One of the topics that’s come up again and again in our free marketing clinics is the importance of an e-newsletter as a marketing tool. It’s an ideal way to keep in touch with current clients, remind potential customers of what you do and how you can help them and build credibility as a valued partner. Here are nine ways to help you make the most of your e-newsletter.
- Clarify your objectives. Decide what you want to achieve from your e-newsletter and develop a plan to achieve these. Consider whether you want your e-newsletter to raise brand awareness, promote specific products or services, improve customer loyalty, build credibility or increase engagement. Design content and include calls to action that help you achieve these aims.
- Personalise content. People like being addressed as an individual rather than as part of a mass mail-out. Include the names of your recipients in your data so you are sending a more personal message. Emails sent with personalised subject lines, including either a first name, surname, or another unique identifier such as account number, were 7% more likely to be opened than emails sent with blanket subject lines in 2015, according to Experian.
- Segment. E-newsletters also enable you to send specific information to particular groups of people. For example, you could send information about a particular branch to subscribers in a specific location or you could highlight a particular offer, event or product to people with a certain job title. So choose content that will resonate with your particular audience.
- Drive traffic to your website by including hyperlinks to further information on the relevant part of your website. Unlike hard copy leaflets, flyers or newsletters, an e-newsletter enables you to include hyperlinks so readers can connect directly to the relevant part of your website. Rather than include the copy from an entire blog post or product page, summarise the information and invite readers to click through for further detail.
- Include a call to action. Each article in your e-newsletter should include a clear call to action. What do you want subscribers to do when they have read (or watched, if you include video) your content? Even if you have included a hyperlink to your website in the text, add a button to the bottom of the article to make it clear what you expect them to do. Depending on the objectives of the e-newsletter and the audience, you can either repeat the same call to action, for example, if you are promoting an event and you want people to book, or vary the calls to action, if the newsletter is an update on a variety of activities. In this case, you may invite readers to call you, visit your website, book a place at an event, share something on social media or participate in an online poll.
- Analyse the data and act on it. If you’re not getting as many opens as you had hoped, look at the subject line of your email and try a different style. And if a particular type of content tends to be more popular than others, act on it and include more of what works in future e-newsletters.
- Be useful. While an e-newsletter is a great way to get your latest product or service in front of potential customers, your subscribers may be turned off if you arrive in their inbox and appear to be purely about selling them something. Add value to their lives and they’ll be less likely to unsubscribe. So share useful content. Tell stories about how your product has helped others, include testimonials, answer their questions and help solve their problems. Don’t be afraid to curate content from elsewhere that would be helpful to your subscribers.
- Reinforce your brand. Ensure your brand values, colours, logos and tone of voice are integral to your e-newsletter. Use a template to ensure a consistent look and feel to your e-newsletter. This will help raise brand awareness and ensure customers (current or potential) can easily recognise you and recommend you. Make the most of the opportunity to tell your story and expand on what makes you special, but don’t forget to focus on how this benefits your readers.
- Post consistently. Let subscribers know when and how often you will be sending your e-newsletter. Set a regular schedule and stick to it. You want to be sending an e-newsletter regularly enough that it’s not a surprise, but not too often that it becomes an annoyance. Put your content in a similar order for each e-newsletter so your readers know where they can expect to find particular information. After all, you’d be pretty annoyed if your favourite magazine or newspaper mixed up their page order every issue and the sports pages moved from the back to the middle to page two!