Having your own email newsletter can be a powerful inbound marketing tool, but it’s important to do it well. Here are 10 top tips that will increase engagement with your readers.
1. Know your market
If you don’t think through who you are writing for and why they should care, your publication won’t have the impact you are aiming for. Be sure your content is specific to your market. If you have a variety of markets, write different newsletters and set up separate mailing groups, with relevant messages. Always ask yourself the question ‘does this content pass the ‘what’s in it for me’ test?
2. Be timely
Don’t write about something that is happening on Monday, if you know your eNewsletter won’t be sent out until Thursday. Similarly, newsletters that are delivered on a Friday afternoon may have less of an impact than those delivered on a Tuesday morning in the B2B space.
3. Make it easy to read
For longer pieces, publish the article on your website and include a link to it in the newsletter. Limit yourself to a certain number of items per publication so readers get used to the structure. As a rule, people don’t like emails that scroll ad infinitum.
4. Don’t overwhelm the reader with offers
Have offers and promotions by all means, but include interesting links to articles about your sector, company blog posts or press releases as well. People have signed up for your newsletter to be kept informed, not just to be sold to. So make sure that your newsletter is editorially led, i.e. not overly sales-y.
5. Get your data right
Are you sending your newsletter to the right people? Good email marketing software will remove duplicates and hard bounces, but make sure your list is of high quality to start with. The people you are sending to will ideally be people you have previously met, or had contact with before. If you are buying lists (which is not recommended), proceed with caution. Make sure you can confirm that the data is opted-in, and how frequently it is updated. If you are unsure about either of these, just don’t buy it.
6. Be recognised
Assuming your contacts are known to you, use your email marketing system to set up the newsletter so that it is sent from the ‘relationship manager’ in your company rather than the marketing manager or someone they don’t know. In this way the person that appears in the ‘from’ field in the recipient's inbox will be known to them, so you will increase recognition and subsequent opens. A good email marketing system will also allow you to set up any direct replies so they are directed to the relationship manager increasing the chances of timely action. If you take this advice, make sure you include your company name in the subject line.
7. Harvest interest
Include a message and link in your newsletter to the opt-in form on your website in order to take advantage of the forwards from recipients. After all, the idea is to increase traction with your company and, as long as you are not operating in a closed market such as trade-only distribution, you will want to extend your network. So make it obvious and easy for new contacts to subscribe.
8. Tell them something they don’t know
Adding something surprising to your eNewsletter will make it stand out. News about employee activities, charity involvement, CSR projects or quirky facts about the company or the industry might seem irrelevant to your key sales message, but it will give your brand and eNewsletter a personality.
9. Have a strong call to action
This is vital if you want to measure the success of your eNewsletter against sales or leads. If you include a ‘call now’ or ‘email us’ in the newsletter in relation to any offer, make sure it is well illustrated and clear, and encourage salespeople to ask where they saw the promotion. Also, pre-populate the subject line in reply emails. A good email marketing provider will be able to show you how.
10. Include social media links
If your eNewsletter is relevant and compelling, chances are your recipients will want to share it with colleagues and industry professionals and connect with you. Add links to your company’s social media profiles and also add ‘Share’ links to the content so that readers can share with their own social media connections.
If you are thinking about setting up your own eNewsletter you might find our Custom Publishing White Paper of value.