Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Company Email Newsletter Can Be Your Secret Weapon

Attracting new home buyers to your website, holding their attention long enough to browse it and finally getting them to fill out a form for more information is the goal of every modular home factory. 

When a form is filled out, that lead is distributed to the builder closest to the prospective home buyer and everything works great. To get people to your website many of you are using social media to drive them to it. Again, this is great.

But there is another target market you’re probably not paying enough attention to these days; your employees and builders.

In the good old days, prior to 2008, many factory owners had assigned someone in the office to be the ‘official’ editor of a printed newsletter that was sent out on either a quarterly or monthly basis. It featured stories about what is happening in the factory, new products, builder’s finished homes, a couple human interest stories and of course, birthdays.

I worked for a factory that sent these out quarterly and when it hit the sales floor we were all glued to it. Loyalty was earned through these newsletters. It was great to see something you might have been a part of mentioned in it or better yet when your birthday was featured.

In our increasingly paperless world, disbursing information is becoming both easier and more difficult at the same time. It’s easier because everyone has email and designing an email newsletter and sending it out on a regular basis can be automated. It’s harder because someone has to take the time out of their schedule to gather information from multiple sources, create the stories and have it ready to send out.

I can’t think of many factories that have a person with enough time to do this challenging job. Someone may volunteer to do it for a month or two but it soon becomes a chore trying to pry interesting stuff from the cold, almost dead fingers of the people in your company.

When it comes down to it, successful email newsletters are based on five basic principles:
  • Create a practical format
  • Be interesting
  • Be engaging
  • Keep it simple
  • Keep your deadlines!

Create a practical format
If you’re creating this newsletter for your own small business, you already know that you’re a strong and ambitious person, but with newsletters it’s probably a good idea to set the strong ambitions aside. Shoot for a simple, easy-to-read, and engaging format that not only avoids overwhelming your readers, it avoids overwhelming you on deadline day. Readers today generally like their information in quick bites, and a newsletter with between three and five stories is usually an achievable ñ and readable ñ length.

The most important thing to remember, however, is to make sure your newsletter is an achievable length both for you and your readers.

Be Interesting
What can you write about that will snag the attention of your reader? Remember, you don’t have to stick to stories within your company or even within modular housing industry.

Broaden your horizons by thinking outside of the box and finding stories that pertain to your company but also engage your reader. Another great benefit of these types of stories is that it might even encourage your readers to re-post them, another plus in your marketing campaign.

Your builders and employees will actually begin to look forward to them if you can keep it interesting.

Be Engaging
Interesting stories aside, you can quickly lose your audience if your articles are written in a boring, choppy, or poorly written manner. Additionally, if your articles are written with selling in mind, with lots of loud marketing language, your newsletter is as good as deleted from your builders’ and employee’s inbox.

Instead, write to engage, as though you’re having a conversation with the reader. Include little tidbits about your business – share some fun stories. If your company recently won an award, talk more about the experience rather than bragging about the honor. For example, say the company owner was on his way to the podium when his wife shouted “Way to go, John!” You could say how it took him almost a minute to stop blushing and give his acceptance speech.

No matter what, you want to make sure your point comes across in a clear, concise, engaging, and conversational manner. Make them feel like they’re a part of the family!

Keep it Simple
As a business person, this idiom is probably old hat for you, but it never hurts to get a reminder: whatever you do, keep it simple. Instead of making your readers slog through paragraphs of irrelevant and boring information to get to the gist of your article, try serving it to them in little bites of information. One good example comes from a local community newspaper. There’s one page that lists a handful of numbers in bold, like headlines, with a line of information beneath each. I remember those nuggets of facts far more than the information in the lengthy surrounding articles.

For example, the numeric headline might read “43,211” and the line of information beneath it states “The number of times the average person has looked at his or her email since the beginning of the year.”

You can utilize this format in your own business by creating interesting snippets of information that stick with your readers long after they’ve forgotten the articles. Your interesting facts could be the number of 2x4’s the factory has used the past year, countdown to Deer Season for the PA factories or the number of miles your homes are shipped each month. Whatever it is, make sure you provide your readers with information that’s short, simple, and to the point.

Keep your Deadlines
The author Douglas Adams once wrote, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” That mentality might work for authors, but not for modular home factory owners. If your employees and builders are expecting to see a newsletter from you every Wednesday by noon, make sure you’ve worked out your schedule so that will always be possible. Once they lose faith in your ability to keep deadlines, they start to lose faith in your company.

So the next time you’re working on your email newsletter, or considering starting one for your business, consider these five basic principles: Is it practical, interesting, engaging, and simple, and can you keep your deadlines? If so, you’re sure to have a loyal and rapidly growing readership in no time.

Writing a successful email newsletter for your employees and builders can be one of the best secret weapons you could ever create to build loyalty. 

If you would like help in starting one but just know how to begin, need some help putting it together or actually having someone from the Modular Home Builder blog staff create and maintain it, contact MODCOACH today. 

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