Newsletters are very powerful communication tools for your inbound marketing activities. They provide you with an important vehicle to share valuable content with your target audiences whether those are customers, leads and prospects, or constituents. The ultimate purpose of sharing content is of course to gradually position your brand as a figure of authority in its respective field of expertise. Over time, this positioning will attract new customers, promote repeat business, and foster referrals.
Since most brands are however using newsletters and recipients are often bombarded with those, it becomes critical to deploy this tool in a fashion that’s effective and impactful. Following are some tips and guidelines that will help you in designing, authoring, and distributing newsletters that grow your inbound traffic, increases readership and engagement, and ultimately sales.
Share valuable Content consistently
The real challenge in running a successful newsletter is content that is of value. The more frequently you send out your newsletter, the more content you need to generate. Relying entirely or even primarily on content that’s been published by others is not the ideal solution. What you will need to do is form a team that consists of subject matter experts and who are tasked to write fresh articles every given period. This way, the load is not placed entirely on one person and you will also have more variety in content and writing style. (This is not only a great approach to generate content for newsletters, but also for social media channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn discussion groups.)
The dispatching schedule of your newsletter has to be consistent. Some people get all worked up when they start their newsletter and dispatch one each day at the beginning. As the topics begin to run out and people are busy, the frequency drops and eventually becomes irregular. This is a big mistake. Recipient will get used to receiving your newsletter at certain time intervals, and gaps may trigger opt-outs. Ideally, you should dispatch your newsletters not only at the same time intervals, but also at the same time of the day you do so.
Building the Mailing List
This is another difficult task you need to work on consistently. It doesn’t matter how great your newsletter is in terms of design and content if you don’t have a reasonable number of recipients who read and share it. There are several tactics you can chose from to increase your readership. For one, you should promote your sign-up page at every opportunity possible, such as your email signature. Your Facebook and LinkedIn pages can also help you a great deal. And if you are just getting started, a few days of Facebook (paid) ads are advisable.
Retention of Readers
People get bombarded with solicited and unsolicited newsletters each day. To make sure they don’t forget who you are and don’t opt out, remind them each time you send out a newsletter about how they got to be on that list. A typical statement found is “you are receiving this newsletter because you opted in at http://www.yourdomain.com”. Once people read this, they will most likely chose to stay on board as they realize they were added to the list by choice.
Chose the right Tool
Sending out newsletters via email clients is not a good idea, even if you email-merge them. You don’t have access to any tracking tools, and adding more than 50 recipients to one message may be against the law. By using one of the readily available emailing systems, you get a host of tools that are critical. The one we use for example does not only tell us how many time each email was opened or which links were clicked, but it also cleans our list from invalid email addresses and rates recipients. This is important if for example you decide to produce a special edition for those who read your newsletter more frequently than others. They also provide recipients with the option to opt-out (which is an absolute must) and let people manage their profiles as needed.
Now that you published those great articles, why not avail them to a larger audience that extends beyond your mailing list? Most blogs and emailing systems come with free tools that propagate your content seamlessly to your various social media channels. This will not only increase your outreach but also generate quite a few new subscriptions.
You may want to import your existing business contacts into your new emailing system to get a head-start. This is not really compliant with the standard double opt-in procedure, but hey, you’ve got to get started with something, right? Nonetheless though, people will sooner or later start opting out, hopefully at a lesser rate that others are signing up. When they do so, you definitely must respect their wish and never send them another newsletter unless they opt in again. This is where these professional emailing systems come in very handy as well; even if you happen to import the email address of someone who previously opted out into a new mailing list, the system will know and keep that email address blocked.
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
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