Up to this point, you have tried every incarnation of digital marketing: social media, video, search engines, landing pages and the list goes on. Since you have yet to reach the pinnacle of success, you have finally decided to employ an email marketing campaign to elicit results.
Email was not your first choice because you thought this method was archaic. After all, a lot of marketing experts roll their eyes at the thought of email strategies because it screams 1990s.
Believe it or not, email is now breathing new life; it has been brought into the 21st century.
For large corporations, startups, SMBs, retailers and others, email marketing has become a vital technique to overall marketing endeavors and budgets. And why not? The success that email marketing campaigns have brought to private enterprise is immense: 3,800 percent returns on investment (ROI), a 50 percent spike in sales and greater brand awareness on the Internet.
The benefits that email generate certainly suggest that this isn’t a dead form of marketing.
You may now be wondering what exactly you can do with email marketing. You have a wide variety of choices: special offers, blog posts, social media call-to-action (CTA) and so on.
The most popular tool in the email marketing arsenal is the newsletter. A newsletter can accomplish so much for so little. It can lead to more subscribers, it can be spread across social media, it can produce brand loyalty and, most important ot all, it can boost your sales.
Jacqueline Whitmore, a contributor to Entrepreneur magazine, recently wrote about email newsletters, describing how this is her No. 1 marketing tool at her disposal.
“If you ask me what my number one marketing tool is, my answer might surprise you. It is my electronic newsletter. Yes, that thing that most entrepreneurs abandoned years ago,” she wrote.
“Some people believe it’s too time consuming to write, that it just ends up in spam folders, and no one reads it. And for some, this may be true. Recently, I read in Smartblogger.com that newsletter publishers are ‘now the sad old fuddy-duddies of the online marketing world, hopelessly outdated, clinging desperately to a dying technology, destined to be crushed by new and savvier competitors.’ But I disagree.”
It’s true that e-newsletters seem to come from a distant past when we relied on dial-up Internet, large mobile flip phones and “you’ve got mail” messages. With the impeccable results that e-newsletters create for your company, does it really matter if it feels ancient? Nope!
Here are five ways first-time email marketing campaigns can get their newsletters read:
- Share Personal Stories & Corporate Updates
- Don’t Forget the 80/20 Rule
- Weigh Your Frequency Levels
- Is Your Newsletter Visually Appealing?
- The Subject Line is Your Opportunity
Share Personal Stories & Corporate Updates
For any business, large or small, that wants to maintain an intimate relationship with their customers then an email newsletter is the way to go.
One of the reasons why an e-newsletter helps achieve a close and loyal relationship between the company and the clients is because you can share a lot with it. Whether you have a dozen email subscribers or you have 12,000 subscribers, an e-newsletter is your opportunity to cultivate a friendship.
With an e-newsletter, you can share personal stories, which is especially great if you’re a startup. You can talk to them about your struggles to start a business, you can explain what your ultimate objective is and you can praise your customers by telling them they’re integral to your success.
If you’re a larger company then you can provide many corporate updates. You can inform them that a longtime employee has been promoted, you can share with them a recent award you received, you can talk about the latest products that you’re selling and it goes on.
By doing all of this, it gives the impression of appreciation and flourishing relationships.
Don’t Forget the 80/20 Rule
In e-newsletters, there is an important ratio to abide by: 80 percent informational and 20 percent promotional. By incorporating this rule into your email marketing strategy, you avoid depicting yourself as too salesy and too much of an infomercial. If you act in this manner then you insult their intelligence.
And this is the death blow for any business in any industry.
Here are a few content ideas that can provide your users with valuable information and insights:
- Customer or employee spotlights, which celebrate their dedication and gratitude.
- Blog posts pertaining to your recent webinar, e-book or white paper.
- Articles that contain suggestions, tips and ideas about a certain topic.
- Updates about your company (see above).
- A thank you for following your brand on social media or buying a product.
As you can tell, these content ideas are not directly promoting a product or a service. They all follow the 80/20 rule, and will not upset your audience because you’re not focusing on a sale.
Weigh Your Frequency Levels
The amount of times you’re sending your email newsletter can weigh greatly on the success of your overall campaign. The trick is to balance it out; you can’t have too many or too few.
You have to come to grips with a frequency level that is OK with you and OK with your subscribers. For the most part, once or twice a week would suffice. If you’re sending out a newsletter every few hours each day then this will irk your subscribers and prompt them to unsubscribe.
(The trick in this regard is to hone in on your subscriber to unsubscribe ratio.)
In addition, you have to pay attention to when you’re sending out your email newsletter, too.
It is best to determine when it’s the best time through an A/B testing and to look over your subscribers’ personal details. Moreover, it is crucial to stick to this schedule. If you’re emailing the newsletter once at 2 a.m. on a Sunday and then noon on a Wednesday then it won’t resonate and may even be sent to spam.
Is Your Newsletter Visually Appealing?
Let’s face it: we human beings are a visual species. We have always enjoyed visuals. In today’s world, we like memes, infographics, photo captions, digital imagery and the list goes on.
This can easily be applied to your e-newsletters. You don’t want your newsletters to be bland. At the same time, you certainly don’t want your newsletters to be too colorful. You want a balance.
Here are a few tips to make your newsletters more visually appealing:
- When you’re designing your newsletter, you have to remember that your logo dictates the color scheme.
- You need just one defining image that will summarize your newseltter content.
- Stick to standard fonts (Times New Roman or Arial) instead of fancy fonts.
- Add two to three subheadings, which is important for us with low attention spans!
- Stack your content or separate it into blocks so it looks more organized.
- Use pre-designed newsletter templates from industry experts.
As you’re constructing your newsletter, you also have to consider mobile devices.
Since most emails are first opened on smartphones and tablets, you have to tailor the content to mobile. This means that your image files shouldn’t be huge, there should be plenty of white space and the multimedia (if applicable) should be very limited because of data usage.
The Subject Line is Your Opportunity
After deliverability, the subject line is the most important feature of your email marketing campaign. If they are not interested in your email after perusing the subject line then they will not click on the email itself, which means your primary aims will be unfulfilled.
Creative, concise and non-spam characters, words and phrases are the best ways to pique the reader’s interest.
Here are a few tips to composing the best subject line for your e-newsletter:
- Your subject line should be fewer than 50 characters (this is crucial for mobile).
- Inform your readers ahead of time what is exactly inside the email.
- Make your subscribers feel special with personalized tokens and messages.
- Be urgent, use numbers, insert adjectives and avoid spam characters ($, @ and !).
- Why not be punny in your subject line? We all like a good pun now and then.
A subject line serves as your window of opportunity to get your recipients to click on your email and take advantage of your content and deals.
For retailers, startups and even larger businesses, this may be the first time that you have decided to deploy an email marketing campaign and an e-newsletter.
You got so caught up in the world of social media marketing, video marketing and search engine marketing that you forgot a tried and tested technique that has done wonders for all sizes and types of businesses in the world.
The biggest obstacle that a brand will face is getting your email subscribers to check your newsletter.
It’s very likely that when your shoppers subscribe to your email that they will read their very first newsletter. This is why first impressions count because if they like what they’re reading then they will peruse the next one; if they don’t like what they’re reading then they’ll likely ignore the next newsletter they receive in their Yahoo!, Microsoft or Gmail inbox.
With valuable content, stunning visuals and easy-to-read information, your e-newsletter will be the best part of their week.