In a marketing world highly influenced by new and emerging social media, a newsletter may seem like an old-school advertising method. The view of newsletter as old-fashioned is not unsubstantiated; newsletters are considered by some as the oldest news media, with ties going all the way back to the Roman Empire! With the help of technology and the internet, newsletters continue to be an extremely effective way to communicate information. And while newsletters often get overlooked in the age of social media, their strengths are not to be excluded. As I’ve said before in the blog post, Why a Newsletter is a Must, a newsletter is one of the few marketing bodies of work that you actually own.
When marketing content is posted on social media, whether it be a status update on Facebook, or a photo of Instagram, we often consider this content to be ours. Facebook or Instagram could shut down tomorrow, or they could change their Terms of Service and all your content could be gone (or stuck behind a paywall). Therefore, a newsletter is a solid way to diversify your marketing strategy. Okay, okay…there is my argument on why newsletters are important. But…is a newsletter right for your business? I believe that a quality newsletter is an important marketing tool, but it is not for everybody. Consider these questions:
- Do I have regular (at least once a month) valuable content to communicate with my customers? This could be new product, a sale, a market you will be participating in, or even a sneak peak into your production.
- Do I have quality photos to include in my newsletter? Images should be eye-catching and purposeful.
- Do I have the time to send a ‘meaty’ newsletter on a consistent basis? Newsletters that are only used to push sales can be counterproductive.
- Will my newsletter serve a purpose? A purpose of a newsletter could be hosting a contest, introducing new products, informing your customers, supporting an affiliate or cause you believe in, etc.
- Do my customers/readers want a newsletter? Will they open it or just push it to spam?
While there are many factors that contribute to an effective newsletter, three stand above the rest; your newsletter needs to be consistent and contain useful, purposeful information with quality images. Think of the newsletters you receive in your inbox or actual mailbox. These newsletters might come from a business, an organization, or a club. Most likely, there is a pattern in terms of how often you receive them. There is also a purpose to the newsletter, (ie: sales, event notifications, contests, new products, strengthen relationships with customers) with supporting useful information. This purpose is most likely sustained by at least one quality image that grabs your attention, or strengthens the newsletters intent. It’s also important to consider if your customers want a newsletter; your customers should always have the option to sign up, or opt out for a newsletter. That’s actually the law!
If you’ve decided to develop a newsletter for your business, the first step is to choose a newsletter service and get comfortable with it. Popular newsletter services include MailChimp, EmailBrain, StreamSend, and Mad Mimi just to name a few. When deciding on a newsletter service, there are a few factors to consider:
- Does the service allow you to import emails from a list, rather than manually adding them yourself? This feature will save you time.
- Can you send a test email? Before sending out your newsletter, test it by emailing it to yourself. Check for any errors and make sure it looks great on various browsers and devices. It also helps to share this test with at least one other person to get a new set of eyes.
- What type of formatting options does the service offer? If you are familiar with HTML, you may prefer to create an original email. If you’re interested in learning HTML, there are plenty of great resources out there! If not, look for a service that offers templates and basic formatting options.
- How easily can you add images and hyperlinks to your newsletter? These features are a must if you’re selling online, sharing information to reference or trying to get someone to act.
- Does the service offer A/B testing? A/B testing allows two types of campaigns, so you can see which one is more successful. This feature is useful; it gives insight into your audience and allows you to fine-tune future marketing efforts.
- How is the service’s support feature? If you have never created a newsletter before, you will most likely have questions.
- Does the service your email to make sure it gets through spam filters? Words like, “sale!” and “free!” can send your email into a spam folder. Excessive exclamation points can do this as well.
Finding the right newsletter service for you can be tricky, so don’t be afraid of trial and error. I have used several different services over the years until I found the one that works for my company. Yes, newsletters are a lot of work. When you’re first starting your business, they may seem like a waste of time. Do not count them out! Take the time to explore your newsletter options, and remember the more newsletters you create, the easier the process becomes.
Thinking of giving newsletters a try? Keep your eyes on the blog this week for tips on how to create a better newsletter. You can sign up for Bramble Berry’s newsletter here.
Thank you for writing a blog on newsletters. I have one and have considered giving it up as I haven’t seen a lot of results from it. I know it takes time and it is a good thing to have. You have inspired me again and I soon as I finish typing this I will be starting to compose my February newsletter.
Thank you so much for your kind words! They really mean a lot to us. Have fun writing your newsletter Crystal. 🙂
-Kelsey with Bramble Berry
I would love to make the Summer Facial Toner, but no recipe to know what supplies I need to purchase and how much is needed of each of the three items other than the 1 cup of Witch Hazel.
Did I miss something? I could not find anything else to click to get the information for making this toner.
