October 25, 2010

There are some great reasons to use email marketing. An email newsletter will:

  • Enable you to communicate regularly on an ongoing basis with existing clients, prospective clients, industry associates, centres of influence, etc.

Our system allows you to have multiple databases and easily merge ‘sending lists’, enabling you to tailor the content of each newsletter specifically

  • Enable you to upsell your existing clients/customers

–        they have given you permission to sell to them… forever eg. additional services, support or maintenance plans

  • Encourage word of mouth – ‘share this with a colleague or friend’
  • Enable you to offer time limited offers to specific groups (sending lists). This can help to even out workflow through quieter times in the year, eg. early bird special, spring starter pack, 10% off this month only.
  • Provide you with trackable results. Unlike newspaper, radio and print newsletters, an email newsletter system will provide you with instantaneous trackable results.
  • eg. how many people are reading the newsletter, exactly who is reading the newsletter, what articles or offers each person is clicking on.
  • An email newsletter offers tremendous ‘bang for your buck’ when communicating directly with your clients. You save on time, printing and mailing costs.
  • Our system quickly identifies emails that have bounced so you can correct them and resend them immediately and it will store any ‘unsubscribes’ so that you do not send to these people the next time.

Matt’s top tips for email marketing:

  • Before they sign up, tell users what they will get (what will be in the newsletter – show them a preview if possible)
  • Reward them for signing up – there must be an incentive (gift voucher, free consultation, e-book of tips)
  • Keep sign-up forms short and simple (no-one likes filling in forms)
  • WARNING: If you give into temptation and buy an email list, don’t assume that the people on it have consented to receiving email newsletters from you (see The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007)
  • Write an attractive subject line – keep it simple and factual – users are sceptical of sales-y subject lines
  • Don’t use spammy words in the subject line like ‘free’ or ‘viagra’ etc.
  • Provide useful and well-written content that is relevant to your readers
  • Use segmentation as much as possible to make content even more relevant to certain groups of your audience.
  • If possible, use a managed newsletter delivery service to maximise deliverability, manage bounces and unsubscribes
  • Offer exclusive deals just for your newsletter subscribers (reward them)
  • Design the newsletter to suit its purpose, e.g. product launch, catalogue, traditional newsletter
  • Make good use of images, colours, and numbers to draw the reader’s attention to important bits
  • Choose a layout that suits the content – one or two column? large or small photos?
  • Use a strong call to action that leaves the reader in no doubt. E.g. ‘Buy Now’ , ‘Book Now’.
  • Use these tools and features – unsubscribe link, view in web browser, change email address, forward to a friend, share on Facebook and Twitter
  • Send emails on a consistent timetable (e.g. the first week of every month, every second Wednesday)
  • Find a happy medium of sending frequency (weekly, monthly, or more?) and make sure this fits in with your online/digital marketing strategy
  • Establish a content strategy and editorial calendar so you have lots of ideas for articles up your sleeve
  • Hot tip: the best time for sending is Tuesday or Wednesday 2-3pm (Monday too busy, Thursday and Friday one foot out the door)
  • Use the current date in the email to establish a sense of relevance and timeliness
  • Check your links. Check them again. Get someone else to check your links. And then check them again.
  • Check your discount codes. Check your discount codes. Check your discount codes.
  • ALWAYS check your links and discount codes.

Big mistakes to avoid:

Anti-spam legislation – The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007

Follow the steps below to ensure you are not sending spam:

Step 1: Make sure you have the consent of the recipients of the commercial electronic message

3 kinds of consent:

1. express consent – the recipient has filled in a form, ticked a box, etc.

2. inferred consent – you have a relationship with the person such that you can safely assume that they expect to get email messages from you (e.g. friends, family, business associates, suppliers, etc.)

3. deemed consent – the recipient has published their email conspicuously and has not specifically said they don’t want to receive unsolicited commercial email.

Note: Deemed consent doesn’t mean you can send the receipient any offers you want. It must be related to their business.

E.g. if a tyre company publishes its email address on its website, you can send them information related to automotive business, but not life insurance, real estate, or weight-loss, for example.

Step 2: In the email message, you must clearly identify the business responsible for sending the commercial electronic message and how they can be contacted.

Step 3: In the email message, you must include a functional unsubscribe facility in all commercial electronic messages.

What else?

1. Human resources. What staff members can help with email marketing?

2. How will we know if we are successful? Goals, outcomes, and measurement (newsletter signups, open rates, clickthroughs)

3. Next steps – plan your strategy!