E-mail marketing gets kind of a bad reputation these days. It tends to evoke images of unending, unsolicited marketing communications from brands you only interacted with once, ages ago—or spam e-mails from companies you’ve never heard of. However, done correctly, e-mail marketing can be so much more than that. A well-executed e-mail can do a lot for your brand. Let’s see how by examining one of the most effective methods—the e-mail newsletter.
Building Your E-mail List
The first thing to do is find people to send your newsletter to. It’s important to tread carefully here. Only send e-mails to people who have specifically requested them. If someone signs up for one thing on your site and then gets inundated with e-mails for something totally different that they never asked for—or, worse yet, if you buy e-mail lists from third parties to send marketing to—you’ll only succeed in irritating your recipients and create a negative association with your brand in their minds.
The best way to get people to sign up for your newsletter is just to ask. Put a call-to-action at the end of blog posts (like we do at the end of this post) or other pages on your site, saying, “If you’d like to see more content like this, sign up for our e-mail newsletter and have it delivered straight to your Inbox!” Then, anyone who’s interested can do so.
You can also make it an option when they make a purchase on your site, or fill out some other kind of form. Have a box at the bottom, right before they hit Submit, saying, “Would you also like to be signed up for our monthly newsletter?”
So what do you put in this newsletter? Just about anything you think will appeal to your target audience. You can do an overview of your recent blog posts, a roundup of news from your field, tips and tricks that will help them solve common problems, and much more. If you want to put a bit more effort into it, you can even answer questions from readers. Do some research into what your audience wants to see, and give them that.
Keep two things in mind, though. First, don’t make it too long. The longer your newsletter goes on for, the fewer people will make it to the end. Second, make it as visual as possible. Have small, easily digestible blocks of texts, broken up by big headers and eye-catching images. If the reader wants to learn more about one of the topics you covered, they can click a link and be taken to a page on your website with the full story. That’s the ultimate goal, after all: to use unique and appealing content to drive users to your site.
Finally, consider personalizing the newsletter for each recipient. If you use certain marketing software applications to create your newsletter and maintain your e-mail list, you can include personalization tokens: algorithms that allow you to include a brief personal greeting for each recipient, calling them by name.
Monthly newsletters can be an incredibly effective tool, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to e-mail marketing. Next week, we’ll discuss the basics of setting up an entire automated e-mail campaign. Stay tuned!
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