Designing an effective email newsletter is a low cost way to market to your audience. To maximize your time & effort, incorporate our newsletter tips to engage, and ultimately convert, your audience.Are you like me? I dread those salespeople offering product samples at mall kiosks – they rush right up to you or yell, “Try our samples!” across the corridor and I cringe. Thanks to my mom’s unfailing reprimands to always be polite, I usually say, “No, thank you!” but I’m immediately uncomfortable and can’t get away fast enough.
It’s a funny phenomenon - while I’m a social creature and enjoy learning about products, I prefer to interact on my own terms when I’m shopping. I might even love their product, but because they get in my face, I won’t even consider it.
Email is the same way! When I receive email for a store or organization to which I didn’t subscribe, I am typically more annoyed than intrigued. Often, I immediately seek out the “unsubscribe” option. After discussions with friends and colleagues, it’s clear that many consumers have a similar reaction.
Assuming that isn’t the response you’re aiming for, consider the best ways to effectively engage with your prospective audience. Whether you’re sending a weekly newsletter or promoting a one-time event, it’s important to respect your audience.
Here are some best practices for capturing your audience rather than turning them off.
Ensure your audience has opted in to your email list. There are even legal repercussions if you don't have them opt-in in the correct way. Plus, it's better to have fewer interested people on your list than to create angry or uncomfortable prospects.
Here are some examples of that in action:
- Business Card Exchange: If you exchange business cards, simply ask if they'd be interested in being added to your Newsletter (it helps if you lead with why they'd find value).
- Group email: If you're on a group email with a number of different contacts, DO NOT automatically add those names to your email list – send out a personalized email and include your link to sign up for your Newsletter. The easier you make it for them - the more likely they'll sign up!
- Add a sign-up form to your website: With this tool, you to have an effortless way for visitors to stay connected right after they've read something valuable from you (like at the bottom of a blog post).
Create a consistent pattern of when you will send out emails. Becoming a part of your readers' routines is key, and helps for readers to know when they can count on you adding value to their lives. Start with the same date once a month. It’s better to be consistent with your timing and have LOTS of valuable content versus struggling to fill up the content for each newsletter. More than weekly will likely result in audience loss. More is not always better!
When creating your email campaign, balance your offerings to your audience. Aim for at least 80% value in each newsletter. Note: your events may be informational but unless they are free, they should not be included as part of your value percentage – if you’re profiting, you’re selling!
Examples of how to provide value would include topics on which you have an interesting point of view, how-tos, education, news, interesting facts, curated roundups, etc.
4. CALL TO ACTION
A call to action (or CTA for short) is the section of your content that clearly tells your customers what they should do next to engage more with you. It's all about trying to grab them while you have their attention, and be sure to give them a reason why they should take the desired action.
For example: you're a financial advisor and you've included content on ways for them to save money. To keep warming them, you may want to offer a taste of your services so they can develop trust and see your value before they commit. Try something like: "Call today to schedule your free 15 minute consultation." Not only have you stated the action you want them to take (call today), but also what's in it for them if they take that action (free consultation).
Nothing diminishes respect faster than a poorly edited message. Do not count on your spell check to catch errors. There’s a reason for the 100 “their/there/they’re” memes on Facebook.
One great way to make sure you send out a clean Newsletter is to pair up with a fellow Pepperlaner to double-check each other’s newsletters. You can often miss typos after looking at a document for hours.
DON’T FOOL AROUND: Keep it professional. Do not use business emails to send political information, jokes, chain letters, etc.
EMAIL SERVICES: Consider a service (Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc.). They are designed to hit a consumer’s inbox instead of going to the spam folder, along with helping ensure you're following the rules & regulations with email opt-ins. They often provide simple templates that show you how to design a newsletter. Also, you can also track your analytics to determine effectiveness, including open rate and click-throughs. Check out this comparison of the best email marketing services.
Done correctly, a savvy newsletter is a practical tool in your marketing arsenal. Learning how to design an email newsletter creates a time-effective, low-touch, low-cost way of engaging with your audience.
Providing value to your audience keeps their attention and lowers attrition, keeping you on their radar. When they need your services or product, there you are!
Diane Meehan is the Director of Business Development at Pepperlane. Previously, she worked at Paint Nite, where she was ranked in the top 1% of Paint Nite licensees across the country for 4 years and grew her social painting business to over $6 million in sales in less than 5 years.
As a divorced mom to 3 girls, she is particularly skilled in time management, organization, and eye-roll interpretation.