Straightforward and simple e-newsletters can be an effective way for independent agents to communicate and connect with clients. Here are five ways to make e-newsletters work for you.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live and work, often blurring the line between the two. From my home office, in between Zoom calls, I find myself observing the comings and goings of the birds outside my window. Their antics are a welcome way to break up the workday.
I am not alone. Once a favorite hobby of senior citizens, birdwatching, or birding, has surged in popularity over the last few months—especially among a younger generation looking for ways to stay connected to nature and unplugged from technology while dealing with a world that feels upside down.
My newfound interest in birding got me to subscribe to my local bird shop's e-newsletter, a brilliant piece of branded content that has kept the shop thriving during the lockdown. Straightforward and simple, it almost feels “old-fashioned" compared to social media. It also contains lessons for independent agencies as they reopen their doors and look for ways to communicate and connect.
Here are five ways to make e-newsletters work for you:
1) Be original. Don't simply recycle material from your other platforms; your newsletter should contain pieces of original content that engage your readers and keep them wanting more. You may find that putting together a written newsletter provides a structural narrative that helps you decide which content goes where, such as sharing images on Facebook and announcements on Twitter.
2) Tell stories. Showcase your involvement in the community. Let people know how your agency is adapting. Keep in mind that people want information delivered in digestible bits, so use headlines, subheadings and succinct paragraphs.
3) Stick to a schedule. Whether it is once a month or once a quarter—stick to the publishing schedule that you have committed to. Now more than ever, there is tremendous value in consistency. As the adage goes, “80% of success is showing up."
4) Make it easy to subscribe. Don't rely on people to subscribe from your website or your social media pages. Ask everyone you talk to if they would like to be added to your e-newsletter list. Then enter their information yourself.
5) Make it even easier to unsubscribe. Reassure people that they can unsubscribe with ease at any time—and then make sure that they can.
There's no doubt that writing and producing a quality e-newsletter takes more effort than posting on social media and asking people to “join in the conversation," but the fact is that few of them will see your post because the most creative, dynamic social media post is still a passive communication tool.
A better question to ask is: How can we actively inform, educate and entertain in a way that makes it easy for people to find us? My guess is that for many agencies, a smartly written, well-edited e-newsletter delivered directly to people's inboxes fits the bill.
Patrick Galvin is a TEDx speaker and presenter who has keynoted at Big “I" conferences in five states. He is also the author of “The Connector's Way: A Story About Building Business One Relationship at a Time," a business parable that features an independent insurance agency owner as its central character.