Sticking with Newsletters — No Quitting Allowed

When you or a kid signs up to play a sport for a season or to take music lessons during the school year, do you quit after a couple of lessons because you’re not good enough? Of course not! Most of us know it takes months (even years) of practice to get better at something.

My son would disagree. He expects to be good at something NOW or forget about it. I took up tennis three years ago because I longed to play a sport again and there weren’t any volleyball or softball leagues to be had. I was embarrassed by my play for at least a year, but I kept at it.

You see, I grew up playing sports. That was my thing. I lucked out that I turned out to be a good player in several team sports. Sports gave me confidence and made me feel like a normal person — not an inferior deaf person. To boot, I was good. So my team appreciated my efforts. It was nice to feel wanted.

Email Newsletters and Sports

What does this have to do with newsletters? People give up “before the season is over” and fold their newsletters. They take time to get going and once they do, they strengthen your relationship with your clients and to-be clients. They trust you more with each tidbit you give them in every issue.

My little meryl’s notes newsletter doesn’t have many readers for a newsletter that’s five years old. In the beginning of its life, it didn’t come out on a regular basis. Now, it goes out every one to two months. I don’t work hard to promote it. I focus on client newsletters instead and theirs grow to five or six figures.

Making the Time for Email Marketing

Whenever we talk to a new or a “we hope to land soon” client, we take care to stress the relational aspect of newsletter marketing. In fact, we go lengths to tell people that it takes time to build a list, time to develop trust, and time for people to feel comfortable enough to make the contact to initiate a purchase.

We say this because we believe it. Wholeheartedly and without reservation. We also believe this is the only way to be effective. (Well, another way is to have tens of millions of dollars of VC and ….. wait, that didn’t work well, eh?)

We take the time to advise people on how to start newsletters, get the list rolling, and begin building relationships with prospects and customers and, over time, they reap the rewards.

Since we spend lots of time doing this, you’d think we are calm folks, sipping cafe lattes while waiting patiently (yeah, right) for our brilliant marketing strategy to work. Right? Unfortunately for our poor stomachs, the answer is a resounding, “nope!”

Patience on Email Marketing, My Dear

Hey, finding new clients today is a rough ride. The end rewards of newsletter marketing are great after taking the time to get the ball rolling to see the effects. We like to say, “It’s like a locomotive. It can take a while to get rolling, but once it does, it pulls a lot of weight.”

The knee-jerk response to moments of slow sales, or prospective sales, is to renege on the principles behind newsletter marketing and hunt for prospects rather than maintain the farming system put into place.

Occasionally, we become tempted to throw our own advice out the window and, in a knee-jerk reaction, hunt rather than farm.

Dealing with Slow Results

Here is how to cope with such moments and get our minds back into gear, where we can pay attention, once again, to our own logic:

  • Look at the number of new subscribers: Nothing makes you feel better than to look at the number of new subscribers. It gives you a warm fuzzy knowing that people respond to the message and choose to opt-in to the newsletter. We think that every new reader is also a potential client and colleague.
  • Look for reading patterns: Next to new subscribers, nothing gets us juiced like checking out how people are reading the newsletters. This tells us that we have done our jobs properly and people do find the newsletters valuable. (We give each other high-fives here.)
  • Look at the statistics for our Web site: In the final analysis, the only stat that matters is new orders or new service requests. But farmers know that “you reap what you sow.'”We look at the total number of visits to our Web sites, see if people are visiting the “right page” (the page with our free offer), which other pages they look at, and which continents from which they come.
  • Plan a strategy of attack for the next round: Two things we never lack are ideas and energy. We have them both in good supply, we constantly put our ideas out there, and suggest new ways to bring clients on board. This helps lots because — at a minimum — it distracts us and gets us working on something. Always a good thing.
  • Review our current client list: We love this because it confirms that things work and more good things will come.

Tasks like these are the keys to building and maintaining your trust in the newsletter marketing philosophy. It’s not quick and easy. It’s not a marriage proposal on the first date. But, over time and through repeat contact, it does work and we build and deepen our relationships.

Lesson: When you believe something is true, and you advise others to act in accordance with that truth, make sure you walk the talk.

So I keep on practicing tennis and my son sees that. I can only hope my actions will help him realize it takes lots of practice to succeed. All of my teams have come in last place. However, when I played in a progressive league over the summer (in the end, it’s individuals who win), I came in second!

I tell my son about my teams’ losses and wins focusing on the fun I had and putting my skills to work. It paid off and I’m confident that I will see more winning seasons just like you’ll see wins from your newsletter.

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