Advertising by mail has been marketing strategy for decades. Long before the Internet brought email marketing into people’s lives, consumers made decisions about what to buy based on the ads and coupons that arrived with regularity in the daily mail.
Today the vast majority of mail marketing is done via email. Most businesses use an email program such as Contact Contact or MailChimp to manage their lists, schedule email blasts and track the number of people who open the mail and click on the links.
There are a number of suggested strategies that allow companies to maximize email advertising activities.
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Make sure that your newsletter fits your brand. You should create a brand look and feel and create email campaigns that match that branded look and feel. Customize your template with a logo and company colours. Keep all of your emails consistent with font, size and tone. When the emails are consistent with the rest of your company’s content, the email recipients will relate to the feeling of familiarity with each successive mail message.
Most emails today are read on mobile so your email should not only be mobile-enabled but the message should be written with mobile readers in mind. Don’t write long paragraphs. Instead, break up your content into short paragraphs. Insert plenty of subheadings to guide readers through the text so that they can scan it quickly and find the message easily.
Try adding a teaser to the top of your newsletter to give readers a taste of what’s in store. For a long message, insert a “read more” link that will bring readers to learn more when it’s convenient for them to do so. Use bullet points that make it easy for readers to scan the content. Keep your subject line short and to-the-point.
Make it easy for people to subscribe to your newsletter. Post a signup form on the homepage of your website, on your Facebook page, on your blog and wherever else potential customers might be hanging out. Collect just names and emails, invite subscribers to join groups or be creative and collect birth dates for birthday greetings.
Remember, having a long email list of irrelevant emails won’t do much for you and will drive up your costs with your email program. Make sure that your subscribers WANT to be on your list and that they have a potential interest in your product or service.
When new subscribers are added to your list, it’s a good idea to send a welcome email. Make your new “members” feel welcome. Perhaps you could send new subscribers a special offer as a way of thanking them for their loyalty.
Schedule your emails with a publishing calendar. You want to maintain a consistent relationship with your subscribers so that you are on their mind. At the same time, you don’t want to overwhelm them with emails.
Each email needs to be planned, written and designed before being sent to make sure that you add those tasks to your marketing budget.
There’s nothing as off-putting as receiving an email from a supposedly-professional company or organization and finding grammatical or spelling errors. You don’t need to hire a professional editor to proof-read your text – just check it over once or twice before you press the “send” button. You want your audience to view you as a pro – if the content is sloppy it reflects poorly on your business and gives your readers the impression that you don’t care enough about what they think to send them quality content.
Organize your email lists. Make sure that everyone is getting the emails that pertain to them. Take advantage of the services that your email server offers that allow you to separate your contacts into groups. Then, you can send the relevant content to each group of people.
You can also segment your email list so you can target certain subscribers for specific emails. For instance, if your store is having a sale, you could send a campaign emailer to those people who live near a particular zip code.
Make sure that your email can be shared. There’s nothing more satisfying than to gain a client from a referral. Make it easy for readers to share the email. Then they can forward the mail to friends or just send a link to the email to their contacts.
Use a shareable link (which the email program will create once you send your email) to share your email on social media. That helps you expand your reach and, hopefully, encourage more people to sign up for future emails.
Review your stats. Your email newsletter service should give you a report that contains helpful information about how many people are opening your newsletters, how many are clicking on the links, how many newsletters are bouncing, etc. These stats can be helpful in allowing you to improve your future campaigns.
Try to identify patterns in the stats. For instance, if a newsletter about free online games gets a significantly high rate of “opens” or “clicks,” it means that you are sending valuable content to people who are interested in such activities and you will want to emulate that message in the future.
Make sure that your email is mobile-enabled and mobile-friendly. The text should show up clearly on a mobile screen, the links should stand out for easy clicking and the images shouldn’t be too big so as not to overwhelm the screen. According to research the majority of mobile users would close or delete an email that is not mobile friendly.
Make your email personal. Send content that speaks to your potential customers. Use the word “you” and “your” a lot so that the reader feels as though you’re speaking directly to him/her.
It’s important to keep in touch with your subscribers by sending out regular emails but you should only send an email if you have something to say. Too often, companies send email newsletters that aren’t properly planned out and doesn’t seem to have anything to say.
Email facilitates your ability to publish content. The content itself must come first. Before you begin your newsletter, write yourself a table of contents and organize your thoughts. Then create the newsletter based on those points.
You don’t want your subscribers to feel as though you’re wasting their time. Consider:
- What’s my goal for this communication
- What information do we have to deliver?
- How will we measure success?
- Does this newsletter focus on the company’s message?
Keeping these points in mind will allow you to create successful email marketing campaigns for any commercial business or organization.