Pointers for Powerful Email Newsletters
by Katelynn Knutson
In this age of hyperinteractive media and communication, it is essential to maintain routine contact with readers, clients, and customers. There is nothing like personal contact, but let’s face it, communicating via email is often a preferable way to correspond. Email allows us to be clear and concise, saving us lots of time. It also lets us edit what we say before sending it and customize a message so that it is attractive and attention grabbing. An e-newsletter is just what the doctor ordered.
If you already have an e-newsletter, it’s great to know that subscribers actually want to read what you send out. They have chosen to receive your daily, weekly, or monthly updates. So treat them well and offer them something of value.
Here are some basic things to keep in mind when sending an e-newsletter.
Define your purpose. This should be the first thing you establish. Determine the purpose of each issue of your newsletter and then make sure it is clear throughout. The whole point of email marketing is to get an idea across to as many people as possible. Take advantage of this and truly spend time developing the specific idea you want to convey. Then include the most important information at the top of the email. That way, it will appear in the preview pane and catch the attention of the reader.
Give it some personality. Is your newsletter straightforward business or easygoing casual? Determine its personality type. Then make sure to keep it consistent. If you have a related Web site, as most email marketers do, stay with the look and the brand featured on the site so that the newsletter and Web site match up. This is a great way to build brand recognition.
Also include something personal in your newsletter, perhaps some quick background information on yourself or the company angled toward the reader.
Let them know it’s you. Always include your name or brand in the From: and Subject: lines. These are the first things recipients see, and they need to recognize instantly that the email came from a reputable source. Use very specific and consistent language so they know not to delete your message or move it to their spam folder.
Do some quality control. Always proofread your text, verify the message of the email, check all links to make sure they work, offer a plain-text version and an HTML version so that everyone can read it, and send to the correct mailing list. These are some basic quality-control methods to make sure your newsletter is up to standard.
And always have another pair of eyes look over the newsletter before you hit Send to catch anything you might have missed.
Keep it fresh. People are flooded with emails every day, so it’s important to keep your newsletter interesting. Include links to your related Web sites and blogs, add multimedia content, and allow readers to give feedback and share your newsletter with others.
Your newsletter must not be just a sales pitch for your book. You want to offer useful and interesting content for the subscribers so they know they have something worth viewing every time they receive your emails.
Always be on time. It’s a good idea to set a delivery time that works best for your readers. Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday after 9:00 a.m. PST are popular choices, but you may be able to figure out the day and time of day most appropriate for your particular subscribers. You want your readers to get to their computers, clean out spam, and start the day before you hit them with an important message.
Once you have established a delivery schedule, stick to it! Your readers should know when to expect your newsletter in their inboxes.
Follow the rules. It is essential that you comply with CAN-SPAM laws [fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/canspam.html]. Send your newsletter only to people who have opted in, and be sure to include an option for them to opt out of receiving future emails.
Pick a good partner. Okay, so now you’re ready to send your newsletter, but how are you going to manage your ever-growing contact list? There are countless email marketing services that can help. Research several companies before committing to one to ensure it fits your newsletter needs.
Katelynn Knutson is a marketing associate at Greenleaf Book Group. Visit greenleafbookgroup.com for more information.