If you were to open your email right now, how many newsletters or e-casts would you find? I generally clear my mailbox twice a day, and between what gets caught in the spam filter, and what passes it because I have general interest in the content, I probably have to skim through at least 40 emails – a mixture of daily deal sites, offers from companies, educational seminars, newsletters, and who knows what else. With the growth of technology, many businesses, regardless if they serve in the B2C or B2B category, find it is easiest to get in touch with their audience via email. But how do you cut through the clutter and reach that coveted high open rate? And what benefits does it really have to invest your time and energy into developing a newsletter worth reading?
Some best practice steps should be followed when developing your newsletter strategy. I use the word strategy because your newsletter should not be a freestanding agent, rather it should make sense in the grand scheme of things: it should correlate with events in your establishment, it should look like your web presence, and it should connect the reader with your website and social media platforms. In essence, it needs to be an extension of your entire marketing and brand messaging. Having a newsletter is, first and foremost, important because a study done by Exact Data revealed that 42% of people who subscribe to a newsletter are more likely to make a purchase from your company.
Five key aspects to keep in mind:
• Be forthcoming, and let people know what they are subscribing for. Will you send deals? Promotions? Informational news? It is a lot more unlikely that people will unsubscribe from your newsletter if they are interested and aware of what they will receive.
• Be honest about the frequency of your newsletters. In most cases I unsubscribe from lists where I get bombarded with information. Tell your recipients when or how often they will be hearing from you.
• Give them an easy route out. If they are not interested in your newsletter, they should have a hassle free way of unsubscribing. Also, it’s the law!
Time of the day
• There are many determining factors on when it is the best time to send your newsletter. It is also unfair to say that all newsletters should be sent on the same day or time. Parents that are home with children will likely want to read your newsletter at a different time than a busy business executive.
• If you are unsure when your readers are opening your letters do some research or even some newsletter testing to see when you get the best open times.
• Switch it up! Unless it is a seasonal or pre-determined format that your readers expect to see from you, switch up the Subject line. Use an offering or catchy phrase to get people intrigued enough to open your email.
• Make your content fun and worth the time to read. This should be a time when your readers get to connect with you and learn from and about you.
• Don’t make it all about a sale. Newsletters are a great opportunity to establish a relationship with your audience, and to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
• If you can, make your newsletter clickable, it is a great way of bringing audience to your website and presenting them with new products or offerings once they are there.
• Listen to your customers. When you are not sure what to write about, pay attention to your customers’ questions. They questions might make for great newsletter content.
• Make it shareable! Your newsletter is also a great opportunity for your recipients to refer you to their friends, family and business partners.
• Be ready for any questions your audience might have following a newsletter.
• Measure your success! There is a great deal of valuable information you might learn about your customers and about what they expect from you, your products and your offering. They are your Brand Community and having their voice heard is crucial for your business.
Remember, at the end of the day your newsletter is about building relationships. If you invest time and strategy into your newsletter, it is possible that it will create a great relationship with your customers and it will help with your inbound lead generation.
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