Email marketing gets overshadowed by social media a lot these days, which is a great shame because email is a terrific marketing workhorse—free or low-cost, targeted, and much less time-intensive than social media. Here are four reasons you should put out an email newsletter:
1. Clients kept up-to-date about your offerings are more likely to take advantage of them.
2. Already loyal to you, clients are a built-in audience for new services.
3. People like to feel special. Checking in creates a sense of community and increases brand loyalty, which means you remain the one they come to when they need dog-related services.
4. Staying in touch makes it more likely clients will think to refer a fellow dog lover to you. If their experience with your company is buried in the past, referral opportunities are easily missed.
To succeed with a newsletter in any format, you must:
1. Make it a really good value.
2. Get the word out.
In this age of information overload (people are exposed to around 3,000 promotional messages a day), value means one of two things: Useful information or entertainment. Either give people something they can use or give them a good time.
For dog service businesses, the first category would include tips, information, and how-to articles about anything dog related: Training, exercise, home life, management out-and-about, local events, Did You Know-type items, recommendations of books, collars, food, etc.
The latter category could be quotes, fun sites to visit, and stories, both fun and serious. Before & After-stories, for example, make very popular reading.
• Be brief
• Use straightforward language
• Lay the text out so it is easy to scan, with bullets, small paragraphs, photos, etc.
Getting the word out.
First of all, have a prominently displayed sign-up field on your website. Also include a ‘Forward to a Friend’ button in the newsletter itself. Most e-mail marketing services (and you should always use a service) offer this option as standard.
Other than that, include a benefits-oriented call to sign up for your newsletter on all your materials, however mundane. Class sign-up sheets, handouts, brochures, postcards, rack cards, even business cards. Include it in your digital signature and on your stationary. If you write an article for a local paper, mention it in your bio blurb. If you are on Twitter, tweet about an interesting newsletter item and link to the sign-up box on your site. On Facebook, post the entire newsletter and include a sign-up box beside it (a free, downloadable application lets you do this).
As your list grows, engage your subscribers by including occasional content that encourages interaction. Contests, for example, where answering a trivia question gives the reader a chance to win a leash or a bag of dog treats. Other options are surveys (Google and SurveyMonkey offer free tools), a monthly ‘cutest photo’ client competition, or Ask The Expert-style items.