Having an e-newsletter can be a very powerful tool. It can inspire brand awareness, motivate readers to participate in your services, increase your sales/donations and more. These are all amazing benefits, but how do you go about strategizing, creating and pushing out an successful e-newsletter?
Check out these tips to improve your e-newsletter communications plan:
Popular email marketing services such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, MyEmma, Salesforce, etc. have many advantages especially when comes to tracking and analyzing. However, when it comes to sending out your email campaign, each service poses its own creative and technical limitations. The key is to balance the platform’s parameters by implementing strong graphic design, good knowledge on email code development and testing practices; making sure your email message communicates effectively and renders properly in email inboxes.
You need to consider that many people today are checking their email on their mobile and tablet devices, so using a design that works well with these technologies is vital. Don’t make your layout overly complicated. For very basic emails a good rule of thumb is to run text underneath images/graphics, instead of trying to wrap the text around it. This method will keep your design visually clean and help avoid text and images getting jumbled together.
The content of your e-newsletter needs to align with the message you are trying to convey. Always ask yourself, “What is the takeaway?” Is it a general newsletter about your company’s products, services and sales, or are you trying to be a source of industry news? Keep the message in mind when planning content. Research what other e-newsletters in your industry are covering to help spark ideas for your own. Always analyze your email campaign results to see how people react to your content and adjust accordingly.
Don’t write a novella in your e-newsletter. We will dump it in the trash folder rather than let our short attention spans get frustrated. If you have a longer article, a blog post for example, publish it in full on your website first. Then, on your e-newsletter include an enticing intro blurb, eye-catching graphic and link to read more. Not only does this keep it short and sweet, but pushes traffic to your website when the link is clicked.
Keep a consistent delivery schedule so your email messages hit inboxes around the same time (monthly, weekly, etc.) This takes forethought and planning. Do not deceive yourself by thinking you can pull together a polished and effective e-newsletter in one day. You need to be planning out your content, graphics and messaging beforehand; and allot proper time to do quality testing such as spelling and grammar checks and email client rendering tests.
Determining the best time to send out an e-newsletter can be tricky because it can vary between industries and lists. Research has shown that more people open email during the day than at night, with the highest volume on weekdays, specifically Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, the key is to see what works for your list by using tools in your email service to track, evaluate and compare opens and click through rates across different email campaigns.
List segmentation seems like a big word but it does not need to be a mystery. List segmentation can be compared to making sure you give separate dinner menus to children and adults. You wouldn’t give a kids menu to an adult to choose their food – they need a menu that makes sense to them. In a similar way, list segmentation allows you to get the right messages (dinner menu) to the right people. It gives you the ability to send email messages to a targeted audience within your list, without having to send your newsletter or sale announcement to your entire list. You can create fields in your online e-newsletter sign up form to automatically segment the contact, based on their interests.
When adding contacts be sure they have “opted-in” to the list by signing up themselves or giving you permission to add their information. Plus, you need an option on your email message that allows them to “opt-out” if they want to leave the list. This is very important because sending unsolicited commercial email to a list is spam according to the FTC.
Keep a good handle on maintenance of your list. After each campaign, clean contacts who have left the list and no longer want to receive the messages, and cross check this with other contact databases you may be maintaining.
Email marketing can take a lot of time and effort. Consulting with a professional team can help you identify your needs navigate platform compatibility, brand cohesiveness and messaging effectiveness. Check out our email marketing services and portfolio of work , and join our monthly THINK+CREATE email list by signing up in the form located on the sidebar of this Web page.