We love email marketing for a number of reasons: it’s data-rich reporting, easy A/B testing and email personalization capabilities to name a few. Your email newsletter, in particular, can be an amazing marketing tool. Here’s an example to illustrate how an email newsletter can build customer awareness, loyalty and ultimately, sales.
Ryan is an enthusiastic birder, with feeders all over his yard and binoculars by his windows. He loves to birdwatch and keep track of the birds he’s seen. So when he had the opportunity to sign up for the monthly email newsletter of his local birding supply shop, he didn’t hesitate to sign up. The newsletter tells him what kind of birdseed to put out depending on the season, tips him off about when hummingbirds will arrive, describes special talks and birding outings the store has organized, makes him aware of new products, like decals that keep birds from flying into large windows.
In addition to their general news and updates, each monthly newsletter also offers a special discount, only for subscribers.
It’s no surprise that Ryan’s purchases — and visits– to the store have increased, now that he knows more about its products and is better educated about what birds need.
Ryan’s story shows the power and effectiveness of email newsletters. Done well and with purpose, email newsletters are marketing powerhouses, more trusted than social media, according to a study by Mantis Research, which found that some 60 percent of Americans subscribe to at least one email newsletter.
Meet with professional marketers; create a strategy.
Before you jump on the email newsletter bandwagon though, it’s smart to sit down with a professional marketing team to think through goals and strategy. If you don’t take think about what an email newsletter could do for your business, I can almost guarantee you will be disappointed with the outcome.
Here are steps we encourage our clients to work through before they launch an email newsletter.
What should an email newsletter do for your business?
Why do you want an email newsletter? Are you simply mimicking your competitors or do you have clear objectives in mind? Have your team study and discuss email newsletters and review the ones they receive. Make a list of ideas and features that you like and that would work well for your newsletter.
Here are ways an email newsletter can help a business or nonprofit:
An email newsletter can:
- increase leads
- raise visibility
- build loyalty
- drive sales
- encourage donations
- increase volunteers
Let subscribers know what to expect.
As you sign up subscribers to your email newsletter, tell them about what your newsletter will include. It might be information about upcoming forums and seminars. Interviews with experts. Stories about upcoming fundraising events. Coupons and discounts.
Let them know how often they will hear from you.
Set a production schedule and stick with it. It could be weekly, monthly quarterly–the frequency is your call. Make sure though that you can deliver the newsletter as often as promised. An overly ambitious schedule often causes businesses to give up on an e-newsletter.
Develop an outline for email newsletter’s content.
This might be the most important step in creating an email newsletter. Your content must align with and support your goals and strategy. Keep in mind that an email newsletter is a great multitasker–one issue can educate as it sells; offer a discount as it promotes an event. But don’t try to do it all in one issue. Curate your content. Deliver delectable bites instead of a buffet-breaking banquet.
One suggested guideline is to make content 90 percent educational and 10 percent promotional. It makes sense–no one wants to feel like they are constantly being “sold.”
Here are some content ideas:
A for-profit business could use an email newsletter to:
- educate readers about the industry or products
- inform readers about what your business offers
- talk about trends
- promote products
- promote educational products like courses, books, ebooks
- entertain with informative stories
- direct readers to related videos or podcasts
- offer discounts or specials
A nonprofit might use an email newsletter to:
- promote upcoming events
- spotlight projects
- profile donors
- profile recipients of services
- celebrate successes
- ask for assistance
- ask for donations
- promote videos or podcasts
- sell logoed products, books, other fund-raising items
Create content that people want to read. Look at newsletters that you receive–and read. What appeals to you? Why do you always open and read them? If you can’t put your fingers on any, here are some top email newsletters to get you started.
The upsides of an email newsletter
Asking people to subscribe to your newsletter when they buy something in your store or online or when they visit your website ensures that your newsletter audience looks forward to hearing from you. An email newsletter is a way to keep in close touch with people who are interested in your company. A lot of companies become fixated on new customers, forgetting the importance of maintaining loyal customers and even increasing how often and how much they buy from you.
Testing, testing: Always try different things
Another good reason to call in a professional marketing company is that they will always encourage you to evaluate your efforts. They can suggest ways to use A/B testing to measure the effectiveness of your email newsletter. For example, you could try two different subject lines to learn which approach works best. A professional marketing firm can take an unbiased look at what you are doing, use research and reports to evaluate your efforts, and then come up with ways to tweak your newsletter so that it works even better.
Before you plunge into email newsletter publishing, give our Interactive team a call.
Interested in how Bluegrass can help?
See what we can do.
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