In this catchup James and Will look at the resurgence of newsletters as a way to convert qualified leads to customers.
They’ll discuss the best methods to nurture leads via newsletters.
And they’ll talk about sustaining the delivery of and engagement with your newsletter.
Table of contents
1. Will’s current newsletter involvements
2. The wisdom of a house list
3. James’s new podcast email approach
4. The pluses and challenges of newsletters
5. Getting people to subscribe
6. The power of a micro list
7. Getting beyond the micro
8. Deliverability and maintaining open rates
9. The other stuff you can send people
10. Doing it yourself versus getting help
11. Creating the need for the newsletter
12. Where newsletters aren’t ideal
13. Exciting times for the newsletter
Will’s current newsletter involvements
Will has had a recent shift in marketing approach, from relying solely on cold emails for B2B lead generation to adopting newsletter strategies.
Seeing a change in market dynamics, with leads taking longer to respond and with elongated sell cycles, Will sought more effective and long-lasting methods. He realized that instead of sporadic cold emailing, building a long-term asset in the form of a B2B newsletter for clients would be more beneficial.
After a few months of testing, the overwhelmingly positive results confirmed the potential of this strategy, prompting a significant change in GrowthLabz’s client services.
The wisdom of a house list
James speaks to the time-tested value of building a house list in marketing.
Drawing parallels with large mail order companies, he explains how these businesses often run newspaper ads at a loss, not for immediate profits, but to add customers to their house list.
This strategy allows them to continuously market to these clients, enhancing the customer’s lifetime value and encouraging more purchases over time.
James’s new podcast email approach
James has evolved his own podcast email approach, inspired by new trends he’s observed, particularly among young entrepreneurs on Twitter who run solo businesses with newsletters.
By adopting a story-driven, newsletter-style email to announce new podcast episodes, he’s noticed an uplift in open rates. The compelling content encourages listeners to engage with the podcast directly from their inboxes.
Not only does this method provide a more immersive experience, but it also fosters a stronger connection between James and his audience, leading to increased interactions and feedback.
The pluses and challenges of newsletters
Newsletters, a traditional marketing tool, serve as an effective insurance against short-lived campaigns, especially when combined with powerful strategies like podcasts or cold email outreach.
The quality of subscribers and the content sent are key to maintaining a successful newsletter. For instance, technical products or complex services might require more nurturing content like videos or case studies, which not only educate but also showcase authority.
High-quality leads generated through newsletters can significantly reduce sales cycles, turning prospects into clients in record time.
Will stresses the long-term and short-term benefits of newsletters, noting how businesses can even capitalize on them. An example is The Hustle’s acquisition by HubSpot, solely based on their newsletter outreach.
James further underscores the importance of a robust customer database, recalling his time at Mercedes-Benz and how valuable a customer list was to the company. A business doesn’t need a vast database, he says, but rather a highly engaged and targeted one. Even with a modest list, if the subscribers are engaged and the content is compelling, it can lead to substantial business profits.
Getting people to subscribe
Will discusses the process of turning potential leads from cold contacts into subscribers of a newsletter. He emphasizes gaining permission from these contacts before adding them to an ongoing communication stream, ensuring that the outreach is ethical and actually desired by the recipient.
One effective strategy of Will’s involved setting up in-person meetings, like coffee chats, with his client and potential referral partners. During these meetings, the client would share the value and insights that the newsletters offer, and directly seek the potential partners’ permission to add them to the email list, with positive results.
This personalized approach can lead to a high-quality, engaged subscriber base that can significantly impact business revenue, even with a relatively small number of subscribers.
The power of a micro list
James agrees: you can do a lot with a targeted micro email list.
James shares a related story about his surfing pastime and how he periodically sells surfboards. One board buyer recently reached out to him asking if he was selling any other boards.
There’s huge potential, says James, of reaching out to a very specific audience, like, say, 100 people who have previously purchased his surfboards. These individuals are highly qualified, have shown interest, and are likely to be interested in similar boards James might sell in the future.
This personal experience indicates the very probable effectiveness of hyper-targeted outreach, even with a small list.
Getting beyond the micro
Will delves into expansion beyond micro lists, using, for instance, a recurring lead magnet, such as an industry report updated quarterly. This approach naturally prompts subscribers to opt-in for future updates, as the information is continuously renewed and relevant.
James draws a parallel with real estate agents updating homeowners on market statistics, enhancing their reputation as authorities in their field. This consistent outreach nurtures potential clients through a longer sales cycle, positioning the business as the primary choice when the prospect is ready to act.
Deliverability and maintaining open rates
Email deliverability and maintaining open rates is important. Will points out the advantage here of newsletters: subscribers have willingly opted in, reducing concerns about emails being flagged as spam.
James highlights a proactive strategy where he prompts recipients to reply to an email after downloading his free book. This engagement not only ensures the email’s receipt but also reinforces its desirability, helping to enhance James’s reputation and improve deliverability.
The other stuff you can send people
So, industry insights being one thing you can send in a newsletter, what else could you possible send, asks James? He’s mentioned his own approach of notifying about new podcast episodes.
Will segments his advice into two categories: The first is an automated nurture sequence sent to new subscribers, aiming to identify and nurture the small percentage actively seeking solutions. This sequence highlights the complexity of the issue and presents their services as a potential solution.
The second category includes content that educates and entertains the audience, such as case studies showcasing client successes, detailed reports on their strategies, and sharing speaking engagements or podcasts.
Doing it yourself versus getting help
James sees the challenges solopreneurs face in managing their businesses, and contrasts it with having a team. He empathizes with people who are stretched thin, trying to manage everything on their own.
Will shares his skepticism about the solopreneur hype, knowing the significant stress and limitations of working alone. It might be different, though, he speculates, if they were, say, selling courses?
James thinks courses are becoming commoditized. He stresses the value of personal mentorship and individualized experiences, highlighting changes in his own offerings to emphasize these aspects.
Will touches on the importance of assessing the market and offers advice to solopreneurs: it’s crucial to determine what components of a business strategy one can realistically handle alone, and where outside expertise could be valuable. For businesses with some budget, partnering with specialized agencies can yield better results with less effort.
Creating the need for the newsletter
James highlights the inherent human desire to stay informed, drawing parallels between traditional news consumption and the allure of newsletters. What’s the best approach for gaining newsletter subscribers, he wonders, whether via a sales page or direct email opt-ins?
Will, advocates for a more personal touch, reaching out directly via email rather than redirecting potential subscribers to a sales page. He underscores the value of human interaction, suggesting it fosters stronger relationships and better engagement, especially as many businesses are moving towards automation.
Where newsletters aren’t ideal
What are the potential downsides of using newsletters in business marketing strategies?
Will points out two primary concerns: speed and effort.
Firstly, newsletters might introduce a slight delay in securing initial client calls. The resulting conversations, however, tend to be of higher quality, since prospects have engaged with the content prior to the interaction.
Secondly, directly cold emailing prospects to schedule calls remains a simpler approach. The newsletter strategy demands more effort, including curating content and deciding on the frequency and timing of emails.
Despite these challenges, the enhanced lead quality derived from newsletters can balance out the drawbacks.
Exciting times for the newsletter
James is enthused by the resurgence of newsletters. He’s always liked the idea of news, though the challenge there, of course, is to consistently produce quality content.
James believes newsletters are a potent tool for building rapport and nurturing potential clients. They offer an excellent way to engage audiences, as shown by the positive metrics from his podcast announcements.
For those interested in understanding and leveraging the potential of newsletters for their businesses, Will and his team can be found at GrowthLabz.com.
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