Email offers you excellent ROI
I’m a huge fan of email marketing and find it one of the most cost-effective and flexible marketing channels available. For small businesses in particular it should be a well-loved and well-used part of your marketing tool kit. Email consistently ranks as one of the best channels for ROI. According to Econsultancy 68% if companies rank email as ‘good’ or ‘excellent in terms of return on investment. Email can be used for all sorts of business purposes – from promotional offers to customer research. In this article we’ll be focusing on email newsletters and how to get the most out of them for your business.
Why are email newsletters so useful?
Email newsletters are a great way for you to add value and enhance your customers’ experience of your business. Instead of just bombarding customers with of sales messages, newsletters can provide customers with useful, interesting and engaging information. This in turn helps you build stronger customer relationships.
- 68% of marketers agree e-newsletters are the top email messages which helps to achieve their business goals.
- 59% of email users spend more than 20 minutes a week reading email newsletters
- 27% of email users spend an hour or more weekly reading newsletters
- 57% of consumers say they have a positive impression of a company after receiving an email from them.
An effective email newsletter will help:
Branding: Build brand awareness and reinforce your brand amongst customers and potential customers
Customer relationships: Give something of value back to your customers to help build stronger relationships, increase loyalty and grow the lifetime value of a customer.
Communication: Cost-effective and efficient way to communicate and distribute content amongst customers
Drive traffic: Linking content back to your website helps drive traffic to your online business.
How to create an engaging newsletter
So what can you do to make your newsletter more engaging? There are lots of great content ideas you can implement (we’ll get to those later) but to get things started you might want to ensure you are getting the basics right. I’ve outlined below some best practice principles you should be employing in your newsletters.
Useful and informative content. Firstly it is important to remember that a newsletter should never be just about sales and selling. You should be looking at providing readers with informative information that they will find of value. Of course every audience is different so think about what kind of information your audience will find relevant and interesting whether it’s industry statistics or the latest fashion trends.
Simple, consistent and easy-to-read format. Choose a simple, clean format for your newsletter. Content should be laid out so it is easy-to-read and visually appealing. Try and keep you colours consistent with your company branding.
Subject line: Do put some thought into your newsletter subject line. Remember you may have the best content in the world in your newsletter but if your subject line is irrelevant and uninviting no-one is going to see it as they won’t bother to open the email. Always include your company name so readers know it is from a trusted source (you don’t want to risk people thinking its spam or junk mail). The rest of the line should be interesting, compelling and reflect the content of your newsletter.
Use images and photos: People love pictures so using images and photos is a must. You are far more likely to get a reader to engage in your content if your text is supported with an image. Indeed, content featuring compelling images averages 94 percent more total views than those without.
Digestible bites. Long reams of text are extremely off-putting. Keep text to the point in short, scannable paragraphs that are easy for your readers to digest. Try breaking up the text with images, headers and sub headers.
Be personable: Don’t forget your newsletters are a good opportunity to build relationships with your customers so try to be personable in your tone. If you’re too dry and text-book people will simply get bored and switch off. A good tip is to write how you would talk in a conversation.
Frequency: Be consistent when you send out your newsletter. Decide when you are going to send it be it daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly and stick to that date.
Attention to detail: Sounds obvious but don’t send out anything you haven’t double checked for errors – it looks slapdash and unprofessional. Always proofread your newsletters before you despatch them to your entire database. I always send a test to myself before distributing to my email list. It is a good way to check for any formatting problems, missing links and so on.
Contact information and Unsubscribe button: Always include a clear contact information on all your newsletters. Don’t forget your newsletter can generate sales leads so make sure it is easy for readers and potential customers to make contact. make sure your Unsubscribe button is clear. Not only is it the law for someone to be able to opt out of your messages, it is a great way of ensuring your database remains clean and up-to-date.
Make sure you have permission: Again I’m sure you are all aware of this but data-protection laws mean you must have permission from the recipient to send out email communications to them. If you are unsure or need a refresher check out the Data Protection Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation Act.
10 content ideas for your newsletter
Email is great for communicating a wide variety of messages to an audience. Try to mix your content up a bit to maintain your readers interest in your newsletter. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Company news: If you’ve got something to shout about then your newsletter is just the channel to communicate your news. For example you have:
- launched a new product, feature or service
- improved your customer services
- won an award
- celebrating a business anniversary
- re-launched your website
- expanded your company or team
- achieved a great review
2. Blog posts. If you’ve posted a new blog post article on your website then put a synopsis, an engaging image and a link back to the original content in your newsletter.
3. Industry News. Earlier we mentioned the importance of added value content in your email newsletters. Imparting interesting industry news, seasonal trends, facts and figures in your newsletters is a great way to do this. It also helps reinforce you as a bit of an authority and expert in a particular area.
4. Videos. Visual content is becoming increasingly important so try creating videos such as tutorials, how-to-guides or showcasing products. Customers can then link to them via your email newsletter.
5. Research and infographics. If you have carried out some research or got your hands on some interesting statistics then your newsletter is a great place to share them. If you can present them in an infographic even better!
6. Special offers. Putting a special time-limited promotion or offer in your newsletter mix can be effective. Just make sure there is a plentiful mix of other non-sales orientated content to balance it out.
7. Competitions and giveaways. We all love to win something or to receive a freebie, so competitions and giveaways can be a great way to increase engage and increase interaction amongst your customers.
8. Thought of the week. Try adding a interesting fact, inspirational quote word of the day to each of your newsletters. It adds a bit of a light-hearted and personal touch to your communications.
9. Dates for the diary. If there are any interesting events coming up that might be of interest to your customers (special conferences, sales pre-previews, exhibition etc) then add in a diary date for your readers.
10. Employee of the month. Giving customers a bit of a behind the scene glimpse into your business can help build your brandpersonality. Things like employee of the month, meet the team or staff top picks can all help give a face to your ecommerce business.
Hopefully this blog post has outlined a few best-practice tips and given you a few content ideas that will get inspire you to revisit own newsletter offering. Best of luck!
We’d love to hear your own thoughts and experience on this topic so please do leave a comment.