I’ve sold more than $100,000 worth of my products through my free For The Interested newsletter.
To do that, I had to figure out how to use my newsletter to attract my target audience, introduce them to my products, and get them to buy.
Along the way I’ve learned a ton about what works — and what doesn’t.
If you want to use a newsletter to sell products, here’s how I recommend you approach it…
(Btw, I can also show you how to use a newsletter to get clients if that’s your focus.)
Align your newsletter with the result your product delivers.
You’re not selling a product — you’re selling a result that product delivers.
And your newsletter needs to be in alignment with that result in order to attract people who will ultimately want to buy your products.
The best newsletter in the world won’t drive sales if it attracts the wrong audience.
For example, let’s say you sell a software product that makes it easy for people to organize their recipes.
The result that product delivers is it saves home cooks time and helps make cooking a more enjoyable experience.
So the key question is how do you create a newsletter that attracts home cooks who want to save time and have cooking be more enjoyable?
The answer might be to create a newsletter about time-saving cooking tips or easy recipes to cook.
You know what’s not the answer?
To create a newsletter about recipe software.
Focus your newsletter topic on the results potential customers want — not the product itself.
The more value you provide, the more products you’ll sell.
The ratio of providing value to selling in your newsletter should heavily skew to the value side.
Don’t shy away from selling in your newsletter, but recognize the best way to sell is to provide value.
For example, let’s say you’ve got a course to sell.
Rather than simply promote the course in your newsletter, incorporate free excerpts into your newsletter along with your sales pitch.
Assuming what you share is valuable and you make it clear people can purchase the course to get more of it, your product will sell itself.
Create a newsletter about the lifestyle your product represents — not the product itself.
Let’s say you sell sunglasses.
People love sunglasses, but I doubt many want to read a newsletter about them.
If your product isn’t the kind of thing buyers want to read about, then don’t create a newsletter about it.
Instead, create one about the related lifestyle they do want to read about.
Use your newsletter to bring your brand to life and differentiate yourself from the competition.
For example, if you make sunglasses for Moms who go to the beach regularly, your newsletter might be about outdoor activities to do with kids or fashion/lifestyle tips for beach-loving Moms.
When you focus your newsletter on a lifestyle your target customers want, you attract people who will want to buy your product.
Treat your product as the sponsor of your newsletter.
An exercise to try:
Pretend a newsletter exists that has an audience of the exact people you want to reach.
One that would be a no-brainer for you to sponsor because its audience is a perfect fit for your product.
What might that newsletter be about? Who would its readers be?
Now, go create that newsletter yourself.
When you create the type of newsletter you’d want to sponsor you’re able to own the platform (and audience) you seek.
Plus, you get to give yourself a sweet deal on that “sponsorship” you dreamed of. 😉
Feature “competitive” products in your newsletter.
Products are rarely a zero sum game.
In most cases, your customers will buy more than one thing similar to what you sell so don’t be afraid to mention your “competitors” in your newsletter.
Doing so makes you a more trusted source and ultimately makes people more likely to buy from you.
This is especially true with creative products such as music or books, fashion products like clothes and accessories, and educational products such as courses and info products.
People don’t just buy books from one author, albums from one musician, clothes from one brand, or courses from one expert.
Use this to your advantage and create a newsletter that puts you at the center of your niche by curating other complementary — or even competitive — products in your newsletter.
You’ll never become the center of a community by only talking about yourself.
For example, let’s say you’re a fantasy author.
If your newsletter features fantasy book recommendations you’ll become a trusted source for fantasy readers.
That will allow you attract an audience likely to enjoy your books and purchase them.
But if your newsletter is only about your own books, it will only appeal to people who already know you — it won’t grow your audience.
(This is what most authors do and why most authors struggle to grow their email list.)
Use your newsletter to attract new buyers, not just serve existing ones.
Don’t compete with yourself.
If you sell multiple products, you’ll be tempted to promote a bunch of them in each newsletter issue.
Fight that temptation.
The more products you promote in a single newsletter, the less likely people are to buy one because you’re competing with yourself.
Instead, apply my one-action strategy to your product promotion.
Focus promotion on a single product (or two at most) per issue.
You can always rotate through different products in future issues.
Use your newsletter to help people use your product.
A lot of your newsletter audience likely already has a version of your product — even if they bought it from a competitor.
This creates an opportunity to provide value to them by using your newsletter to help them get more out of the product.
Doing so helps you attract and establish a relationship with an audience who will want to buy future products from you.
Let’s say you’re a real estate agent and the “product” you want to sell is a new home.
Most agents send a newsletter with details about new homes on the market and stories about how they helped their clients.
But no one cares about that unless they’re actively in the market right now.
(And even then most people don’t care because it feels too self-promotional.)
Most homeowners are only in the market once a decade, so the vast majority of your potential customers have no reason to stay subscribed to your newsletter outside of that window.
There’s a better approach.
Instead of making your newsletter solely about the product, use it to help people get more out of the product they’ve already bought.
A real estate agent’s newsletter could share a series of “home hacks” in each issue to help homeowners improve their homes and save money.
That provides value to every home owner and gives them a reason to subscribe — and stay subscribed.
And when it comes time to hire a realtor, guess who they’re going to think of first?
Integrate your call to action into the heart of your newsletter.
Promotional images in your newsletter or a call to action at the end of an issue to buy your product is fine.
The more your promotion feels like an ad, the less likely people will purchase.
Look for ways to integrate your promotion into the heart of your newsletter.
Place your pitch in sections of your newsletter where you know people pay attention — not ones that are easy for them to ignore (like most typical ad spots).
For example, when I launched my Newsletter Booster workshop I didn’t feature it as a standalone promotion or pitch it at the bottom of my newsletter.
I made it the first item in the main content section of my newsletter because I knew that’s where it would get noticed.
Here’s what it looked like:
Put your pitch where people will see it.
Offer a discount or access to an exclusive product.
This may be the most commonly used tactic to sell products in newsletters and it works.
But there’s a reason I listed it last.
While it will get you more subscribers, they won’t stick around unless you give them a reason to do so.
Don’t confuse tactics which get people to subscribe with tactics which keep them subscribed.
That’s why the previous tactics I mentioned are more valuable than this one.
Because ultimately the secret to using a newsletter to sell your product is to get people to stick around long enough to want to buy it.
If you found this helpful, there are three ways to get more:
1. Subscribe to my newsletter for creative entrepreneurs.
2. Check out my Skill Sessions.
3. Follow me on Twitter where I share tips every day.
4. Book a Clarity Call with me.