Entries Tagged 'newsletter' ↓

Generating Ideas For Your Newsletters

inspiration for blog topics

 

It’s important to keep in touch with your customers, old and new.

One of the best ways to do that is to send out a monthly newsletter.

Yes, newsletter, not sales letter.

Keeping in touch, sending them useful information and news and not making a direct pitch will help keep your name in their minds. Then, when they’re ready to buy again, they’ll think of your first.

Just remember your newsletter isn’t a regular sales pitch. Sure, if you are launching a new product or service you can add a piece about that, but your newsletter shouldn’t be all about offers and why they should buy from you.

The idea is to use it as a relationship building tool.

So where do your ideas come from?

After a while, you’ll probably find that your stream of brilliant ideas is beginning to dry up.

What was once a simple task once a month is now turning into a chore.

Every newsletter is beginning to look the same, so much so that your open and click through rates are plummeting.

What do you do?

Give up?

No. You just have to get your thinking cap on.

Generating new ideas

I write a regular newsletter for one of my clients.

It’s done on a bi-monthly basis and I usually contact him with an idea for the lead story and then we work together to add in the rest of the information, such as offers etc.

So where do I get my ideas from?

My first stop is his website and blog. What have they been talking about? Once I find a suitable topic I do a bit more research to expand it and make it directly relevant to his audience.

What if there are no ideas?

Then I get on the phone and we have a chat about what’s been happening in the business over the past month. You’d be amazed how many content ideas that can generate.

You see, your newsletter themes don’t have to be about what’s happening right now in your business, they can be about wider issues. Perhaps a customer asked you a question? If they were interested in that topic perhaps other customers are too.

Look at what’s happening in your industry – new technologies that can be commented on, news stories that you can elaborate on, or events.

There are ideas everywhere; you just have to know where to look.

Read around. Listen to your customers. Talk to other staff members. All of these will generate ideas for future newsletters.

Are Your Newsletter’s Mobile Friendly?

mobile email

 

It wasn’t too long ago that we were all panicking when Google announced it was cracking down on websites that weren’t mobile friendly.

Business owners around the world were frantically trying to bring their sites into line with the search giant’s exacting demands.

If you beat the deadline you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief and relaxing feeling smug.

What about your newsletter?

Is that mobile friendly too?

Today, about 66% (source: emailmonday.com) of emails are opened on mobile devices so if yours isn’t optimised for mobile the chances are it will be deleted immediately.

The good news is that unlike your website, fixing your email readability is relatively straightforward.

Make people open your emails

You have 3 bites of the cherry when it comes to convincing someone to open your email:

  • Subject line – 28 to 39 characters long, personalised (use “I” and “you”), emotive language
  • First line – make it sound friendly, as through from an old friend (e.g. “Can you believe Briar Copywriting has turned 3? It only seems like yesterday…)
  • From line – show they’re from a real person (e.g. sally@briarcopywriting.com rather than sales@briarcopywriting.com)

Is your font readable?

If you use a tiny font that makes your readers squint to try and read it, it will get binned.

Make sure it is big enough to read without having to pinch and zoom. A good size for the body text is 14.

Don’t give your email a garish dress to wear

When your recipient opens your email they should be drawn directly to your text not your design.

Don’t cram it with images; less is definitely more.

Shout about your call to action

Your email needs a call to action – that’s a given.

The problem with text-based calls to action is they’re not overly obvious and can be difficult to “hit” when using a mobile device.

Using a simple, coloured button will draw attention to your call to action and make it easy to press.

See, I told you it wouldn’t be difficult to make a different to your emails.

 

 

Newsletters Aren’t About You

Newsletters aren’t about you – yes, you did read that right.Newsletter marketing

Many companies fall into the trap of sending out a regular newsletter that focuses on them, their achievements and what’s new in their world.

To them, it’s the most interesting thing they’ve read in a long time (or at least since the last issue), but to their customers it’s the most boring thing to hit their inbox since the last influx of SEO spam.

So, I hear you cry, if my newsletter isn’t to be about me and my company, who should it be about?

Keep your customer in focus

Let’s go back a few steps.

Why do you send out a newsletter each month?

The idea behind it is to build and enhance your relationship with your customers and keep them up to date with what’s happening.

The best way to do that is to provide information they will find useful.

Yes, giving away hints, tips and great information will strengthen your customer relationships – it’s not rocket science.

Become more familiar

A great way to boost engagement is to keep the structure of your newsletters pretty consistent every month.

Start off with a general paragraph to say hi and introduce the main theme of your newsletter. Then give them something such as an article that offers tips, advice and great information that they will find useful.

You could then add a short case study about one of your clients showing how your product/service helped them. That’s a neat way of giving you a plug whilst benefiting a client (they’re not going to say no the free publicity). Plus, if you have the case studies on your website, adding a link to the full article will help drive more traffic your way.

