Category Archives: Newsletter

Build Your Own Audience with a Blog and Newsletter

Build Your Own Audience, Not Facebook’s: Newsletters and Blogs

We all publish content for our audiences in print, on our websites, in e-mails, and on social media. We all contact our clients by e-mail, phone calls, and until recently in-person meetings. Now, with these stay-at-home times, digital media is a higher priority than it was a few months ago.

First, let me bash social media a little: a major disadvantage of social media is that when you build your audience there, your’e mostly building the audience for Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. For instance, when you post on a business page on Facebook, estimates are that it is shown to less than 20% of your page followers, some say as low as 6%. You can pay to show it to more people, of course.

Second, here’s a better idea: build your own audience.

Newsletters and blogs go hand-in-hand to publish content and contact clients. They are a cost-effect way to build and reach your audience.

Two Strategies for your Content

Content Marketing

The goal of content marketing (CM) is to bring people back for more content. As your audience builds, you can advertise your company or sell sponsorships to other companies who want to advertise to your audience. With CM, getting a large audience is critical, and it takes time to build that audience. It also takes content the audience wants to see.

Touchpoint Marketing

One goal of touchpoint marketing (TM) is to keep your company or products in the recent memory of your audience. Lots of media can be part of the mix: social media, phone calls, and newsletters. Until COVID-19, trade shows and events were a part of it. These days I’m suggesting clients consider a blog and newsletter.

Blog and Newsletter Combined

A blog and newsletter can be part of content marketing or touchpoint marketing or both. Content you publish can be used on both. You can

  • publish blog posts and then send a newsletter with links to those blog posts
  • publish a newsletter and use the same content as a blog post.
  • both of the above–whichever suits the moment

Once you have a blog post, you should publish it on social media.

BTW: You can call your blog anything like News, or Updates, or Newsletter. You don’t have to call it a blog.

Wait, There’s More – SEO

Website content is important to SEO, so adding relevant blog posts to your site can help you get found on Google and other sites.

Content

Have something to say. If a newsletter is to be worth anything, you have to regularly create content. It could be sales information, product announcements, technical support articles, how-to tips, or links to articles you find online. You can find general guidelines all over the internet. The exact content for you depends on your business, your goals, and your audience.

One way or another, at least once a quarter and maybe more, you need content.

Where to Create Newsletters

I always recommend a newsletter service instead of managing your list on your computer; good services make sign up and list management easy, and they keep you within the law. For starters, I recommend MailChimp. They offer a free level that’s perfect for starting out. Others include Contact Contact and iContact. Search Google, you’ll find plenty of reviews.

IMPORTANT BIT: Make sure you can export your list from the service. That way you can keep a local back up and move to another service when you want. 

A Word About Opt-In Only

You should add people to your newsletter list only after they explicitly opt in. By law, you can add customers, but reputable newsletter services go further requiring permission from each recipient. It’s the right way to handle it. Please, be kind, go with opt-in only.

How do you get somebody to opt-in? You ask. Make it part of getting information from new clients. Send an e-mail to existing clients. Put a sign-up form on your website.

Where to Create Blog Posts

Blogs are done on your website. WordPress has a built-in blog, so if you’re site is built with WordPress, you’re almost ready. It’s just a matter of changing some settings, checking the design, and turning it on. Oh, and you have to come up with content.

Check with your webmaster about what’s available for your site.

Building Your Audience

At first, it’s a slow process. If you’re lucky enough to create a viral video, you might build an audience quickly. Most likely, you’ll build your audience over a few months and longer. Even if your list isn’t big, a small list of existing clients can be effective. Keep at it. Ask new and existing clients for permission to add them to your list.

Plan and execute for the long term. In a year you’ll have a bigger newsletter list and a year’s worth of relevant content on your site.

Call or E-mail Your Questions

With COVID-19 keeping everybody at home, digital marketing is a priority. A newsletter and blog are cost-effective ways to keep in contact with customers, build your own audience, and improve your website’s SEO.

As always, call or e-mail me your questions.

