The majority of our clients feature some kind of free email newsletter offering to their visitors. What’s fascinating is that many of those clients still don’t have tracking in place to confirm the value of these newsletters. Tracking is critical for all of your marketing efforts, including newsletters… how can you feel so confident that your newsletter is critical to the success of your business if you’re not tracking its success and opportunity?
Throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall and guessing what will stick is no way to run a business. You need to track, so that you can make data driven decisions. This is the only way you will know where you should be focusing your time, money and efforts. Once you are successfully tracking your newsletters/emails, and you have a sense of how they are performing with respect to generating more traffic and sales/leads, then you can determine if your strategy…
1. Use an email newsletter service that integrates with your analytics, and gives you tracking capabilities. In order to know how to change and improve your newsletter strategy, you need the data to drive the insights. Another great feature to look for is the ability to easily setup an auto-responder or sequence.
2. Your newsletter must present content that appeals to your readers and will make them come back for more, so learn as much as you can about what motivates them. Ask yourself these three questions; 1) Who is reading your newsletters? 2) What action do you want them to take? (ie; do you want them to buy products/services?) 3) What will drive them to take that action?
The only way you can drive your readers to take the action you want them to take is to give them the information they are searching for. The last thing you want to do is offer sales copy. That’s a sure way to lose readers. You want to offer valuable information that the reader is interested in. Better understand what motivations are driving them to read. What are they trying to learn? Do this exercise to create personas to help answer those questions. Then start creating organized campaigns and themes that help those specific visitors get what they want, and help them look forward to getting more. Which leads into #3…
3. In order to create readership and interest, you need to give the reader something to look forward to. Create a system or strategy that connects your emails from week to week. In other words, each email should NOT have it’s own individual identity. Connect topics or themes, and help the visitor create an interest in what is coming next.
4. When someone signs up and confirms their subscription by clicking a link in a confirmation email they are sent (double opt-in is required by the law), send out a welcome email. It’s all about making the reader feel good about subscribing. Become the reader’s friend with an approachable tone. Give them a quick and casual intro to the site, introduce yourself and show them around. Help them dig into some existing archives of main topics they may be interested in. Give the reader an opportunity to interact right away. Don’t wait until the next newsletter comes out to start creating the long term relationship with the reader, start as soon as they sign up!
5. Don’t let the visitor forget about the past. Integrate topics and useful content that you previously wrote about that may interest the reader. This helps you to resurrect old content that has been lost in archives of information and is no longer getting a lot of traffic. Don’t let this content die… bring it back if it is helpful to your readers. You can bring it back by completely rewriting a campaign of emails based on an archived theme or topic, or you can simply integrate effective links where applicable. Getting the reader to click and interact with your site should be one of your goals in this process. By offering links to archived articles, quizzes, and free resources, you’re creating this interactive experience.
6. Make the newsletter viral. Give the readers easy opportunities to share with friends and/or family.
7. Last but not least, at the very end of the article you should provide a brief but concise description of who you are, what you offer that is unique and different, as well as the link back to your website and contact information. You always want to keep your door wide open and let the visitor walk in…. without having to push her through the doorway!
Do you have other strategies that have worked to make your newsletter efforts pay off? Go on… toot your own horn then!