This could be followed by a thought for the day, book recommendation etc., something that you can share and talk about. Or you could mention an article that you found interesting or one of your recent blog posts. Rather than making your newsletter extremely long by including the whole article, you could write a teaser and then link out to it.

Finally, if you have an offer, new product or service, or a sale, you can mention it at the end. That way, by the time the reach it they’ll be feeling pretty good about you because you’ve given them something first.

You see, just by giving a bit of thought to the content and structure of your newsletter you can go from a low open and click rate to one that will be the envy of your peers – it just takes a bit of thought.

Over to you

Have you found a winning formula for your newsletter?

What are the most popular sections you use?

Leave a comment below.

 

Is Your Email Marketing Working?

What is an acceptable open rate for your email marketing campaign?

What should your click rate be?

In answer to those questions the answer is ‘it depends’ – mainly on the industry you operate in.

To give you a heads up, below is a table of statistics compiled by MailChimp outlining the average email campaign stats from their customers by industry:­

Average Email Campaign Stats of MailChimp Customers by Industry

Type of Company Open Rate Click Rate Soft Bounce Rate Hard Bounce Rate Abuse Complaint Rate Unsubscribe Rate
Agriculture and Food Services 23.94% 4.85% 0.97% 2.06% 0.10% 0.38%
Arts and Artists 17.53% 3.54% 1.58% 2.54% 0.08% 0.25%
Beauty and Personal Care 14.94% 2.65% 0.71% 1.54% 0.09% 0.28%
Business and Finance 15.47% 2.77% 2.10% 1.57% 0.04% 0.21%
Computers and Electronics 15.51% 2.97% 1.12% 1.71% 0.08% 0.30%
Construction 28.70% 8.01% 4.51% 5.81% 0.11% 0.35%
Consulting 16.32% 3.30% 2.50% 2.39% 0.03% 0.25%
Creative Services/Agency 24.64% 3.08% 1.34% 2.05% 0.06% 0.25%
eCommerce 14.98% 3.36% 0.74% 0.88% 0.08% 0.25%
Education and Training 16.64% 3.41% 1.42% 2.09% 0.06% 0.20%
Entertainment and Events 16.09% 2.98% 0.85% 1.55% 0.08% 0.19%
Government 25.66% 5.37% 0.86% 0.89% 0.04% 0.20%
Health and Fitness 20.96% 5.73% 3.14% 6.30% 0.06% 0.30%
Hobbies 18.45% 4.33% 1.13% 2.08% 0.12% 0.40%
Home and Garden 28.20% 4.38% 2.93% 2.68% 0.02% 0.41%
Insurance 20.91% 3.03% 2.37% 4.15% 0.10% 0.30%
Legal 17.34% 2.49% 0.79% 0.89% 0.02% 0.12%
Marketing and Advertising 18.79% 4.13% 1.39% 2.50% 0.08% 0.23%
Media and Publishing 18.43% 3.39% 0.48% 0.63% 0.03% 0.11%
Medical, Dental, and Healthcare 13.76% 2.59% 2.18% 4.09% 0.06% 0.18%
Music and Musicians 13.95% 2.43% 0.68% 1.07% 0.06% 0.18%
Non-Profit 20.43% 3.54% 1.13% 1.51% 0.05% 0.17%
Other 33.52% 10.90% 0.83% 1.66% 0.09% 0.40%
Photo and Video 28.93% 5.70% 0.99% 1.34% 0.07% 0.26%
Politics 13.72% 2.58% 0.49% 0.78% 0.07% 0.15%
Professional Services 19.77% 3.71% 2.55% 3.57% 0.08% 0.45%
Public Relations 14.81% 1.12% 2.07% 2.28% 0.03% 0.16%
Real Estate 18.48% 3.44% 1.18% 1.67% 0.06% 0.25%
Recruitment and Staffing 15.31% 3.35% 1.37% 1.75% 0.07% 0.31%
Religion 23.04% 3.24% 0.52% 0.68% 0.05% 0.15%
Restaurant 20.07% 2.41% 0.70% 1.11% 0.09% 0.30%
Retail 17.80% 3.54% 0.61% 1.00% 0.08% 0.24%
Social Networks and Online Communities 22.37% 2.85% 6.94% 5.44% 0.11% 0.74%
Software and Web App 15.57% 2.49% 1.88% 3.06% 0.11% 0.39%
Sports 19.54% 4.77% 0.86% 1.53% 0.08% 0.24%
Telecommunications 21.20% 3.22% 1.60% 2.85% 0.10% 0.41%
Travel and Transportation 14.50% 2.71% 0.84% 0.83% 0.05% 0.17%

 

How do your results compare?

Congratulations if you’re about right (or above average) for your industry. But what if you’re a bit under par? Where are you going wrong?

