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So many businesses spend money and time trying to get new customers… and then don’t stay in touch with them! Whether that’s a restaurant, financial adviser, whatever. It applies to most categories. And if we’re not front-of-mind, the danger is these lovely new customers might get persuaded to go to a competitor next time they need our product or service.

One way of reminding people that you’re great at what you do and are wonderful people to deal with in general is by sending e-newsletters. No, not pages and pages of guff that will have people falling asleep left, right and centre, but short and sweet emails that are informative rather than sales-y. An inoffensive nudge, if you will.

E-newsletters can be aimed at potential customers as well as existing customers of course. Now don’t get me wrong – some companies are really bad at e-newsletters. Whether that’s because they use them purely as a hard sales too, or they spam people or just poorly written. So if you’re thinking of starting an e-newsletter or want to improve your current one, here are Key 3 Media’s top tips:

Use a compliant mass email provider

Key 3 Media mainly use MailChimp and Constant Contact. They cover all the legal Ts & Cs, so recipients can unsubscribe. If you receive a mass email and it hasn’t got an ‘unsubscribe’ option, the sender is breaking the law. It’s another reason not to use Outlook to send bulk emails. Even if you put all the recipients’ email addresses in the BCC field, i.e. keeping their details private, you’re still not giving them the option to unsubscribe. Writing “Please reply saying “unsubscribe” if you do not wish to receive any more communications from us” does not cut it.

Make them personal

Another good reason to use a mass email provider is you get the option to have each email begin with a personal introduction. “Hi, Bob” etc. This is going to resonate with the reader much more than a generic “Good morning”. If there is one word that is going to leap out in a piece of copy it is the reader’s name. So you can also insert their name at various points throughout the email. This will help maintain their interest as they read.

Your logo

If you want to have your logo in your e-newsletter, put it at the bottom, not the top. Your email is about the reader, not you. They’ll know it’s from you when your email arrives in their inbox. When they open it, you don’t want to be taking up half of their mobile screen with your logo.

One story or summaries

Either focus on one story or have no more than three story summaries with a click thru. Featuring a number of stories in their entirety is a one-way ticket to Snoozeville.

The story summary angle can work well. Each one has a headline and one-paragraph summary and a ‘click here to read more’ at the end. If people want to read that particular story, they will click through. If not, they won’t and they’ll simply move on to the next bit. You host the full articles on your website and drive lots of traffic there.

Social media sharing

Unless your content is exclusively for customers, which it might be, give people the option to share your news on social media with their friends and associates. It is easy for your readers to do and that’s what you want – anything requiring even the littlest effort can be enough to stop people doing what you’d like them to do.

Sign up form

MailChimp and the like will give you a unique URL to send people to if they want to join your mailing list. Or a plugin to embed on your website. If someone comes to your website, you are at least letting them know you produce e-newsletters and they can also receive them, if they wish.

One of your goals is to increase the number of subscribers, so do share the sign-up link on your own social media channels regularly. You might also want to have the link in your email auto signature, as long as your auto signature is already like War and Peace. (Long auto signatures have gone the way of the dinosaur, as again we have to think primarily about people’s mobile viewing experience.)

Frequency

Ah, the eternal debate. “How often should I send an e-newsletter?” Weekly, fortnightly or monthly will probably suit you best. Anything more frequent and you will run the risk of people seeing it as spam. Some marketing gurus will say that as long as your content is interesting, you can put it in front of people as many times as you like. In the case of an e-newsletter, if you have a team that can indeed research cool content every day, then by all means send your e-newsletter every day.

The fact is, even a monthly e-newsletter will get unsubscribes. Maybe you’ve caught someone on a bad day. They’ve just had an argument with their partner and up pops your e-newsletter. Do not get annoyed or worried whenever someone unsubscribes. If a person unsubscribes, they were unlikely to buy off you anyway. The only time to worry is when you are getting lots of unsubscribes. That’s when you have to look at your frequency and content and take stock.

Headline

This is the most important thing to consider. There’s no point having the strongest e-newsletter content in the world if no one opens it. If your e-newsletter’s subject line every time is “Our Latest News”, your open rates will drop and they won’t be that high to start with. The average open rate for an SME e-newsletter in the UK is 24.79% (smartinsights.com). So if you’re doing better than that, you’re OK.

The most successful open rate a Key 3 Media e-newsletter had was 71.3%. It had the subject line “I blame Kevin Costner”, which I nicked, er sorry – borrowed – off one of my business mentors. The email was about people who open a business and magically expect people to walk in (a la the Kevin Costner film, Field of Dreams). I have no doubt it was the subject line that drove the super high open rate.

So think a bit leftfield. What would make people think, “Hmm, that’s intriguing (or funny)… I’ll open that”? You could be totally whacky of course but that is down to you and your company personality. Some “gurus” may even suggest trying a controversial subject line such as “Only idiots will ignore this email” but that’s not a style I’d recommend. It depends how polarising you want to be.

 

As ever, if you have any questions about marketing and would like some expert insight, do bear Key 3 Media in mind. You can enquire online below. I hope you found this article of interest.

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