I recently attended a networking luncheon for the first time. The format was pretty simple: spend 30 minutes networking, and then as you eat lunch, everyone in attendance gets one minute to stand up and introduce themselves to the room.
Given that this was my first time attending, I was easily spotted as “fresh meat” for many of the long-time attendees. For the most part, everyone seemed to have a genuine interest in making sure I felt welcome and learning about who I am and what I do for a living.
However, there was one woman in the crowd who made a beeline towards me. She stuck out her hand, asked my name and immediately launched into her 30-second commercial (which felt more like two minutes). Talking as fast as she could, she told me she earned money by shopping online for products she uses everyday (such as dog food and energy drinks). She continued by saying that she thought that I would be an excellent candidate to join her business network and also earn money while shopping – under her umbrella (naturally).
Hmm … she figured all that out from my name?
There are several things this woman did to completely turn me off, so even if I was a frequent online shopper (which I am not), and even if I had the desire to earn a kickback while spending money (which I don’t), there is no way I’d be doing so under her umbrella.
And it is easy to understand why, right? Because the entire time she’s rattling off information about her business, I’m thinking, “You don’t even know me … or my needs, lady.” Those two minutes were completely about her. In fact, she was so into herself that she didn’t even fake interest in me and ask what I do for a living. The one-sided conversation ended with her handing me her card and telling me I should give her a call (and no, she didn’t ask for my card – and I wasn’t handing it over anyway).
This incident is a great example of what NOT to do – whether at a networking event or when you are building relationships through your newsletter.
One reason newsletters are so attractive to businesses and readers alike is that they aren’t perceived as “junk mail” – which is often the case with other direct mail pieces such as fliers and postcards. If done correctly, a newsletter is seen as a welcomed guest, full of useful information, just like other periodicals your customers and prospects receive. Newsletters are a great relationship-building tool!
All great newsletters have a secret formula (that really isn’t all that secret – we’re not talking Bush’s Baked Beans here). The secret to a great newsletter is where your focus lies. If you focus on just your company and promoting how great you are, your newsletter will fail miserable. It will be seen as a piece of junk mail (if mailed) or be reported as spam (if emailed), and instead of building relationships with potential new clients, you’ve effectively turned them away from you – possibly forever.
However, if you focus on what the reader wants to know and keep your newsletter educational, then you are building the foundation for a newsletter that is welcomed, and read, issue after issue. And a newsletter that is read is one that helps build trust and credibility between you and your potential clients.
Remember, the key to a great newsletter is to focus on developing copy that is useful and interesting to your reader, not on promoting your company. With that formula, you’re sure to cultivate trust and build lasting relationships.
Do you want to get started on a newsletter but don’t have the time or know-how to do it on your own? Contact me. Together, we can get one up and running for you in no time!
Tess Wittler Writing Services • Giving Your Visions A Voice