Though it may seem old-school, crafting an effective newsletter campaign is one key marketing action you shouldn’t ignore.
Although we get really excited about the latest technologies of mobile-friendly responsive websites, value-laden content, search engine optimization, social media strategies, and video development, one of the most important forms of internet marketing is also one of the most old school: the newsletter. While many are now apt to spend more time on other platforms, nearly everyone still has email they check almost every day. The good old email newsletter remains the best way to remain present in your customers’ or leads’ minds, and email marketing is reported to be 40% more effective at gaining new customers than Facbook or Twitter.
Equally crucial to having a newsletter is doing it well. Like all communication, newsletters that are poorly timed, irrelevant, or disconnected from your overall online presence can push your audience away more than pulling them in.
Here are 12 points to keep in mind when constructing a newsletter.
1. Make sure your message adds value
First, spend time discovering what will genuinely add value to your recipients’ lives through your messages. Often we’re inclined to send out information detailing topics and news that is important to us. But is that what our customers or leads really want to know about? It’s a good rule of thumb to keep your messages to 90% content-rich topics and 10% advertisement.
2. Be relevant to the interests of your contacts
No matter your industry, there are always an overwhelming range of topics you could focus on for your newsletter. Be sure to reflect honestly on what the folks on your list truly want to learn about. Mind you, this should not be what YOU think they should be interested in, but what they actually spend time reading about, researching, and talking with friends or colleagues about. Do your research and let that inform your direction.
2. Segment Your Lists
It’s highly unlikely that all of your contacts will thrill to the same set of topics. So, give each sub-group what they want and let them off the hook of scrolling through topics that hold no interest for them. And if the logic of this isn’t convincing enough, the data is: segmented lists deliver 6x the open rate than non-segmented lists.
3. Be consistent in your communication to set the right expectations in recipients
Being clear from the beginning about the frequency and content of your newsletter will both increase the likelihood that people will sign up in the first place, and the overall impact of your newsletters. Similarly, inconsistent communication reflects badly on your company, giving recipients a sense of disorganization and eroding any trust they may have for you already.
4. Do Not Buy Lists
As tempting as it may be to have magically generated, ready-to-go distribution lists with the swipe of a credit card, purchasing lists is both ineffective and potentially harmful to your business and marketing strategy for multiple reasons. Most sellable lists are not made up of good email addresses. Sending to a bought list can also trigger spam alert systems that prevent you from successfully sending emails in the future. Finally, recipients on a purchased list do not know you or your company, and so are less likely to be interested in your communications.
You’ll be more successful and gratified by hunkering down and building your own list from your existing and future contacts.
5. Personalize your emails
Now more than ever, personalized communications get more attention and hold more value than generic ones. Utilizing data you have on your contacts, personalize your messages so that each interaction they have with your company, products, or homepage generates a responsive message relevant to the interaction. For instance, if a contact hasn’t opened an email or visited the page in a long while, a personalized email asking for feedback is a great way to re-engage and show the contact that you value their attention, business, and engagement.
6. Don’t rely on images
Imagery should be complementary to content, not the content itself. To make sure their email server runs faster, many people have it set to not even show images at all. Be sure that each email is packed with valuable information, tools and, material, and that the visual component functions as a way to illustrate and draw attention to those items.
8. Have a goal for every email
Do you want to promote a new sale? Drive people to your most recent blog and webinar sign-up? Generate feedback on a new product? People are too busy for communications without a clear point, so make sure to clarify your purpose before constructing and sending any newsletter.
9. Your landing page is part of the email campaign
Each issue of your newsletter should unfailingly bring contacts back to your landing page, where they can be reminded of the many great things you do, services you offer, and opportunities for them to engage with you.
10. Thank your customers
While gratitude to the folks who keep your business afloat and thriving is a good attitude to maintain every day, it’s important to express that gratitude regularly. Challenge yourself and your team to come up with innovative ways to say “Thank you,” such as a regular customer spotlight or special deals for newsletter recipients.
One of the prime underlying purposes of a newsletter is to nurture leads as well as your existing customers. The above actions will greatly heighten the nurturing impact of your newsletter by demonstrating your attentiveness to the needs and wants of your contacts, and your awareness of their schedules.
12. Measure and learn
Email marketing is both a science and an art. Balance your front-end construction time with back-end analysis by using your newsletter distribution platform to measure your click through rate, open rate, and unsubscribe rate. Pay attention to what seems to produce the highest rates and adapt as you go to optimize your newsletter strategy.
Put these 12 tips into practice to make sure that you and your contacts get the most out of each newsletter.