Newsletters are among the most effective marketing tools you can trigger your client’s interest. It is very underestimated by ones and overrated by others; this tool has to be used very carefully in order to support the marketing and sales activities of your company. In this article we will share the best practices in creating our monthly newsletter.
- Planning, planning, planning – create your newsletter as if you are doing a marketing campaign – pre-plan it earlier, describe the goals you have precisely, the targeted audience, the time you will spread it, the content it will contain, etc. Find the best place for your newsletter in your marketing mix and spend the needed time – it’s not only about planning, but also for analyzing it. Choose who will be responsible for it and write down clear rules when and how the creation will take place, management and analyzing the newsletter. Although it may sound easy and intuitive, this is the place where most of the companies make serious mistake – the newsletter may seem easy to build up and manage, that’s why it doesn’t get enough attention… and so it is not used regularly.
- Find suitable software for mail management – don’t underestimate this task. Many users instinctively go with the first solution they find or the cheapest (own mail), or the most popular (for example MailChimp). Our advice is to think very carefully the pros and cons of each one. For instance we work with the not so popular MyMail, but it is fully integrated with the WordPress system of our website and gives us the ability to manage the content the way we want to.
- Integrate a system for client relationship management (CRM) – or at least create a system for managing contacts. In many companies this is a major problem – there is no system which unites at one place the company’s contacts. This obstacle prevents the marketing department to do their job well and to provide adequate content management.
- We have developed a system where we upload all of our contacts – from clients to partners and just people who want to follow us. This allows us to have quick analysis on everyone’s activities; also to send direct messages to the audiences we follow. At the end well-structured Excel file can do a great job as well.
- Our advice is not to buy unapproved mail data base, especially if you have segmented B2B business. Most of the data in it are not checked and you have to rely on large number of receivers, and not their quality.
- Make sure you have reliable hosting provider – the problem with the spams is quite painful, so be sure your letters are being sent at the time you want and by the provider you pointed. Think also if you send lots of mails, is there a chance to compromise your website (especially if you are using your hosting). Some hosting service providers, like ICN, offer newsletter management solutions, but if you have large data base, then think of more radical solutions.
- Create quality text content – this is probably one of the most important moments. Plan very carefully the separate elements – titles (they influence the so-called response rate), keywords (they are important for the SEO), bidding (will help you grab attention), links (again the influence the SEO) and so on. Don’t forget to write down the call-to-action messages – phone numbers, mail and other ways through which people can contact you or react to your newsletter, according to the way you want them to. Be careful not to over use the call-to-actions, because it could have the opposite effect.
- Create proper visualization – our marketing and design departments are paying serious attention to the visual content you see on our newsletter. Our practice has shown that people are being impressed by the images and the size of the titles and then they read the description. There are some cases where it is better to have no images on your newsletter, but to be formed as regular mail. At some businesses this is a way to attract attention.
- Plan carefully the frequency, the days and the time for sending – many of the spam mailings send their messages during the night, because the servers are not so busy. We don’t salute this practice and advice you to send your mails when your audience is not active and the chance pay attention to your newsletter is lower. For instance we send our monthly newsletter on Tuesday or Thursday, between 13 pm and 15 pm.
- Test – what we know for sure it is important to test. This is the way you can find out what your audience likes to read and how to increase the percent of interested people. You can gather information upon what they like from your website data or the social media. Another way is to send two different types of newsletter with different content, format and so on to various group audiences and see how they will react.
- Analyze how the receivers react – we follow very carefully different indicators which provide us with information whether the newsletter we send is being accepted well by the receivers. We collect data from several places – from the mail system, from Google Analytics, from personal conversations with clients and partners, from the number of online registrations on our website. This gives us good enough feedback to know how to optimize the content. The precise selection of receivers and content allows us to reach 25% read letters and only 0.05% unsubscribes.
- Analyze whether you have sells from the newsletter – yes, the newsletter is a sales tool. Not in every business you can tell if the monthly newsletter provides direct sales (to new or existing clients), but it is good for the marketing department to keep this in mind and try to analyze the effectiveness.
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