Welcome! We’re in the midst of the holiday season. That means the time to get those email newsletters out and into the inboxes of your customers is NOW. But before you hit “send” on that email marketing campaign, take a quick look at the recommendations below to make sure you’re getting the absolute most out of it. You may remember that yesterday our friend TJ McCue broke down 30 useful email marketing apps, now it’s time to worry about how to write them.
Here are 6 things to consider and watch out for:
Be Intimate: One reason email marketing is a great sales tool is because it allows business owners to connect with customers on a more personal level. Because people have opted-in, you already know they want hear from you and learn more about what you’re about. Use the opportunity to start a worthwhile conversation with them. Talk in the first person instead of a cold third. Give them a behind-the-scenes look at your company so they feel more connected to it. Share information that you’re not putting on the site. The more “special” and “insider” you can make the newsletter feel, the better the response you’ll see. If you’ve ever read one of Chris Brogan’s newsletters, you know the great lengths he goes to create that close-knit community vibe. His emails are written like a letter to a friend and its helped his audience to really connect with them.
Make sure it’s readable: I know, goes without saying, right? You’d think. But how many newsletters have you attempted to read where there was dark text on a dark background? Or where half an article was cut off due to bad formatting? Or maybe they have the text too tightly scrunched together that no one out of high school has the eye sight to read it? Maybe the email just stretches on and on for pages and pages with no end? Before you actually send out your newsletter, shoot yourself a test copy to make sure it’s readable, that everything is in its proper place, that there are images to break up all the text, and that it’s something you’d want to see in your inbox if you were the customer. It’s one small, but very important step.
Pay attention to branding: Whatever email app you decide to use, make sure it leaves you with plenty of opportunities for branding and customization. You want people to know exactly who the email is from the moment they open it. That means your logo should be prominent, the colors and overall feel should reflect your site and your contact information should be easy to find. The more recognizable your email newsletter, the more trust a customer is going to place in it. It will seem less like marketing and more like information from a friend that they already know and remember. If you’ve ever seen Yelp’s newsletters, they do an excellent job with branding.
Be consistent: Whether you’re opting for a monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly newsletter, make sure you stick to a consistent publishing date so that people know when they’re coming. Your readers should know when to expect your next issue and be waiting for it. This may mean experimenting a bit to determine the frequency that your community prefers. Once a month may not be often but once a week may be too overwhelming or hard for them to keep up with. Some simple testing should help you find your community’s sweet spot. Whatever you decide on, stick with it.
Create an engaging subject line: You will live and die by your email subject line. That, along with your brand name, is what will determine whether or not someone opens your email and even sees the information you’ve put together. The goal of subject line is to grab your readers’ attention, get them to open the email, and to set the promise for what the rest of the newsletter will be about. If you need help writing engaging subject lines Copyblogger, Problogger and even my own company, Outspoken Media, may be able to help. The links posted mostly deal with blog titles specifically, but the general purpose and tips are the same.
Look professional: The little things add up. If you can’t spell ‘entrepreneur’ then I probably won’t trust your newsletter article on how to be a good one. If you send your newsletter out with bad links, then I wonder how much attention you’d really pay to me as a customer. Your newsletter doesn’t have to be super fancy, in fact, sometimes it’s the simplest newsletters that make the greatest impact. However, it doesn’t have to show that you care enough about your customers to make sure all the little things like grammar, typos, formatting, links and images are all properly in place.
Those are my six tips. Anything I missed?