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Six Tips for Making Enewsletters Work For You

Enewsletters can still be a powerful marketing tool and more cost effective than the print kind.

By
Aliza Sherman,
March 13, 2009
Episode #044

 

Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.

Do you have an enewsletter? Electronic newsletter, that is. Enewsletters can save any company or organization a great deal of money, especially when you think about the exorbitant printing and mailing costs of print newsletters. But how effective are enewsletters these days, really?

With the growing popularity of RSS feeds for your blog or Web site, are enewsletters still useful as a marketing and communications tool? Some people say that enewsletters are passe. I'd say that, in many cases, enewsletters are still an affordable and effective way to build relationships with your audience.

Before You Start

Before you get started with your enewsletter -- or even if you've been sending out enewsletters for a while -- ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my business goals?
  • Who is my audience?
  • How can I best serve my audience, customers or potential customers through an enewsletter?
  • How often will I or can I send one out?
  • How will I measure the success of my enewsletter?

Like anything you spend time doing for your work, an enewsletter must be created from a strategy and with a plan that looks at your overall goals and focuses on achieving those goals in the most appropriate way possible for your audience.

Elements of an Enewsletter

What makes an enewsletter effective? Here are some of my thoughts on what keeps an enewsletter working for you:

1. Make it Easy to Subscribe

The most important tip for making your enewsletter effective is to make sure the subscription form is accessible so your site or blog visitors can actually find it. The subscription mechanism should be as quick and easy as typing in an e-mail address and hitting submit. While it may be tempting to ask for more detailed information about your subscribers, you need to consider that the more barriers you put up to subscribing, the fewer subscribers you'll likely get. That said, if you are truly offering value in your enewsletter, most people are willing to fill out a few extra questions.

2. Clear Subject

Keep your subject clear and consistent for your enewsletter. This doesn't mean that you have to use the same e-mail subject every time, although repetition and familiarity never hurts. When someone recognizes what they're getting in e-mail, they're more likely to open it -- that is, if they wanted to receive it in the first place.

3. Catchy Headlines

There is a fine line between catchy and confusing. You can be clever with a headline but still convey what is in an article. Again, clarity is key for any content you produce, and an enewsletter is no different.

4. Short Articles

If you are going to include articles in the body of your enewsletter, keep them very short. Bulleted lists will help break up the blocks of text and make the content easier to read. Too much text in any e-mail can be difficult to digest.

5. Longer Articles on the Web

If you want to include longer articles, make sure you link to the bulk of the content on the Web and just include a teaser paragraph in the enewsletter followed by a link that says something as straightforward as "Read More."

6. Tips and Links

You can fill your enewsletter with extra value by including tips, lists of links to relevant resources on the Web, and bite-sized pieces of information. The more useful you can make your enewsletter, the more likely your recipients will read what you send to them.

The more someone enjoys your enewsletter, the more likely they'll pass it along to others, something you hope all of your readers will do ... and often!

Enewsletter Solutions and Last Tips

Some enewsletter solutions include Constant Contact, iContact, MailChimp, MyEmma, and Magnet Mail. There are so many options out there. The best way to pick the one that works for you is to find the ones offering free trials and test them out. How easy are they to use? How flexible are their templates? How do they look to the recipient? Don't just send copies to yourself but test them out on other people with different computer operating systems and varying Internet connection speeds. Does everyone like what they see, and more importantly, can they see it in the first place?

Make sure to pick a solution that dynamically switches from HTML newsletters, which embed the images, to text-only ones, all based on each recipient's e-mail capabilities. You may also want to find a solution that allows people to select their preference between HTML and text-only versions.

Don't forget to proofread your enewsletter and have at least a second set of eyes look it over. Test every link because nothing is more frustrating than receiving an enewsletter with broken images or links.

Bottom Line: You don't only want your enewsletter subscribers to read what you write. You want them to take actions and engage. An enewsletter should be a gateway, a motivator, and a driver to actions, not a passive read.

Contact Me

That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show plus a few extras. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, e-mail me at digitalmarketer@quickanddirtytips.com .

The Digital Marketer's Quick and Dirty Tips for Building Your Business With Web Tools is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at quickanddirtytips.com.

Tune in for another business boost from The Digital Marketer, the host who's not afraid to go under the Internet's hood & get a little dirty!

Resources

Constant Contact - http://www.constantcontact.com/

iContact - http://www.icontact.com/

MyEmma - http://www.myemma.com/

JangoMail - http://www.jangomail.com/

Magnet Mail - http://www.magnetmail.com/

MailChimp - http://www.mailchimp.com/

Newsletter Icon image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

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