To re: or not to re: How to design a newsletter that pops

A lot has changed on the internet in the last 20 years.

Sophisticated algorithms and machine learning on search engines have rendered keyword stuffing obsolete. Ask Jeeves ­– a tool that, in the words of Parks and Recreation’s Tom Haverford, allowed you to “ask a fake butler to Google things for you” – is no more. The most enduring element of MySpace is still that oddly memorable photo of founder Tom Anderson.

Through it all, one tool has maintained its longevity: E-mail.

Getting the most out of e-mail marketing

The e-mail newsletter remains a prominent digital marketing tool. Web users can’t go far without a website pop-up asking them to sign up for a newsletter.

But does the e-mail newsletter still have a place in the digital marketing toolkit of 2017?

The digital marketing community on the internet is (surprise!) divided on the issue. To some a newsletter is an archaic waste of time. To others it’s an essential tool for customer engagement and lead generation.

The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle. For some companies, expending the resources on building a list and sending out a regular newsletter is a valuable endeavor.

Four reasons you should do an e-mail newsletter

  1. Lead generation: A robust, up-to-date list of customer e-mails is a gold mine for marketers. There’s a bevy of retargeting and remarketing options both via e-mail and through other means. Plugging your e-mail list into Facebook can create an invaluable lookalike audience for enticing new customers into the fold. If you can create a newsletter with valuable content that people actually want to read, it’s a great way for building your customer list.
  2. Customer engagement: Unlike other less consensual marketing tactics, your customers have to volunteer for your newsletter. Somewhere along the line you have enticed them into saying “yes, I’ll give you my e-mail.” Not all digital marketing tactics – Google AdWords retargeting, I’m looking in your direction – can claim to be this noninvasive.
  3. E-mail is for business: Many people separate out their social media usage from their time spent at work. They’re not really using social media so they can check out your “cool” ad for security software. E-mail allows you to hit your clients or customers when they’re already working – not checking Facebook for cat photos.
  4. E-mail has the most users: Facebook likes to boast about its robust, and growing, user base. But the reach of even the most popular social medium can’t get its arms around e-mail. E-mail, according to KissMetrics, has nearly three times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined.

That said, e-mail marketing is not for everyone. If you’re better off directing your resources at social media or even – * gasp * – face-to-face interaction, go for it.

But if you are ready to hop aboard the newsletter marketing train, make sure you do it right.

Three tips for building the best e-mail newsletter

  1. Approach promotional content with caution: Ever give a company your e-mail just because you placed in something in your cart in their online store? Then I probably don’t need to say much more, because you’re already sick of being hit with twice-daily e-mails encouraging you to “return and complete your purchase”. An e-mail newsletter can’t be just about getting customers to buy. Your audience has given you their contact information because they think you have something valuable to offer. Make the majority of your newsletter – HubSpot recommends 90 per cent – content that will be of interest to your customer. Example: Rather than reminding them of those shoes they left in their cart, offer them an article on shoe maintenance.
  2. Make the subject line pop: Do you find yourself consigning e-mails with the subject “Newsletter no. 7” to the trash bin? You’re forgiven. Most of your audience will make a split-second decision about whether or not to open your newsletter. If you don’t catch their attention right away while they’re thumbing through their new e-mails, you’re probably not going to catch it at all. Infuse your subject lines with colourful language, emojis or maybe even a call-to-action.
  3. Pick a theme and stick to it: The temptation with newsletters is to try to cram as much content on as many different subjects into one message. The most successful newsletters focus in on one theme. This imposes a discipline both of content (it forces you to develop or find posts for the theme) and of length (only stuff that fits gets included). Death to the 18-article newsletter!

Does your e-mail newsletter need a boost? Reach out to us and we’ll show you how to take your e-mail marketing to the next level.

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