Nearly every small business we talk to is looking for the same thing; cost-effective marketing solutions. “How do I get my business in front of potential customers without spending a packet?”
The answer is Email Marketing: a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, content specific and targeted message delivered electronically to your customers, clients and professional network.
So let’s find out:
What is email marketing and how does it work?
How is sending an email more effective than a booking a radio or TV spot or running a print ad?
Why should you spend the time to create and maintain an email database list?
Follow our easy plan to increase your open rate, your click-throughs and your shares, giving you E Newsletter success!
E-Mail Marketing: The Basics
It is important before we even begin, that we clarify one critical point: E-Mail Marketing does not involve bombarding our potential customers with offers every week in the hope that they will buy from us.
E-mail marketing strategies should not focus solely on price promotion. We believe you need to value add.You need to give your target customer a reason to open your e newsletter, over and above this week’s special.
E Newsletters have emerged as a very successful E-Mail Marketing tool, as they promote trust and loyalty and give a personality to your business while allowing you to connect with your customer over and above a promotion or sale.
It’s an opportunity to bring together all your social media platforms and deliver a concise summary direct to your subscriber’s inbox. Oh, and did we mention, it’s free?
7 Steps for E Newsletter Success
1. Gather a great list
As of today, make sure you utilise every opportunity you can to grow your email database:
- Ask permission to email updates and offers from your business. (It’s actually the law – http://www.adma.com.au/regulatory/compliance-tools/spam-act/).
- Create a database capturing the First Name, Last Name and Email address of each subscriber (at a minimum). This can be in an excel spreadsheet or a mailing list using E Mail Marketing Software (EMS).
- Remember to delete or mark inactive anyone who asks to unsubscribe.
- Use a sign up tab /form on your website and social media platforms to encourage sign up.
- Offer a discount to reward sign up.
- Run a competition to drive sign up or buy space in a complementary newsletter to attract new potential subscribers.
- Never email your list using the “To” box, as all email addresses will be visible to all subscribers. Instead use the “BCC” or better still send through email marketing software.
2. Cut through with your subject line
E Newsletters cop a bit of flack for being lost in a sea of email and it’s a fair point too!
That’s why you need to ensure your subject line connects with your subscribers:
- Keep it brief, too many words will get cut off.
- Remember to highlight the most exciting reason why your subscriber should open the email, because they are thinking, “What’s in it for me?”
- Think about your own inbox; What gets instantly deleted? What gets opened? Why?
- Make sure you mix it up; call out your promotion, next time ask a question, highlight brands.
- Introduce your newsletter at your launch, eg- “The Monthly Hoot: Launch Issue”.
3. Create a template that is easy to use
Set up a template to build your newsletter in each month, you can use Word or an EMS program and try to stick to that template every month with minimal changes. This builds consistency and helps give a professional look.
4. Balance the content
You want to get opened, get read, be clicked and be shared!
This can’t be achieved with just one type of content:
- A personal message, aim to have a short message from the business owner or the nominated voice of the business. Wrap up what’s been going on and what subscribers should look out for in the newsletter.
- Recap the month; share a post from Facebook that got people talking, perhaps include a paragraph of the best blog post for the month and a link to read more.
- Feature a reader of the month, product of the month or special of the month.
- Add some value to newsletter by adding an educational article, a humours anecdote, a recipe, a local restaurant review. Something readers look forward to every month that is more than just a plug for your business.
- Run promotions, competitions, special offers sometimes, but not every time.
- Use a variety of methods and learn from what works best with your subscribers.
- Open it up to subscribers to supply content. Content co creation can be a great way to foster valuable connections.
5. Send at the right time
Based on your business type, establish the best time to send:
- Mainly Business Customers? Usually around 3pm Tue-Thurs is a good time.
- Mainly WAHers? Try after 7pm on a weeknight.
- Is your business focussed on the weekend? Thursday 3pm – Friday 3pm
6. Encourage sharing
- Create content that people just have to share. Added value and co-created content will be especially popular.
- Make your email easy to forward. Use a “Forward to a Friend” form in your EMS or simply add “If you enjoyed this issue, please forward it to a friend” at the end.
- Run competitions via the newsletter that use “Refer a Friend” for more entries into the draw.
7. Check your stats
Most effective tracking will come from using EMS, as you will be able to analyse your open rate, click-through and your shares. You may also be able to look at the most popular time of day your email was opened.
- Use your stats to learn what your subscriber base is really looking for in your newsletter.
Start today by committing to a monthly newsletter for your business and pick a date to send out your newsletter every month (e.g last Wednesday of the month). Consider writing a plan for the next 3 months of what you will feature in each newsletter, so you are not overwhelmed as each month rolls around. Monitor the success of each newsletter, compare the results and uncover the best formula for your E Newsletter Success.
Using E Mail Marketing Software
Just before we wrap up, one last word on EMS. Although we guided you through our 7 Steps to E Newsletter Success, with the choice of using EMS or going it alone, we must stress our advice is to use it!
EMS allows you to:
- Manage your database subscribers and un-subscribers easily, professionally and most important of all, in accordance to anti spam law.
- Create a template to use for each mail out that is professional, structured and can manage technical requirements like including plain text elements to not get misread by spam filters.
- Create ease of sharing with “Forward to a Friend” forms.
- Create ease of sign up with links on your website and social media being directed to a form that automatically updates your mailing list and validates the subscriber.
- Personalise your newsletter, so you can send 1,000 emails with one click, yet each recipient can be addressed by their first name.
- Easily analyse your statistics to make changes and increase effectiveness of your newsletter.
- Do all this for free (within limits) – check out Mail Chimp and Send Blaster.
Have you launched an email newsletter yet? What you would consider changing after reading this?
If you are procrastinating about it, contact us and we can help you with a plan to launch your businesses email newsletter.
Stay tuned for our revision of F is for Facebook.