Common causes for poor email results

There are a number of reasons why your emails aren’t performing as they should, but here are the most common ones:

1. Murky

The reason for sending your email has to be clear, that means your subject line has to tie in with the email’s content.

If you promise one thing just to get them to open the email and then fail to deliver (or deliver something different), you’ll lose their trust and they’ll probably unsubscribe.

So make sure you’re clear about why you’re sending the email, make sure the subject line and content tallies and make sure your message is clear – that means stick to one (or a maximum of 2) topic rather than trying to cover everything in one go.

2. Way too long

This one slots in nicely after number 1. If you try to cover too much your email will be too long and no one will read it.

If you want to bring the readers’ attention to an article, rather than placing the whole thing in your email, write a short teaser and link out to it.

The ideal length for a newsletter/email is about 400 words (600 would be an absolutely maximum).

3. You, you, you

Read your email back to yourself – who is it talking about, you or your customer?

If it is all about your company, how great you are, your products etc., without any mention of the benefits you will bring your customers, your readers won’t read it.

Email marketing is there to help you build relationships with your customers, which means every email should add value to them. It should offer them great information, give them tips, perhaps an offer or two – it should be about them and not you.

4. No call to action

Sending out emails that give great information is fantastic, but if you don’t ask your reader to do something, they’re a complete waste of time.

It could be something as simple as following a link to your website, downloading a top ten tips list, perhaps a report – basically, anything that will add value to them.

5. Typos

We are all human; mistakes happen and typos slip through, but do your utmost to make sure your email goes out error free.

If you do spot something after hitting the send button, send an apology and offer them something for the inconvenience – perhaps a voucher?

If you get it wrong, apologise and they won’t think badly of you.

Writing engaging emails

OK, we’ve looked at why your click and open rate may not be as high as it should, but what can you do to remedy it?

Well, what follows are a few simple tips that help you be more effective with your email marketing:

  • Be yourself – write from the heart, don’t try and be corporate it doesn’t work. Be conversational if you want to boost engagement
  • Be in a good mood – the best emails are those written when you’re in the right mood. Try and write a good one when you’re in a bad mood – it’s impossible
  • Read out loud – by far the best way to check for errors
  • Connection – make sure you write about something that your readers can connect with, if possible tie it in with topical events
  • Email address – make sure the email address you send it from is real, i.e. it has your company name in it – it is far more likely to opened that way

There you go, a few simple tips to make the most of your email marketing. Give them a try and see how you get on.

The Importance of Getting Your Email Marketing Right

Does this sound familiar?

“Dear Sir/Madam,

Do you want to see your website in Top 10 position in Google or other major search engine?”

Day after day I receive umpteen of these emails from SEO companies (and others) telling me they can get my website into a top 10 position in Google.

First, this is obviously a blanket email, because if they’d done any research they’d realise that my website was already on the front page for my chosen keywords.

And secondly, it’s addressed to ‘Sir/Madam’, so they haven’t bothered to take the trouble to personalise their email.

Not a great start then.

We’re all used to getting these types of emails, but it’s essential that you don’t fall into a similar trap when undertaking your own email marketing.

To spam or not to spam, that is the question

A little while ago I posted on the UK Business Labs forums about email marketing and how to get the most from it by offering relevant and targeted emails to your own, home-grown opt-in marketing list.

This caused a furore as it was intimated by a reader that email marketing was spam regardless of whether you use an opt-in list or a bought list.

However, provided you follow a few basic courtesies you should avoid alienating any of your customers.

Be clear from the start

The only way to gain trust and keep your customers happy is to be clear and upfront with then from the outset.

If you are cultivating your opt-in list to send out a newsletter, tell your customers how frequently you’ll contact them.

If you want to send a newsletter and occasional email marketing messages or offers, again let them know. If possible, offer a choice of messages so they can opt-in, for example, to your newsletter but not your other emails.

Giving them choice and being open and honest about what you intend to do with their email address will generate that all important trust that’s vital for strong and lasting customer relations.

Divide and conquer

As mentioned above, splitting your email marketing list and offering different communications that people can opt in and out of will help you target your marketing efforts.

That way, you won’t cheese off half your customers.

Get personal

Don’t send out generic emails addresses to ‘Sir or Madam’. Use their name and make your communications personal.

So, is using an opt-in list spam?

Not in my book.

People who want to receive your news and offers gave those email addresses. So, provided you stick to your promise of what you’ll send them and when, how can that possibly be seen as spam?

After all, Wikipedia defines Spam as:

…the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising, indiscriminately.

And, as your list has opted in to your messages they’re not unsolicited.

Over to you

What do you think about this issue?

What do you class as spam?

Leave your comments below and give us your take on this contentious issue.

 

Sally Ormond – Copywriter