Does your email newsletter generate results for your organization? Or is it a tired, dead-end effort you continue to send simply because it’s what you’ve always done? Email newsletters can be powerful tools, delivering lead generation, customer engagement and more, but only if you’re putting the right ingredients into it. Focusing on a few simple areas will help you get the maximum return from your newsletter, helping you achieve the results you want.
Clarify Your Goals
All too often, organizations try to accomplish a whole host of marketing goals with their newsletters. That’s a problem because the best newsletters are tightly focused on one thing only: adding value to readers. To see if you’re guilty of trying to accomplish too much with your newsletter, answer these questions:
- Who reads this newsletter? Good answers include specifics like “women aged 40-65, who are interested in home gardening,” or “CIOs of manufacturing companies with annual sales of $5 to $20 million in revenue.”
- What problems do these readers have? Again, the answer should be specific: “Our target audience wants their yards to be a relaxing oasis for entertaining,” or, “Our readers need to keep their software systems running smoothly without any hassles.”
- How does this newsletter solve these problems? “This newsletter educates women on the many strategies for looking young,” or “This newsletter informs CIOs of the latest CRM developments.”
As “The Newsletter Guru” Jim Palmer says, “Cure your customers’ pains, and you’ll be on your way to having customers that stick and having a profitable business.”
People won’t bother to read a thinly veiled ad disguised as a newsletter. Ginny Soskey from HubSpot recommends your promotional content take up no more than 10 percent of your newsletter. Instead, focus on providing readers with a preview of the value they will gain if they choose to do business with your organization. In short, “You have to care about the subscriber,” says Joel Book from ExactTarget.
If you do include a short ad, keep the focus on your reader. Talk about benefits to the reader, rather than the features of what you’re selling.
Write Great Content
Newsletters are all about content. Reggie Brady recently wrote in Target Marketing that your newsletter should provide information your readers simply can’t wait to get their hands on. So how do you create this compelling content?
- Case studies that showcase a problem a client experienced and how you helped develop the solution. Case studies are often well received because people are naturally curious to see what their peers are doing.
- Helpful tips and how-to’s that educate and entertain. For example, a food products company might offer original recipes, or a heating company might write about “Top 10 Tips for Reducing Your Energy Bill this Winter.”
- Frequently asked questions your sales team is seeing in the trenches.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. What information could really knock the socks off your readers?
Include a Strong Call to Action
No matter what type of content you create, always let your reader know what to do next. A newsletter that lacks a call to action is simply a dead end.
Your call to action might be a link to additional articles: “If you found this helpful, you might also like this article on our website…” Or it might be a link to a specific landing page on your website: “Ready to learn more? Click here to register for our upcoming seminar!” Or it might simply be a phone number: For more information, call our sales staff at …”
Your call to action helps guide the reader through the sales process. It’s a critical component of your newsletter, so don’t forget it!
Create a Community
A good rule of thumb is to make your newsletter a two-way street. “The really smart and savvy companies – and I would say even the most respectable and responsible marketers – are the ones that really give control to the consumers,” Book says. In other words, give readers the opportunity to engage with you.
For example, you can:
- Survey your readers about hot topics and share the results with everyone.
- Let readers “Ask the Expert” about whatever is on their minds.
- Ask for feedback on every issue, and then print the comments to resemble a newspaper’s editorial page.
If you can forge a sense of community within your readership, you’ll keep each newsletter fresh and reflective of what your readers want to see.
Ultimately, producing a high-quality email newsletter takes time and effort. But if you can inject your newsletter with a little freshness and energy, you’ll soon see measurably positive end results!
See these tips in action! Subscribe to the TowerData newsletter today!
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