Newsletter Trends for 2018 and How GDPR Applies
If you’ve felt trapped or overwhelmed at the thought of creating weekly newsletters, keep reading. I’m about to give you a guilt-free “Get Out of Jail Free Card.”
And if you love writing newsletters – and attract a lot of clients that way – keep reading because you’re going to learn the latest trends for 2018, as well as how GDPR regulations may impact your email marketing.
For years, marketing experts have taught health coaches that they HAVE to put out a newsletter if they want to attract clients. And that was true… at one time. Until a few years ago, it’s what I taught my own clients. And until a few years ago, the strategy was sound.
Before we can understand newsletter trends for 2018 and what’s changed, let’s take a look at the past.
Jump Back 15 Years
In the early 2000’s, building a list of subscribers was simply a matter of offering a free newsletter on your website, or even better, a free e-book with a newsletter. People couldn’t get enough free information, especially on cutting-edge topics or micro-niches.
Online marketers figured out pretty quick that they could make 5 to 10 times more sales if they offered to “stay in touch,” rather than immediately asking for a sale. With a name and email address, they could continue to educate and promote products to subscribers over and over again.
And it worked like gang-busters. Profits exploded as sales increased, and expenses were extremely low in comparison to traditional mail advertising.
So what change? Two things, actually.
Too Much Information
Think back to the days before email and internet, when people actually paid money to receive magazines and newsletters in the mail. Chances are you only paid for a few subscriptions, and they came in once a month.
Now imagine for a moment if every day you had 3 to 5 newsletters or magazines land in your mailbox (not your inbox, but your mailbox). No matter how great the information in each one was, would you have time to read them all? No. Could you at least read most of them? No, not if you were getting over 100 a month.
That’s the exact situation that has developed for most people today, except with their email inbox. They don’t intend to clutter their inbox with all those newsletters. But they sign up for a newsletter here, a training webinar there, and before you know it – BAM! – inbox overwhelm.
And your own subscribers are no different. They see your newsletter in their inbox, but they are drowning in a sea of information.
To put this in perspective here are some statistics from Evernote.com:
“By 1950, human knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today, that’s been reduced to 14 months. In less than a decade, thanks largely to our interconnected devices, the sum total of all human knowledge will be doubling every day.”
Changes that Didn’t Work
In an effort to stand out in the inbox, online marketers started making changes, like making their newsletters shorter, improving their subject lines, or adding extra characters and punctuation in the subject lines. That helped, but the results were short-lived as inbox-overwhelm became more and more of a problem.
Another strategy was to send email more often or even daily. Experts are still teaching health coaches that the more often you email your list, the more money you will make. Well, that strategy works to a certain point.
Think of it this way. There are probably very few people that you want to get email from several times a week. Your merchant account or bank deposit notices would certainly qualify. The person helping you resolve a difficult challenge or fix a painful problem is another. But if an email message isn’t urgent, it often won’t be read.
The problem with email alone is that it’s one-way communication. Your readers can read your messages, newsletters, and articles and learn more about you. But it doesn’t allow YOU to learn more about them and thereby connect with them on a personal level.
An Important Shift – Social Media
Things started to change around 2007. I remember attending an online marketing conference that year and hearing about something called Facebook, a new online platform that was growing by leaps and bounds.
The popularity of smartphones and tablets have made a huge impact on social media. Before smartphones, we typically needed to access a desktop or laptop computer to socialize online. Now, we carry Twitter, Facebook, and more with us wherever we go.
Unlike email, social media allows you to have a two-way conversation with your readers, and it allows them to easily share your information with others. In the past, we connected with our ideal clients through email. Today, those people are spending more time on social media and less in their inbox.
Newsletters Trends for 2018
Are newsletters dead, then? No, absolutely not. Email will continue to be a very important way for you to connect with prospective clients. But a few things have changed.
Shorter Newsletters with Fewer Sections
In the past, newsletters were expected to include several sections: a personal note, article, tips, upcoming events, product promotion, quote of the day, recipes, about author section, and more.
Today, consider sending shorter newsletters. Your subscribers will look forward to hearing from you and know they can read your messages in just a few minutes.
Send Emails, Instead of Newsletters
Another trend you may have noticed is that people are sending less formal newsletters and more personalized emails. The goal here is to create raving fans, not just subscribers. If you’ve been feeling guilty that you aren’t sending a regular newsletter to your list, this may be what you’re looking for.
You can include a reference to your latest online article, share a discussion you were having in social media, give a case study example, share a personal observation, or just pass along a great resource you found.
Deliver Huge Value
If you want your emails read, your readers need to know that they will always get something of value when they open your messages. That value can be anything from a tip that will save them time, money, or effort, or it may just be a funny joke to lighten their day. The important thing to remember is that delivering value is more important than just sending something to their inbox.
Combine with Other Marketing Efforts
This is how you make your newsletters more interactive, especially now that they are shorter.
Here are a few ideas:
- Include a link to a YouTube video you just uploaded.
- Invite them to your live Twitter or Facebook video.
- Link to a conversation happening in your Facebook group and ask them to join in.
- Share a picture you just posted on Instagram or Pinterest.
- Link to an article you just posted to your blog.
- Tell them about a fabulous new resource you found and give them the link to check it out themselves.
There’s one more thing you need to consider when sending newsletters or emails.
GDPR for Health Coaches
The new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) goes into effect May 25, 2018. If you collect any data on any person in the EU (European Union) – even email addresses for newsletters, webinars, or free gifts – this will probably apply to you.
I found two great articles to help you better understand how the new regulation may impact your health coach marketing.
- “GDPR For Entrepreneurs: What You Need to Know” with attorney Bobby Klinck, written by Amy Porterfieldhttp://www.amyporterfield.com/2018/04/gdpr/
- “This new standard means we can’t automatically add everyone who grabs one of our lead magnets to our general marketing email list… The new consent standard applies to your EXISTING list. If you can’t show that you have the right kind of consent from people who are already on your list and to whom the GDPR applies, then you cannot email them any longer beginning May 25, 2018.”
- “Your GDPR + Email Marketing Playbook: How to Prepare for the New EU Data Law” by AWeber
- Aweber gives a fabulous visual example of a web form that meets GDPR requirements. I also like how easy the article was for the average person to understand.
(Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney and this information is not to be considered legal advice. It is provided as educational information only.)
For effective email marketing, focus on delivering value and having a two-way conversation with your ideal client.
Remember that today, subscribers are being inundated with information, their inbox is overflowing, and they spend more time in social media than in their email. It then becomes clear that there are much better options for getting clients than the traditional e-newsletter.
Your goal isn’t just to get subscribers, but to create raving fans who love your content and want to hear from you, whether it’s in video, written, or audio format.
If you dread creating a regular newsletter, you now have better alternatives. Consider this your “Get Out of Jail Free” card and don’t feel guilty.
On the other hand, if you love writing and sending newsletters, remember to incorporate them with your other online marketing efforts. Try out some of the suggestions above. Most of all, know your followers so you can deliver your content in the way they prefer to receive information from you.
Either way, remember to take a more in-depth look at the upcoming GDPR regulations to see how they may apply to you. The two articles mentioned above are good places to start. If you are building a list – through a website or social media – chances are pretty good that some of your subscribers are from the EU.
Do you love newsletters or not? Leave a question or comment below and let us know.
For more tips, strategies, and articles on how to get more clients and create irresistible offers, programs, and websites, visit http://www.KarenBrunet.com