During the busiest shopping season of the year, more and more buyers are looking for gifts that are truly unique, customized, and special. One of the most effective ways to reach current and potential customers is through a smart newsletter strategy. Newsletters are great at any time of the year, but if you’re looking for an excuse to perfect your plans, here’s your moment. While every maker has their own ethos, there are some common newsletter mistakes small brands make.
Here’s how to avoid them:
Mistake #1: Not preparing enough in advance.
If you’re a one-man-or-woman-show, it can be difficult to set goals and give yourself time to prepare. After all, you’re meeting the demands of your business in the here-and-now, with little energy to think about what will happen next week, much less next month. Even so: it’s smart to think ahead for all newsletters. Not only do you need ample time to think critically about the promotions you may offer, but it allows room for creative and content edits too.
Take a deep breath and set calendar reminders about important holidays where a newsletter may be warranted. Think about Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, Cyber Monday, and the day after Christmas. You can send out your newsletter deals on each holiday itself, and also a week in advance to spark interest.
Mistake #2: Not targeting your list.
Think about a time when you received an email and your name was spelled incorrectly. Or someone encouraged you to shop with them and make a ‘first-time’ purchase… even though you’ve bought from them several times before. It probably rubbed you the wrong way, right? Though it feels like a subtle slight, segmenting your lists between current, possible and past customer can make a big difference in your open rates, click-throughs and—most importantly!—your sales. Your language and promotions should shift with each of these groups, based on their purchasing history or potential buying power.
If you want to go a step above, consider other opportunities where you can send strategic newsletters to various sectors. Perhaps you have a special email for last-minute buyers who have clicked through but not ordered. Or you decide to do a giveaway, which encourages participation and grows your newsletter base. The bottom line is that variety moves numbers, so get creative.
Mistake #3: Not investing time into design and copy.
Part of being self-aware as a person—and a solo-preneur—is understanding your strengths. And perhaps more importantly, your weaknesses. Though you may excel at crafting gorgeous pottery, creating jewelry masterpieces, or pouring fragrant and chic candles—you may not be a writer. Or a designer. And hey, that’s okay. But if you want your newsletters to stand out from the pack, it’s worth investing resources into hiring experts in other fields. Consider posting opportunities for local wordsmiths and InDesign masters on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other digital communities. If you’re on a limited budget, it’s worth checking out a nearby college where you may find a budding creative who will work for less.
Mistake #4: Not giving necessary information to promote a sale.
You’re offering 20 percent off a certain line of products. Awesome! For how long? Are there limits to how many purchases a person can make? Is shipping part of the deal, or nah? All too often, newsletters are sent out without consideration for the FAQ that a customer may have when they’re deciding to whip out their credit card. Before you hit ‘send,’ think critically about each step a possible customer would make and try to put yourself in their shoes if you were about to invest in a good.
And though it’s a little more technical, it’s worth checking out the promotional rules in your state. There are federal and state-driven regulations on promotions and emails to prevent fraudulent scam. Though you’re probably fine, the extra research could save you a possible headache.
Mistake #5: Not following up.
When someone gives you something, what do you say? Thank you, of course! Though it seems like a no-brainer, all too often, brands forget to follow up after a retailer purchases. This simple ‘I appreciate your business’ email can go a long way in fostering an ongoing relationship. If you’d like—and have the room in your budget for it—consider offering an extra small coupon, like 10 percent off, to encourage them to buy again. In a competitive landscape, the more you can do to build trust, the more retention you will capture.