This is the fourth in a series of posts about the elements of a successful newsletter.
If your newsletter is going to work for you -- in other words, if it's going to increase your income -- you've got to find a way to encourage people to buy something from you.
It's all very well putting in lots of great content that will get people reading if, once they have read your article, they continue to ignore your business.
It's only by putting some kind of offer into your newsletter that you will be able to get a return on investment for your efforts.
The key to a good offer is this: present to your reader a reason why they should purchase from you today.
Let's go through that sentence in more detail.
Present to your reader...
It's important to make it clear to your reader you are making them an offer. Here are some ways to do it:
- Include a coupon which they must take to your business in order to get something. For example, Bring this coupon in to receive a 10% discount
- Write an article in your newsletter that presents your offer. For example, How you can get a 10% discount this month... then explain the offer
- Include a paragraph or two that forms an offer at the end of an article about a related subject. For example, If you'd like to achieve the results Bob did, visit us this month - and receive a 10% discount on our service.
(Note - offers don't have to be price-related, of course, I'm just using price as an example.)
This is one of the most powerful concepts in marketing. If you give a good reason why you are presenting an offer, people are much more likely to comply. Dr Robert Cialdini, in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, tells the results of a study that was done on people lining up to use a photocopier. In the study, someone tries to push into the front of the line and would say one of 3 things.
Excuse me. I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?
Excuse me. I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush
Excuse me. I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?
In the first example, 60 percent of people let her go ahead.
In the second example, 94 percent of people let her go ahead.
In the third example, 93 percent of people let her go ahead.
There are 2 things we can pick up from this: 1) that if you give a reason, you are more likely to get what you want and 2) most strikingly -- it doesn't really matter what that reason is! After all, the third sentence didn't give any sort of real reason at all.
The different was that she gave a reason. So how can you use this knowledge in your newsletter? Simply by putting a reason into your offer, like this:
- I'm giving a 10% discount on this service because it's a new service I'm offering and I want as many people to try it as possible
- I'm offering you this service today because I think it's a really important component of...
- I'd like you to take up this offer because I think it's the cheapest deal in town right now
- I'm making this offer because now is the best time of the year to try...
...why they should purchase from you...
This is an extension of the "reason why", and it explains why they should purchase from you rather than any other option available. This is where you clearly differentiate why you and your offer are better than the alternatives, like this:
- It's the lowest priced on the market right now
- We offer a lifetime guarantee
- This is the only product to contain 100% hardwood
- This is the only product to have been tested by 500 people in 20 countries
- We also give you 2 free hours of consulting if you take us up on this offer
A deadline is important to get people to take action. Otherwise, there's a danger they will put your newsletter away and forget about you and your product or service. After all, people are very busy -- and some are quite lazy -- so it takes this little extra push to get them to take action.
So here's how to put some urgency into your offer:
- This offer is only open during the month of January
- I can only make this offer this week because I have another huge project starting on November 13
- I can't afford to make this offer for ever, so you need to come in with your coupon before February 28
So there you have an essential element of your newsletter: the offer.
And don't think you have leave it at just one offer. You can include more, if you can, especially if you can tie it to your newsletter's content.
(Photo on this post by asifthebes)