You can find the ingredients and how to make it in the Infused Aloe and Rose Water Toner Tutorial: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/infused-aloe-and-rose-water-toner/
The tutorial was also in our newsletter! Our newsletter has fun deals and tutorials you may like. You can sign up here: https://www.facebook.com/BrambleBerry/app_137918839619668
-Kelsey with Bramble Berry
I was in Bali, Indonesia and Maylasia in August and September in 2014. Would like to address Palm oil. I saw, first hand, the forests that were destroyed in order to grow Palm oil. I viewed them in Indonesia and Maylesia. After speaking to locals about Palm oil we were told there is no such thing as Palm oil that is grown in those regions without destroying the forests. May I ask where this “sustainable” Palm oil is grown? I can tell you for a fact it is not grown in these regions.
I also read many families grow Palm oil and it has assisted them in leaving the world of poverty behind. May I ask what regions this has happened in? It is not Indonesia or Maylasia.
The last two weeks of my trip I had the pleasure and honor of having Dr. Birute Galdikas on our two week trip of Boreno. Dr. Birute is the founder of the the Orangutan Foundation International Foundation and she established Camp Leaky around 1969 to study orangutans. She is a scientist, conservationist and educator. We were able to visit the orangutans in the wild as well as those at the rehabilitation center. All the organist are there because they lost their land because it was turned into Palm oil fields. All the babies are there because their mothers were shot and killed in those same Palm fields.
The Indonesia government is one of the most crooked government in the world. The officials are filling their pockets with money they receive from the Palm oil companies. Yer, they say they are helping their people and that no animals are hurt if they walk onto the Palm oil fields. Hmm, it is a different story when you actually see the Palm oil fields and see armed guards shooting to kill animals. I was there, I saw it. I saw the baby orangutans brought in from the oil fields, their mother’s bodies are quickly tossed so no one knows. Actually, they often make money on selling the young babies as exotic pets, can you imagine? Yet, the government says this is illegal.
Please contact the Orangutan Foundation at http://www.orangutan.org and ask them about so called “renewable” Palm oil and how local people are making a living at this. I did not know mugh about Palm oil before I visited this area, only a few things that I have read. It is shocking to see it in person and realize everything being written about it is false. Go see these areas for yourself. I never longer buy any product with Palm oil. Educate yourself, don’t believe what you read.
Great news – we’re affiliated with vendors of the RSPO and support sustainable palm oil!
The membership of RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) means that you are dedicated to promoting the sustainability of palm oil, as well as a healthy environment and fair pay for the workers. Being certified by the RSPO means that they have agreed that, based on their criteria, you produce, process and harvest your palm oil in a sustainable manner.
Here are some of the big, important points of being a member of the RSPO:
-Management discloses and makes available documents that talk about how their policies may impact the environment and local economy.
-They comply with all local, national, and international laws.
-They can demonstrate their right to use the land, and that it’s not locally contested.
-Harvesting and planting practices are demonstrated to maintain or improve soil fertility.
-Practices minimize soil erosion, and maintain the quality and availability of surface and ground water.
-Pest control measurements are monitored and kept up-to-date, and no preventative pesticides may be applied (except in some specific cases).
-All staff are appropriately trained and there is an occupational health and safety plan in place. -Rare, threatened, or endangered local species in the area are identified, and plans to minimize the plantation or mill’s impact are factored into management plans.
-Waste is reduced, reused and recycled in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
-Use of fire as a method of waste disposal is avoided in all situations, except special cases.
-Pay conditions for employees meet at least legal or industry standards and are sufficient to provide a decent living standard.
-Children are not employed or exploited, and are only permitted if working on their family’s farm and it doesn’t interfere with their education.
-Any form of discrimination is prohibited.
Whew! That only covers the biggest points, but as you can see, “sustainable” palm oil is a complex creature, and members of the RSPO can only do the best that they can based on the current research and planting methods. Also, keep in mind that soapmakers and all of cosmetics (this includes Burt’s Bees, Loreal etc…) use less than 3% of the palm oil in the market. The vast majority, over 97%, goes to food uses so be sure to check those processed food ingredients and make a change at the grocery store if palm oil is an ingredient of concern for you.
Also, we support two Orangutan Conservation Groups and recently donated enough that the group was able to buy a substantial plot of jungle forest.
If you are still leery of using palm oil as an ingredient in your soap, here are some palm free recipes that we created just for you!
A Palm Free In The Pot Swirl: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/a-palm-free-in-the-pot-swirl/
A Palm Free Vertical Twist Tutorial: http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/palm-free-vertical-twist-tutorial/
If you are a melt and pour soap crafter, you’ll be happy to know that all of our melt and pour soap bases use sustainable palm oil: https://www.brambleberry.com/Bramble-Berry-Bases-C11.aspx
Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns on the subject. 🙂
-Kelsey with Bramble Berry