In the last six months this has become the most frequently asked question on my discovery calls. For a lot of you it’s not financially feasible to outsource both so the question of blog vs newsletter is an extremely important one.
I have to start with the answer that may have you rolling your eyes but I just have to say it. They’re equally important for different reasons and that’s what we’re going to discuss. There is no answer that will satisfy every design business. We can start by talking through the benefits of each and hopefully it’ll become obvious to you which of the two should be a priority.
BLOG VS NEWSLETTER – LET’S COMPARE
WHAT CAN A BLOG PROVIDE?
- AUTHORITY – if a prospective client searches your site they can find a treasure trove of useful information in your blog. Aside from your portfolio they can see what’s important to you and your business. Your blog topics shows them that you’re experienced and knowledgeable. It’s a chance to speak to your niche and showcase what makes you unique.
- SEO – Google needs to know that your site is active and one of the easiest ways to show that is through updates to your website. Once your site has been created there is very little opportunity to be adding or updating aside from some new images of your work. A blog is a reminder to the Google crawlers that you are indeed an active business. This will allow them to confidently guide readers to your site.
- ANSWER YOUR FAQ – if you spend a lot of time answering the same questions for each new client, a blog is important. You can create a library of your FAQ. Next time the opportunity arises you can direct them to your blog posts. Alternatively, you can send out an email with your top 6 or 7 posts. This is helpful to the client in being able to peruse your posts and get what they need. It’s also showing that you do take care of your clients.
WHAT CAN A NEWSLETTER PROVIDE?
- ACCESSIBILITY – when people sign up for your newsletter you have an immediate connection and an eager audience. This might be the final step before someone reaches out so use this opportunity to your advantage. The ability to speak directly to those people is gold and doesn’t come from any other resource.
- NURTURE BEFORE THE SALE – before a new client will reach out directly they will likely be watching you. They want to know that you’re reliable, knowledgeable and steady. By sending out a value packed newsletter monthly, bi-monthly or weekly you are showing a future client what kind of professionalism they can expect. If you do this well, it’s your best sales channel. It’s also a great way to show off your personality, your style and share pieces of valuable information.
- ONGOING OWNERSHIP – if you decide you’ve had enough of social media or you need a break you can do that with a newsletter. Or even worse, if any of the social giants decide to change their rules of engagement, you’ll be ok. You own your newsletter list and nothing can jeopardize that. This is probably the main reason to strongly consider a newsletter. This is YOUR list forever.
WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
This is a tiny sampling of what each of these tools can do for your interior design business. When it comes to the question of blog vs newsletter hopefully you can now see that they both offer value to your business. Here are a few of the questions I like to ask my own clients to help them decide which direction to go.
1/ WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?
Now that you can see a few of the differences between the two you can decide how to prioritize your time and resources. Really think about what your goal is. Do you want new clients? Do you want to earn respect within your community? Get clear on the what first and foremost.
2/ WHO ARE YOUR CLIENTS (CURRENT AND PROSPECTIVE)?
It’s important to be crystal clear on who you’re speaking to. And just because you don’t hear from them directly doesn’t mean that your clients aren’t watching you. Learn to understand them so well that you know whether they would be more likely to read blog posts on your website, open your monthly newsletter or both.
3/ HOW WOULD YOUR CLIENT LIKE TO BE SERVED?
If it’s long form study of important topics related to design then a blog might be a better fit. Or maybe they love to get bite-sized nuggets about local furniture manufacturers, local sales, etc. a newsletter is a better tool.
4/ WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY?
It’s important that you deliver content that you’re proud of. If you love to write and have a wealth of design information then a blog is a great format. If you’re not confident in your writing skills but you have a lot of local design knowledge, go for the newsletter. Spend time figuring out what you can consistently deliver. You have to enjoy the process if you’re going to do it on your own.
I have so much more to say on this topic and in the next couple of months I’ll be breaking down the work of creating both a blog (ideal length, how often to post, etc) and a newsletter (creating a lead magnet, being consistent in your format, etc). Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about getting help with your blog or newsletter you can view my services.