With so much focus on gaining social media followers, it’s easy for some companies to overlook or put less resources into email – especially e-newsletters.
Earlier this year, Smart Insights carried out a survey among marketing professionals which revealed email was rated the most effective digital media channel ahead of social media, SEO, affiliate marketing and more.
Now, I’m not going to focus on building databases and gathering email addresses as that is such a large topic I’ll save that for another post, but what I do want to look at is, once you have that audience in place, how can you provide them with an e-newsletter that they are going to open time and again.
We all have one to three emails that we open every time it drops in our inbox. That might be daily, weekly or even monthly. But every time it appears, we open it.
We open it because we know it has value that we want to take away. That may be informational, educational, inspirational, or simply enjoyment.
So how do you create a successful e-newsletter?
The first step is set your goals.
What is it you are hoping to achieve from your newsletter? Do you want traffic back to your website, generate leads, or simply to provide your readers with entertainment or reading material. Whatever it is, it should be in line with your overall marketing goals.
If you are aiming to build brand awareness, ensure your content is of value, represents your brand well and gives some sort of value.
If you are looking to generate leads, aim to nurture your readers. Provide them with content that backs up what your company is about, and what service you can provide. But don’t use your newsletter as a sales pitch. It will likely put readers off, and depending on the wording you use within the newsletter, can get caught up in spam blockers.
The next step is to decide on how you want your newsletter to be designed and what content it will contain.
Mailchimp and GreenArrow are a couple of platforms which can provide newsletter templates. If these suit your needs then go with these. Otherwise you may want a custom design.
You also need to decide how you want content to run. Setting up a template of content is a great way of keeping ahead of what is going in the next newsletter, and also allows you to plan well in advance for any big calendar events etc.
Typically, in a B2B newsletter, we would run an industry news story as number one and two, then maybe a business strategy or business development as number four, with something light as number five.
Engagement tends to drop off the further down the newsletter if you are publishing individual stories.
If your newsletter is one feature-type article, ensure it is well written with subheads and pictures.
How much content you include depends on what your business is and, of course, the goals of the newsletter.
As a rule the most important goes at the top to least important at the bottom. Of course, if you are including a call to action or special offer, this doesn’t mean slap this right at the top. Even if the sole purpose of you newsletter is to promote a service or something you are selling, you may want to include something before you get into the sales pitch.
Visuals are an important part of the recipe for a successful newsletter too. If you struggle with design, you may want to bring in some outside help to make your newsletter as visually appealing as possible. A small investment at the start will pay off in no time if readers stay tuned for the next edition.
Whether you address your readers individually or not depends on your business and your goals. But test a strategy with A/B split testing to find out if it makes a difference.
When deciding on your subject line you want to take some extra time to get it right every time.
Spam filters pick up on words that you may not even consider as spam, so it can be worth running your newsletter through a spam checker before sending.
But your subject line should be clear and concise but don’t give away too much information.
For example, if CEO Joe Blogs from HSBC has resigned, a simple subject line such as, Major bank CEO steps down, will do. Keep the who and why for inside the article.
So there are a few ways that you can get your newsletter off to a good start. There are many other things to consider such as frequency, send time etc, but a lot of these can be tested with split testing.
Whatever you decide, quality content is the one thing that you must have. If you have excellent content you stand a far better chance of creating a successful newsletter.
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