8 Newsletter Best Practices To Ensure Success
The one thing you don’t want your e-mail newsletter doing is turning off prospects and customers. You don’t want something you’re going to be putting a lot of effort and time into driving money away from you—you want it attracting money! That means paying attention to some “best practices.”
Subject Lines: You get about 10 seconds. In that 10 seconds, the reader is going to decide whether he wants to spend time with your newsletter or not. Which subject line are you more likely to read? Your weekly e-mail from Bob Salesrep, or Increase Marketing ROI by 22%? If you are speaking the customer’s language you’ll craft subject lines that “latch on” to their concerns, quickly and efficiently. You’ll be aware of problems and solutions that will compel the reader to keep reading.
Opening Lines: Now you get 20 more seconds. In that 20 seconds you have to “hook” your reader to get them to continue reading. So don’t start with a sales pitch. Start with a compelling situation. Paint a picture that your customers can relate to—but do it quickly. Your customers don’t have time to read a novel.
Keep it Simple: Don’t get caught up in complicated HTML templates. Stick to simple text, because many of your customers are reading their e-mail on smart phones. If you create an e-mail that cannot be read easily in this format you will create an e-mail that is more likely to remain unread.
Keep it Short: Time is at a premium, especially for business contacts. Respect your customer’s time. Get straight to the point. Get there quickly. Wrap up when you’re done. If the customer really and truly needs more information then offer a link to a related [blog post]. While nobody expects you to finish up in four sentences they don’t want to scroll down multiple times for you to get to the point, either.
Pay Attention to Permission: So Joe Contact handed you his business card at a trade show and his e-mail was on it. Guess what? You can’t add him to your e-mail list. Not directly. You can send a focused personal e-mail, and that e-mail can contain an invitation to join your list. Don’t upset your prospects by making them feel as though you are subjecting them to an unwanted mass e-mail however. Some people have so many lists clogging up their e-mail inbox these days that they really and truly do not have time or patience for another, even if yours is totally different, wonderfully valuable and revolutionary.
Track Results: Track your “open rates,” and your “click thru” rates. One tells you whether the message got opened at all. This won’t be 100% accurate as it won’t count people who simply read the message in a preview window, but it will be close enough. Click thru tells you how many people responded to links in your e-mails. If either one drops for any reason, take a look at the e-mail that generated this response and don’t ever do “that” again, whatever “that” was. If you get a sudden surge take a look at the e-mail that generated the favorable response. Now do more of “that.” Whatever “that” was.
Establish a Focus and Stick With It: If you begin by announcing new products and specials then that’s what your newsletter is about. Don’t start offering advice. If you began by answering customer questions while soliciting more, don’t start announcing new products and specials. Your customers will grow expectations of your list. Every time you violate those expectations, you risk losing your subscriber.
Never Use Outlook: Do NOT use Outlook to manage your e-mail list. Not only might everybody’s names appear in the “To” line (a huge no-no), but you will also find you overwhelm the bandwidth quickly. Instead, use Benchmark E-mail, Aweber, or any of the other e-mail auto-responder list services out there. These services are extremely affordable (some starting as low as $9.99 a month, in fact). They keep you legal, and they keep you professional.