Lost in all the talk about social media is the fact that email is still one of the best ways to establish or strengthen a relationship with your customers. Consider these facts:
- 77% of us want to get marketing messages via email and there’s no close second place.
- Email marketing is cost-effective. Email brings in $40 for every dollar spent on it.
- Your current customers are your best source of increased sales through repeat and referral business. 82% of small business owners have said their main source of new business is referrals.
However, to get the most out of email marketing, your newsletter has to be useful for your subscribers and not take up so much of your time that you can’t keep up with it. Here are three tips for more effective email newsletters for your subscribers and you.
1. Be Consistent
Emails are more effective when sent on a consistent basis. It sets expectations. Three times one week and then not again for two months is not the way to go. Pick a time you can commit to, and don’t get too ambitious about it until you’ve made it a habit! Start with monthly, bi-weekly or weekly, but stick to your schedule. Restaurants, hair salons, and others with specials and changing events may want weekly emails, but for a dentist, accountant, or anyone just starting out monthly is probably the best place to start.
Remember to only send emails to those who have asked to be on your email list! You may find some customers want to hear from you more frequently than others. Your email marketing software lets you create lists to segment subscribers. When you have a consistent newsletter going, using segmented lists to target different groups of customers can take your email marketing effectiveness to the next level.
2. Keep It Short and Simple
People get lots of emails. There are even a number of websites devoted to helping you get to Inbox Zero!
Another trend to be aware of is that now 41% of emails are opened on mobile devices. This number is growing every day. Often, emails on mobile are quickly read while waiting somewhere or in between other activities.
An email newsletter is not the place to write lengthy articles. First, no one will read them. Second, once the email is deleted the information is gone forever.
A better strategy is to write brief, skimmable newsletters with links to more detailed information on your website for those who want it. The information on your website can be found on search and will remain available when the email is deleted. You keep your website updated and communicate directly with your customers, and that saves time!
When writing your email newsletter,
- Don’t include too many different items , two to four is plenty
- Use subheadings and bullets to make it easy to skim quickly
- For each item, write the most important thing your reader needs to know and link to more details on your website
- If you use pictures, make sure the information is also conveyed in the text as many email programs turn off images by default
- Make it clear what you want readers to do (register for an event, read an article, redeem a coupon, etc.)
3. Have a Plan
Make sure you have something useful to say! People subscribe to your newsletter because they believe you will offer something of value to them. This can take many forms: news, product information, specials, discounts, or education. Your email newsletter shouldn’t be a straight sales pitch each time. Look at your content from the perspective of your reader.
If you are not sure what to say, think about the seasons of your business, tie-ins to holidays, frequently asked questions, industry news, or how to use your product or service. Think about the stories you tell customers and prospects, and the kinds of things they ask you to explain. These are great topics for blog posts and email newsletters.
Map out the broad topics of what you want to say in advance, and align topics with your business goals and promotions. When it comes time to write the newsletter, you will already know what you are writing about. Tie this in your website and social media content to save time and amplify your message.
An effective email newsletter is a smart, cost-effective way to build your business.
[Photo Credit Flickr: Social BIZ Solutions CC License]