Guest Blog Post by Dixie Gillaspie
I used to do this little mental two step every time I sat down to craft a newsletter:
- One Step Forward – I have some awesome information to share (write article)
- Two Step Forward – I have an announcement about a new event, service, product or other offering (write promo copy)
- BIG Step Back – I don’t want to promote, pitch, sell, annoy, harass or generally tick off my readers
- Repeat first three steps until exhausted and frustrated
- Leave the dance floor in defeat
As you might have guessed, the people on my mailing list often forgot about me between mailings. I’m sure that when my newsletter arrived, their first thought was often, “Dixie WHO?”
I needed to be dancing to a different drummer, so I turned to a little red book, one I’ve read so many times I nearly have it memorized. It’s called “The Go-Giver; A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea.” It’s transformed the way I approach problem solving in my business and life.
I’ve been coaching, teaching and speaking from this book for more than three years. I’ve worked closely with the authors, Bob Burg and John David Mann, to create coaching and teaching materials that are now being used by Certified Go-Giver coaches around the world. I have found that The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success which the authors, Bob Burg and John David Mann, teach in this little parable, hold the answer to almost any business dilemma (and pretty much any personal one as well.)
It made sense to ask myself what my newsletter communication strategy would be if I applied those Five Laws. So let’s see…
Law #1 – The Law of Value
“Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”
Everyone knows that your communication strategy should be to “add value.” But how much value? How can a FREE newsletter add more in value than you take in payment? What is the cost to your reader to read your FREE newsletter?
What about time, attention and energy? Let’s call it “bandwidth.” How much bandwidth will it cost your reader to read your content?
Answering that question for myself gave me a yardstick for a minimum amount of value. This allowed me to stop second guessing myself about whether or not I’d offered enough value to justify asking my readers to welcome my communication. Then I did my best to pile it on.
Law #2 – The Law of Compensation
“Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.”
Remember that the first law tells us how our value is determined, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be paid what we’re worth. This law tells us how to get paid. Make no mistake, I want to offer lots of value, but my newsletter is first and foremost a business strategy and that means I want the end result to be income.
One of the key benefits I find in working with MarketVolt as a partner in my communications strategy is that they understand that relevancy is valuable. Their automatic segregation of sublists based on interests (as indicated by click-throughs) is brilliant!
So I can create reach (the number of people I serve) through offering tons of value to people who subscribe (right now you can download a 20 minute audio that gives you the Five Essential Elements to Writing Your Own Success Story – it even includes a clip of an interview I did with Richard Bach, author of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.”) Then I can make sure I serve them well by following up with relevant information (and offers) based on the interests they self-report by clicking on the inks in my original mailing.
Law #3 – The Law of Influence
“Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.”
This was one law I found I was already satisfying. My newsletters create influence for me, both with my readers and with my strategic partners because I often include information and opportunities that have nothing to do with me.
So my readers know that if I find something of huge benefit, I’ll share. (And they know that on those rare occasions that I act as an affiliate, I am extremely transparent about it.) So they know I’m putting their interests first by delivering quality recommendations rather than just pushing what I offer.
Of course, I gain influence with my strategic partners, and often gain new strategic partners, when I provide links to their events, products or profiles and give them a testimonial in my newsletter.
Law #4 – The Law of Authenticity
“The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.”
I used to try to write “right.” Now I shoot for good punctuation (which makes a piece more readable,) but I don’t obsess over grammar. I want people to recognize my voice, get a sense of my philosophy and my humor, and generally feel like I’m inviting a dialog rather than broadcasting a monologue.
Once I gave up being “perfect” I started having fun. Somehow, people seemed to think the “fun” me was a lot closer to perfect than the “perfect” me. Go figure!
Law #5 – The Law of Receptivity
“The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.”
Ah, receiving. Getting a return. Isn’t that just what we complain our newsletters don’t do for us, provide a return?
In “The Go-Giver,” the mentor, Pindar” says to the frustrated go-getter, Joe, “In life, you often don’t get what you want. But, here’s what you do get – You get what you expect.”
Now we’ve all sent newsletters hoping we’ll get new business, we’ll get sales, we’ll get people coming to our websites, to our stores or to our events. But how can we expect that unless we’re really clear what we expect?
Now my rule of thumb is to be clear about one thing I expect readers to do. One thing. You’ve heard it referred to as a “call to action.” I think of it as an “offer to engage.” For every message, one offer, not always of something to buy, but always of a way to engage with me at a more meaningful level than just reading my newsletter.
Finally, I learned to dance with the idea of “selling,” It was actually the follow up book to “The Go-Giver,” a book called “Go-Givers Sell More” (if you read it carefully you’ll find that I’m even featured in it, by the way) that gave me the grace to step into that one.
In “Go-Givers Sell More” we’re told that the root of the word “sell” is actually an Old English word; “sellan” which literally means “to give.” We “give” value, we receive “return.” We call it “selling” and all of a sudden we’re terrified of overdoing it.
You can’t over-sell. You can over-push, over-manipulate, over-persuade. But you simply cannot over-sellan. Not if what you’re “giving” is value.
Dixie “Dynamite” Gillaspie helps entrepreneurially-minded people blast through their brick walls and tap into the energy and clarity of their own passion and purpose in order to achieve stratospheric success. You can learn more at dixiedynamitecoaching.com