Success with Trade Shows Cover

Success with Trade Shows FREE Guide

I updated “Success with Trade Shows.” It’s reformatted, digitized, optimized and tagged. And it’s full of information to smooth out the hassles of a trade show.

  • scheduling
  • budgeting
  • signs and displays
  • tips and tricks
  • checklist
  • and more

Success with Trade Shows

Download the PDF.

E-mail Plan, Facebook Changes

(This is a re-post of our February 2018 newsletter sent by e-mail. Subscribe to our newsletter here.)

Topics this month:

E-mail Backups
A client recently lost a lot of e-mail. It could have been prevented with regular backups. My advice: get a handle on your company e-mail system.

Facebook Changed the News Feed
Facebook announced that it was reducing the number of business and publisher posts in the news feed.


Email Large Graphic

E-mail – What’s a Business to Do?

First, e-mail is an IT function, not a marketing function.

Fifteen years ago, e-mail was pretty simple: a desktop computer connected to the mail server over the internet. It wasn’t directly related to marketing like a website, but it was included with website hosting. Most website hosting service includes e-mail, and it’s included with Pacesetter Media hosting.

Today, it’s more complicated. People access e-mail from anywhere on multiple devices. There are potential virus and security risks. And some companies want all e-mail archived and backed up.

It’s increasingly a combination of technical issues, business requirements and training. For most companies, it’s not simple.

The primary factors that complicate things:

  • Number of Users
    Obviously, one e-mail user is simpler than five users, and five is simpler than 20 e-mail users.
  • Individual Requirements
    Some people use one desktop computer to get e-mail. Others use multiple devices and need e-mail synced across all devices. Some people access e-mail from anywhere in the world. Others are always in the same office.
  • Business Requirements
    What do you need: backups, access from anywhere, mobile devices? Are your users tech savvy? Can they manage their e-mail and your business requirements themselves? Do you need training? Monthly support? On-call support?

The Best Approach

Take these primary factors, multiply them together, and that’s how complicated your e-mail system needs to be. And it’s technical, dependent on your current computer systems (including mobile devices), and dependent on the training of your e-mail users and tech support.

I would detail a generic solution to cover most businesses, but there are too many exceptions for most businesses.

Get IT Involved

If you have an IT department or computer support person, get them involved. Some of these decisions are technical and should be part of your overall plan for your computers. Your IT folks should already know your computers and network, and they’ll have to support your e-mail decisions.

Back Up

Whatever you do, include steps to back up your e-mail. You should certainly back up every computer regularly, and maybe that’s all you need. But I also suggest setting your devices to leave e-mail on the server for 35 days. That way, if a computer crashes, the most recent e-mail is quickly available. (Possible Exception: Somebody who receives lots of e-mails with large files. Like I said, there are exceptions to every rule of thumb I can offer.)

E-Mail Consultation

Have questions? Call so we can start the conversation about the best approach for you. If needed, I’ll come in, review your current systems, and write up my recommendations.


Facebook Changed

You wouldn’t believe how smart I felt the week after the January newsletter went out. In that newsletter, I said, “You can spend lots of time building a following and then lose control when Facebook limits your reach. It’s up to them, and if they change their terms next week, who knows what they’ll do?”

The next week, Facebook announced that it was reducing the number of business and publisher posts in the news feed. It’s not all bad for business; Facebook is trying to reduce low-quality and untrustworthy posts. They also say they’re showing more personal posts from friends and family. But for business, this still probably means less exposure without paid advertising (which is still pretty good as advertising goes).

So I’m sticking with my assessment from last month: An e-mail newsletter is still the most cost effective way to reach your customers in mass. Most businesses should have at least a minimal presence of Facebook. For some businesses, lots of Facebook interaction is fitting.

But, dang, I felt pretty smart the week after last month’s newsletter. 🙂


Get Reminders for Your Events

As you’re planning your events, remember to send me your dates. I’ll add them to the calendar and contact you at least one month before to make sure your print and promo materials arrive on time. If you’re planning a big event or a new campaign, I can contact you even earlier.
 Pacesetter Media – Solving Promotion Problems