When I started my social media training business in 2009, I knew that email newsletters were an excellent way to stay in touch with prospects and customers. I was determined to make my new business work. One of the ways I decided to market myself was via online email marketing. I had a hunch that if I produced a high quality email newsletter, the word would spread and my business would grow.
The Problem: I had failed at this before
But, there was one small problem. I had been down this road before.
I attempted to write a monthly newsletter for my previous web design business and failed miserably. Some months, the newsletter went out and some months it didn’t. I always agonized over how to keep it going with fresh content. So, I knew that if I was going to market a weekly newsletter, I needed a smart plan to ensure that it would actually get done.
The Solution: I put myself in my readers shoes
I went for a walk on the beach to brainstorm.
I had been thinking about this from my perspective all along. But what about my reader’s perspective? What would my reader want in a newsletter? Possibly something short, simple, quick to read and easy to digest? It needed to be useful and actionable — not just another theory to file away in my head.
The answer suddenly came to me. I decided that I would give it a second chance and that the newsletter would be a short, simple weekly “How-to.” I could cover basics like how to create a Gravatar, add new connections on LinkedIn and optimize your email signature.
There was no shortage of these simple, How-to topics and the format of quick, step-by-step instructions would be easier and faster for me to write.
But, as I let my big idea sink in, I started to feel unsure. I certainly wouldn’t win any industry awards by explaining how to leave a comment on a blog, or re-tweet a message on Twitter. These weren’t groundbreaking social media theories, they were just simple little tips.
I wondered … Should my newsletter be something more impressive?