it.
    • Ask an industry expert to share their knowledge with your customers. They’ll appreciate the exposure, and your audience will appreciate a change of face.
  3. Talk knowledgeably with your customers
    • Interact with your customers using blogs, Facebook, Twitter or a simple questionnaire. Constant Contact has a survey module or you can use a blogging widget such as PollDaddy. Ask questions and you will get answers. You’ll find plenty of stories there.
    • You may sell pushchairs, but your customers are parents. Find information that is of interest to your audience. It needn’t be about pushchairs, but could be about other parenting issues. They’ll appreciate your tips.
  4. Mix your media.Keep it interesting by using different styles and media. Keep it punchy.
    • People love numbers, questionnaires and quizzes. Break up one of your stories into a ‘5 tips…’ kind of story.
    • Keep your audience busy clicking: Use video, audio, downloads and and click throughs. While it is easier than ever to make a short video yourself, you can also share an interesting video from another source. Constant Contact and WordPress Blogs make embedding videos particularly easy.
  5. Don’t forget the gifts
    • At the end of the day, people still like discounts, sales, offers and free gifts. Even after all that goodwill you have generated with your shared knowledge, you still may need a good old-fashioned call to action.

Follow these tips and you will very soon find that you have more than enough information to give you great story ideas for your email newsletters, Tweets and Facebook updates — but at the same time, found a new way to add value to your working life.

 

Some of the great resources we use:

Constant Contact — Constant Contact is the service we use for our email marketing. You don’t have to be a customer to sign up for one of their many eNews. Click here for more information.

Social Media Examiner — Lots of videos and articles on how to use social media. We follow SME on Facebook. Click here for more information.

LinkedIn: Guerilla Marketing Tips for Small Businesses — an example of one of the many professional groups on LinkedIn where you can be inspired. Click here for more information.

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