StartupNation Growth Hacks #1: Create a Newsletter to Engage Customers, Drive Sales

The first in a series.

Welcome to StartupNation Growth Hacks!

With more than 24 years of experience covering startups and small businesses, we’ve built up a knowledge base of what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur and we’re eager to share what we’ve learned. We’ve identified easy-to-implement, game-changing tactics to advance your business objectives.

Why newsletters are important

  1. You’ll create a direct connection to your customers and will be able to source firsthand customer data in an era of tightening privacy concerns.
  2. You’ll be able to message and engage your most loyal customer base by alerting them to new inventory, key events, sales, and promotions and deals. All of these engagement opportunities lead to revenue opportunities
  3. You’ll be able to unlock a powerful opportunity to use storytelling, thought leadership and brand attributes to build on your relationship with your customers, leading to a more loyal customer base.

Let’s get to work!


Here’s how to put this week’s growth hack into action now.

To start a newsletter that drives results, follow these simple steps:

1. The value of any newsletter is only as good as the quality of your email list. To grow a high value list, first and foremost make it easy for readers to sign up on your website. Make sure the sign-up opportunity is in plain sight and not hidden deep on the site. And while there is always a temptation to get as much information from customers as possible during the sign-up process, don’t ask for much other than first name and email address. You don’t want to create any barriers to acquiring sign-ups. You can ask your customers for more info later once trust is built and value is evident.

2. Make sure the value of signing up is clear and compelling in your messaging. Examples of such critical messaging include: a description of the content customers should expect to receive and why it will be of value to them; any promises you want to make to them in a personalized “from-the-heart” message format and style, and/or even an enticement to sign up in the form of an initial promotion.

3. Once you have a list, you need to develop content that delivers on your promise. To achieve this, stay true to your brand attributes and to your voice. In other words, be authentic, personal, and don’t hesitate to stand for something. Today’s customers are hungry to do business with companies that have a greater purpose, so if your company has one, share it. And according to the 2022 U.S. Consumer Trends Report, a recent study by Attest, 57% of consumers want marketing message to amuse and entertain them, so if you have a sense of humor, use it! Most of all, make sure the content has value – whether informational or promotional. You want your readers to find real value and to go away wanting more.

4. Establish a content and distribution calendar to help you stay on track and maintain regular distribution of your newsletter as a discipline. If you deliver on your promise to engage your customers in such a way that makes them eager to receive your newsletter, they will be expecting it regularly, which is exactly what you want, and you must therefore maintain that regular schedule of delivery to continue to meet their expectations. The Attest study also cites the delivery cadence most desired indicating that in general, 17% prefer daily delivery, 26% weekly and 11% monthly. The key is to match your frequency with your ability to deliver consistently high-quality content.

5. To create and distribute your newsletter, use an email distribution service. There are many good options, but examples of some of the best include Mailchimp and Constant Contact. Using these platforms helps you manage and execute the entire process and ensure deliverability.

Bonus hack #1:

Use your email to get that supremely valuable firsthand customer data and source more information in the process. Use survey questions about relevant products — for example, ask for location data, additional contact information, and more —  to begin to build profiles on customers. Ultimately, you can segment your list based on your data and then offer more relevant, even personalized, messages and promotions targeting areas of specific interest customer by customer.

Bonus hack #2:

Be sure you make it easy for your readers to share your newsletters with others via social channels and email. Remember, a call to action is key!

Put this hack to work for you now. There is no time like the beginning of the new year to add new ways of growing your business, and a newsletter is simply one of the best.

Verizon Small Business Digital Ready: A free resource for learning basic business skills, the latest digital technology and more.

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