This is one of the questions I most often hear in relation to e-mail marketing. And many companies do not do email marketing at all because they are afraid of not being able to come up with something to write.
And I will not deny that there may be companies, for whom it indeed is not the best idea to write newsletters. Because successful e-mail marketing requires work. And it is a continuous task. Continuity is, after all, one of the great strengths of newsletters.
If you are one of those people who has not yet started writing newsletters because you do not think you have enough ideas, then you should read on. Likewise, read on if you do not produce the newsletters you want, because you have not yet figured out how to build an idea bank so you’ll always have something to write about.
Some of the classic methods for finding content for newsletters are:
- Answer those questions you often hear from customers and potential customers
- Review the mistakes that customers and potential customers often make in relation to the problem you can help them with.
- Tell them what to do instead
- Start with one of your existing customers. Have them tell you why they contacted you, what you did and what the results were.
There are many other methods you can use to create content. However, that is not the point now. Instead, I’m going to take you a layer deeper into the methods I’ve just shared with you.
Hold the red thread
I am sure you can easily start making a list of ideas based on my three aforementioned focal points. The problem is just that you don’t necessarily get a red thread in the topics. Even if you only write newsletters on the same topic or related topics, you could easily write newsletters that speak to one customer type one day and the next day reach another customer type; because, customers are affected by different, both in terms of content, tone, the frequency of newsletters and all sorts of other aspects of newsletters.
This means that all the readers will be confused about what you want and what they can expect from you. And even worse: The customer type who initially felt connected and might be wondering if he or she should use one of your promotional offers, could change their mind if you send out a new newsletter that suddenly caters to a completely different customer type. And if you are not in control of your customer type, you may be constantly getting it a little wrong without knowing it.
In the “What questions do customers ask” category, the questions can therefore be classified by customer type. Some customers primarily ask about how to perform a certain action and still be authentic to themselves. Others may want to know how to perform the exact same action, but avoid getting bored at the same time.
A third type will know exactly what he gets out of the action, while a fourth will have a how-to list, so he can do the job – incl. all the subtasks – properly and in the correct order.
And some readers want to know who you are as a person, while others primarily ask about your CV and your results.
Select the “error angles” and cases according to your customer type
Similarly, customer mistakes can be divided according to which types of customers typically make which mistakes and, in particular, which types of customers the various mistakes hurt the most.
For some, the worst thing is to be told that they are paying too much for a service or that they are being cheated. Others will never find out if they are paying too much because they don’t do the math, but they would be very sorry to be perceived as bad people.
And some will probably disagree with you as to whether the error you mention in the newsletter is a mistake at all. Perhaps instead they are thinking “Spending money is a waste” or “I’d rather do something than nothing”.
Therefore, you also need to know your type of customer in order to be able to choose which errors you want to write your newsletters from.
Especially if you start with customer cases in which your current customers speak out, what they tell you is essential, especially in terms of who they are.
Therefore, the best strategy may be to opt out of focussing on your best ambassador and instead focus on a customer who is still satisfied but less exuberantly satisfied, if the latter says more about how your primary customer type feels connected or has a profile that speaks more to your customer type.
The customer type also determines the length of your newsletter
Another frequent question in relation to e-mail marketing is: “How long should a newsletter be?”
Again, it is important to know which customer type you are addressing.
Two of the emotional customer types do not want to read long texts. They both have a high level of activity in common. In addition, however, they have different reasons for preferring short texts. One abhors the idea that something will be boring, as long texts can easily become.
The other type hates wasting their time. However, this type also needs to be in control of the situation and needs a certain amount of information in order to be able to decide on a product. That’s why it’s important that you maintain his or her interest, knowing that everything you write is relevant and that you appear professional. That way, the customer will be conditioned to understand that he or she has a need and that you can be the right supplier. The former does not have the same need for control at all. In fact, quite the contrary. He or she even appreciates the flexibility of a service and the fact that there may be surprises along the way. That is why the first newsletter should always be short or extremely entertaining.
A third type has a very strong need to be prepared and to know what he or she is buying. At the same time, this type is very thorough. That is why he or she feels progressively safer at the prospect of a purchase while reading a long and detailed text. Not necessarily because they need the details, but because the details confirm that you’ve thought it all through.
And finally, note that what he or she needs are facts. Unlike the last type where all the information is equal, this customer type needs to understand who you are. Short or long doesn’t really matter. But he or she needs to feel the connection. And the more this type feels that your newsletter could have been an email from a close friend, the closer he or she will be to making the purchase.
These are just a few examples of how difficult it will be for you to reach your customer type properly if you have not decided what type of customer you want to attract with your marketing. Whether we’re talking about newsletters or any other form of marketing, there is a model that fits all companies. But if you take a position on your type of customer once and for all, you’ll therefore have a model that you can use across your marketing tasks, because the type of customer responds to the same stimuli, regardless of the type of marketing you are currently working with.