Are you still sending out boring, quickly deleted emails? If so, consider how an email newsletter can become a welcome, even anticipated, communication that drives readers to different parts of your website, other online content and social media.
By providing useful information that allows recipients to achieve their goals combined with reading pleasure, email newsletters say “We’re here to help you.” These planned communications shouldn’t focus inwardly on your firm or its issues, ping your house file with your latest promotion, or use corporate-speak. These messages should create a media environment focused on a topic of interest to your market.
5 Steps to email newsletter success
To ensure that your email newsletters achieve your marketing goals, here are five steps for email newsletter success:
- Make the communication personal. Think old-fashioned newsy letter, something most people rarely find in their postal mailboxes these days. Include a note from a real person in your organization who has meaning to your prospects and customers, such as your top designer, buyer or founder. Among the specific considerations for this section of the newsletter are:
- Include a photograph of the writer that portrays him/her as part of your community.
- Sign the letter as you would a personal note.
- Write like you’re talking to a real person. This is where personas can give a sense of the people with whom you’re communicating.
- Keep the note short and to the point by editing and re-editing to eliminate extraneous words. This means more than just “thank you for reading our newsletter.”
- Focus on what’s happening either within your company or in the world that directly relates to your customers. It’s useful to follow a calendar of events related to your products.
- Provide helpful hints. Give readers information of value to make their lives easier that uses your offering in some way. Add a photograph or drawing and a short description to encourage deeper reading. Since this information can create link bait, post a version on your website that’s easily sharable. This is a good place to add photographs and links to your product listings to subtly entice readers to buy. Optimize non-text content for searchability. Create a mix of evergreen and time sensitive content. Among the options are:
- Lists. Be creative in developing these check lists. For example, 21 tools every traveler needs to be a road warrior.
- Free Patterns work for crafts, like knitting, crocheting, quilting and sewing, and other DIY products.
- Usage options. Show your product’s versatility. For example, show different ways to use 5 clothing pieces.
- Activities. Give step-by-step plans and/or details so consumers can follow your tips to have fun. They may be targeted by specific segment such families or travelers.
- How to’s. Provide specifics related to your product. For example, it could be how to put together a child’s toy or a new scrapbooking technique.
- Have customer service available. Answer customer questions along with link to your site. Make service more personal as if it were a conversation. This transforms the message board aspect of social media to a one-to-one communication. Keep this content on your website so customers can access it. If explaining your product requires additional information, think in terms of photographs, videos, audio and slides. Remember to get customer permission before highlighting a specific customer or using their likeness, photograph or projects.
- Include a calendar, where appropriate, highlighting upcoming events related to your offering. These may be public events or meetings or tailored to your organization. For gatherings, think of use meetups and webinars to engage customers directly.
- Add other digital features. To ensure your email newsletter’s effectiveness.
- Search box linked to your website. Make it useful for your target market’s needs.
- Site navigation to give readers an entry to your website.
- Branding to make the newsletter easily recognizable.
- Products incorporated where appropriate and with a link to buying pages.
- Contact information including email, chat, phone number and physical address.
- Sharability across relevant social media, by providing links such as Join us on Facebook and/or Follow us on Twitter.
Before sending your newsletter, assess what related information and content is needed on your website and make sure that it’s up-to-date and easily findable. Check that the newsletter’s links work and that product it displays is in stock. Use photographs, videos and message boards to help prospects understand how to employ your products. Get input from customer service including an additional proof reading to guard against typos.
After mailing your newsletter, track the following metrics including the number of opens, click-throughs (CTRs) and to which pages they go, contacts via the various entry points offered, and sales per newsletter sent. Monitor the size and health of your house list by tracking the number of new subscriptions, bounces and unsubscribes.
Remember, email newsletters continue to a highly effective marketing tool. What’s important is publishing them on a regular schedule and maintaining content quality so readers look forward to them.
Photo credit: Will Palmer via Flickr