Recently, a few clients have asked me:
"I have a list of customers who’ve bought from me in the past. I want to use a newsletter to stay top-of-mind and encourage them to buy from me repeatedly, without damaging trust or losing them as a customer. Is this even possible?!"
It begins with a shift in focus.
Thinking in terms of, "I need to squeeze more money out of my list!" creates:
- a list that is annoyed with you
- people who click "Unsubscribe."
On the other hand, thinking, "I need to make my customer relationships as awesome as I can by repeatedly giving value, educating and listening to them every time I communicate with them!" creates:
- a list that is excited to see you in their inbox
- people who become loyal, fanatical fans who will happily sell your products and services of their own free will.
This shift will help you save a ton of money on advertising, and make it so you don’t have to "ask for the sale" ever again.
Here are some practical tips to make your next newsletter more valuable in the eyes of your customers.
1) Ask them what they want!
Knowing what’s inside your customer’s head can be a real gold mine. It’ll tell you how you can give them higher levels of satisfaction, and help you invent new ways to make money.
The easiest and most effective way to learn more about your customers is to:
- Reach out to some of your favorite customers, and request their time for an "interview." (Don’t use the word "survey," most people will say no.)
- Ask them a series of questions.
- Make sure to write down their responses! The exact words they use will be critical for ALL your future messaging.
Here’s what to ask them:
- What’s your biggest fear or frustration right now related to [health, money, career, etc.]?
- What worries you or keeps you up at night?
- What else are you feeling challenged by?
- What do you wish could be different — if you could wave a magic wand and change something, what would it be?
- What is the biggest result you want to create?
- What would help you achieve this result?
- How much time would you invest into getting to this result?
- How much money would you being willing to invest into that result?
- What would you like to learn more about in regards to [health, money, career, etc.]?
- Who do you consider to be an expert or authority in [health, money, career, etc.]?
(Questions courtesy of Bill Baren)
This will give you tons of useful information about your customers: where they are now, where they want to be, and suggestions for future content.
From now on, you can be sure that you ONLY send the kind of content they genuinely WANT to receive!
(I don’t recommend trying to guess what’s in their head — it’ll only create frustration for both of you.)
2) Don’t give them what YOU THINK is valuable. Give them what they have TOLD YOU is valuable!
An essential part of delighting your customers is innovating: coming up with new ways to further improve their lives.
Once your interviews are done:
- Put together a list of all the problems your customers told you about
- See if any of your existing products or services solve their problems
- If not, create products or services that do!
I don’t recommend trying to create new needs. Only the late Steve Jobs was any good at that!
3) Always be focused on making their lives better — not just trying to sell them something.
In the olden days, big successful companies had teams of salespeople. Now, they have teams of educators.
Today, the businesses who are the best educators will be the most successful.
So, without putting any pressure on yourself to "sell something," or pressuring your readers to "buy something," write a newsletter that’s focused on educating them.
- Share what you learned while you were seeking solutions to their problems
- Keep them updated on the products or services you created for them
- Write blog posts, eBooks and guides on more advanced topics (based on their previous education)
- Set up a community where they can go to ask questions and get answers from their peers.
These are the kinds of things that will show your customers that you look at your growing newsletter list as an opportunity to make peoples’ lives better — not just sell them more stuff.
Since people always remember where they learn something from, when the time comes to buy, they’ll come to you.
4) Keep in touch!
Now that you’ve taken the time to interview and educate them, you’re well on your way to creating a highly-rewarding relationship with your customers.
That is, if you remember to maintain an active, open dialog.
Here are some more ways to further improve their education:
- Provide tips on how to get more value from your product or services (by preparing something in advance, or forming a new habit)
- Continue to notify them about new features and updates to your products or services
- Develop courses, webinars and online training videos exclusively for your existing customers.
At least once a month, ask your readers how they’re doing, and make yourself accessible by allowing them to hit "Reply" to your emails.
I don’t recommend setting your newsletter to come from "no-reply" – that just makes your readers feel like a robot is spamming them.
Shifting the focus of your newsletter towards being educational will help you transform your newsletter into a remarkable experience that will delight and empower your customers.
Empowered customers will seek you out on their own, so you’ll never have to ask them to buy again.
Delighted customers will appreciate how you’ve improved their lives, and become evangelists to sing praise for your company!