As marketers and business owners it feels like there are countless platforms out there on which to reach your customers, with new ones popping up every day. But while social media may get the limelight, there’s one platform that refuses to quit, email marketing.
Email is still the dominant form of communication for adults in the US, with 90% of people using email compared to 70% that use social platforms. This makes email marketing a great way to retain and nurture leads. But how do you do so without coming off as too persistent? Great question.
Email newsletters are a simple way to keep your customers in the loop without overwhelming them. A successful newsletter updates your customers not only on the products or services you offer, but also on the larger happening of your industry or world. By giving your readers content they actually care about, rather than just what you want them to care about, you develop brand equity that results in a loyal and engaged customer base.
Deliver Content Worth Reading
Just because someone gave you their email doesn’t mean they’ll read just anything you send them. You have to make it interesting! From the subject line to the substance of the newsletter, you should aim to capture your reader’s attention. My favorite newsletters are emails I look forward to getting every week, because they offer me something in return.
Hopefully, you’re already producing content for your web and social channels, but you should do more than just repackage stuff your visitors have already seen. Here are some ideas to make your newsletter something your customers can’t live without.
- Recommend content you love: It may seem counterintuitive to lead customers anywhere other than your site, but don’t worry! They’ll remember who sent them there.
- Launch content with your newsletter: Timing your newsletter and new content to go out the same day keeps your newsletter fresh and drives readers to your site.
- Design it to be beautiful, but simple: Services like MailChimp offer easy to use templates, but be careful how design happy you get. Remember that many of your readers view emails in plaintext formats without images, so keep it clean and simple.
When in Doubt, Test it Out
In the opinion of this writer, content will always reign supreme. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore your analytics. Email automation services or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms are great tools in that they give you options to gather and test different data points. Here are some you’ll want to focus on:
- Open Rate: This reflects the percentage of people that actually open your newsletter. It’s important to note that many times an “open” only counts when the email is opened AND the images are enabled or a link is clicked.
- Click Through Rate: Knowing how often readers click through on the content you’re providing will give you a better idea of what they’re into, and what’s not working.
- Unsubscribe Rate: Unsubscribes are rare, but if they start to creep above 1% it could mean that you’re sending emails too often or missing terribly on the content.
Using A-B testing with an eye on these data points will help you understand how your newsletter is connecting with readers. Try two different headlines, or play around with different layouts until you find one that optimizes the data points you care about most.
Stick to the Strategy
Your newsletter and any other email campaign you send out will be important pieces of your content marketing plan. The goal of these campaigns is to nurture relationships between your customers and your brand, so it makes sense that they should reflect what your brand stands for.
While your content marketing plan defines the tools you’ll use to reach your customers, your content strategy determines how it looks and feels. For a refresher on what that means, check out our previous blog, but simply put you’ll want to make sure you are presenting your brand in a way that feels real. Talk to them like people, use your newsletter as a chance to build a relationship, and give them something they’ll be excited to open. Do that, and you’ll have a newsletter people will talk about.
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