The boss calls you into her office one morning. She’s concerned about the fragmented and random way that the business is communicating with customers. With all best intents, the sales guys are doing their own thing, operations are sending a few emails en-masse to fix common issues, and senior management are giving heads-ups to big clients about some exciting developments (before the rest of the team are even aware of them). What the hey?
“Surely there must be a better way” she cries, “How can we efficiently talk to all of our customers in the same voice, under the same brand, at the same time?” You being the resident marketing guru know the answer straight up: a snappy e-newsletter.
But stop right there! Before you go diving head-first into banging out one of these bad boys and nervously clicking ‘send’, you’ll need a plan. A quality e-newsletter, or mass e-mail marketing effort of any sort, requires a strategy.
So to get you started on the right track, here are our six keys tips for developing a killer e-newsletter strategy.
1. Establish your goals
Determine exactly what you’re trying to achieve with an e-newsletter, how it fits into your overall marketing communications strategy, and how results, or ROI, will be measured.
Are you wanting to keep customers informed with up-to-date information on products and services, generate leads, cross sell or a combination? Ask yourself if an e-newsletter is even the right answer. Would your audience be more receptive to a blog or interactive social media platform like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Will you go for ‘one size fits all’ e-newsletter or is more than one version required to talk to different customer segments? How often will the e-newsletter be distributed? And the list goes on.
As a rule of thumb, start by asking yourself the why, what, how, who and when questions.
2. Know who you’re talking to
…and how they like to be communicated with. Understanding who your audience is and what needs can be met with what information is essential. Again, this may vary across customer segments, so consideration needs to be given to producing multiple targeted e-newsletters or finding common customer needs that can justify a single version. Other considerations include:
- How time poor/rich is your audience? Do they want detailed content (typically more so in the business to business sector) or a quick skim read?
- Will they respond better to conservative language or should it be a bit more light-hearted? Your brand particulars will guide you on this.
- What do they already know? What pieces of information can you leave out to keep it engaging and interesting?
3. Work on your contact list…continuously
Spend the time up front developing the most concise, relevant and up-to-date contact list humanly possible. Quality is more important than quantity. Your company is likely to have this, possibly in a number of iterations. If not, a great starting point is your CRM system.
It’s said that the average email marketing database degrades by 22.5% every year, so it’s vital to ensure lists are continually monitored an updated where necessary. People leave jobs, move around companies, and new people come on board. Let’s face it, you never know where your next quality lead may come from.
Make sure that it’s easy to subscribe to your list and encourage recipients to share and forward, if applicable to your business and market. Also be aware of spam legislation so you don’t get yourself in a pickle.
4. Content. Content. Content.
You may have heard it before, but content really is king (or queen). Without quality content, and a robust content strategy, your audience won’t even open the email (due to a rubbish subject line) let alone read past the first paragraph.
Among many things, content needs to be relevant, engaging, digestible, and informative. It also needs to follow a consistent format so that your audience knows what to expect each time. People are busy and need to know what they’re in for when they receive your e-newsletter to give it any chance of being read.
Personalise as much as possible. Use benefit ladened headings and descriptive sub-headings. Keep sentences short. Break into manageable paragraphs. Incorporate bullet points. Use images. In most cases – less is more!
In a nutshell, put yourself in the customers’ shoes and develop the kind of content YOU want to read.
5. Distribution considerations
Now you need to decide how you’re going to get your top-notch e-newsletter out to your eagerly awaiting audience. If you’re thinking of sending it from your personal email address, STOP!! This is an incredibly unprofessional and amateur method that should be avoided at all costs.
Spend the time researching e-mail marketing services that make the job easier, more efficient, tonnes more professional, and measurable. The likes of MailChimp and Concep help you put together e-marketing campaigns, including newsletters, while providing templates, list management tools, and reporting functionality.
6. Measure and track impact and traffic
Rightly so, your boss will want to know the metrics of your e-newsletter campaign. These metrics include:
- who’s reading the e-newsletter?
- how long are they spending on the page?
- who are they forwarding the email onto?
- what links are they clicking on?
- what websites are they going to?
All of these questions can easily be answered through the reporting tools within your e-mail marketing service and even Google Analytics. It’s really up to you how deep you want to go, and against what measures you’re assessing the effectiveness of your e-newsletter efforts.
If you’re struggling to find a starting point in kicking off an e-newsletter for your business, or would just like to run a few things passed us to get started, please get in touch with us. We have an enormous amount of experience in developing e-marketing strategies over a range of industries and topics and would love to help out wherever we can.