I’ve been using Constant Contact to send out a newsletter to my friends and family for the past 5 years. The response has been fantastic and it’s made me a believer in taking the time to send word to your personal network on a regular basis. Here are my three top reasons that I think this makes sense.
1. You have a personal life and telling people that care about you what is going on for you leads to their having a greater understanding of your life, hopes and dreams. Once friends and family know more about what you’re up to – they can get behind any efforts you’re making. For instance, I had an idea a couple years ago called Farm My Yard. It’s an effort to match up homeowners and urban farmers who live nearby. I’ve been mentioning this idea and dreaming it into existence for the past couple years, and now that it’s starting to take off (I got word from a woman in Australia yesterday, Houston, we have lift off!) the people I’ve told about it are some of the effort’s greatest boosters. And, of course, Farm My Yard has a newsletter sign up form on the website
2. The feedback. We all want to know how we’re doing. When I send my newsletter out, I always ask for feedback and over the years it almost feels like people are taking turns and writing back with their thoughts, suggestions and mentions of how they might be facing the same challenges and their solutions for making their way through. Sometimes it’s just an “atta boy”, but some friends have deepened our relationship by sharing their thinking and real offers of help. For example, I have considered running for Portland City Council and used Constant Contact’s survey tool to ask my personal list who would be willing to support me and how. The response was fantastic – offers of money, time, and other types of support filled in my survey and has encouraged me to keep this idea milling rather than forgetting about it.
3. Referrals. By telling my friends and family some of what I’m up to in my business life, they then know something of how I spend my time making money – teaching email marketing, social media and helping small businesses boost their marketing efforts. I have become known in my personal world as THE guy who does that. This has led to friends introducing me to their friends who need business support. I generally don’t ask my friends and family directly for support, but their knowledge of my business helps me in various ways. For instance, when we come together for various gatherings, the conversations often start at a greater depth because they’ve been following my life and are somewhat caught up with my progress. Instead of “what’s new“, the conversations more often start with “hey, I remember you mentioning that you lead street tree planting efforts” – any idea of how we can get that going in my neck of the woods?”
As with any email newsletter, you want to follow the basic rules of thumb – keeping the newsletter brief; having a great subject line; putting the call to action towards the top (if there is one); and using graphics and links sparingly. If you invite your friends and family to write back about what has moved them about what you’ve written, they sometimes will – and, I promise, this feedback will often tickle you.
If you ever need encouragement on trying this out, feel free to get in touch and I’ll give you some encouragement. If you’d like to receive my friends & family monthly email (The Eleven), you can sign up for it @ http://albertideation.com
You can do this, and I truly believe it will lead to great things!