Digital Marketing Priorities: #3 Newsletter 2

This is the third post exploring my 8 digital marketing priorities in greater detail. This post will focus on your email newsletter.

1- Strategic Plan

2- Site Web  

3- Email newsletter

This is the second marketing channel you control entirely after your website. You decide if, when and how regularly you communicated with those who’ve signed up to hear from you. You decide what you tell them, how pretty your messaging is and if you lead people back to your site or store.

Regardless of what you may have heard, email is not dead yet, nor is it likely to anytime soon. It is true some newsletters have seen slight to important declines in subscribers, as well as email open rates. Some people (like me) have chosen not to receive any brand content or news content via email. That does not mean they are not interested in you – rather they will connect with you via RSS, social media or directly through your website whenever they get curious. Regardless of this, many people still prefer to hear from brands via email and you need to answer that call.

Think of printed daily newspapers. Their readership and revenues has been declining for years, some are even cutting back some weekend editions, or altogether going out of business. However many people still read the paper on a regular basis, more than enough to justify still paying money to place ads there in front of an interesting audience. Even if overall interest in email marketing is slightly eroded due to fragmentation in B2C communications channels, there are still plenty of people for who this is their preferred method of contact with you.

Your decisions is not to choose if it’s better to do this or another communications channel, but top chose to communicate everywhere someone is willing to pay attention to you.

Email remains the #1 most practiced online activity among internet users worldwide. Although we do see in some countries people spending more time on social media than with email, they are still more numerous using email than using social media.

Take advantage of this marketing channel you control to communicate directly with your client, in a tone and on topics that’s of interest to them, to encourage along a path to purchase. Your newsletter will need to inform your interested prospects about what’s new with your business, your deals and most importantly give them reason to visit your website or store – make them act towards generating a sale. Please be aware that although building an email newsletter may look simple enough (compared to tackling search engine optimization on your own) but the intricacies of coding, wording, imaging and anti-spam firewalls make that “ease” totally deceptive. I recommend you consult or hire a specialist or specialty agency to help you here. One false move, my mistake, and you could be black listed from many servers. It may take you time to even realise if you’ve been black listed and a lot more time to convince them you “white list” you. A professional can steer you in the right direction and help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls.

From the start, when you sign them up, tell them what this email will do for them. What content will you be sending their way and at what frequency? Why not actually show them an example of what a previous newsletter looked like.

Should you want to change the frequency at some point down the road, I strongly recommend you A- inform your subscriber base well in advance, or actually create a second newsletter inviting your subscriber base to choose to sign up to this other newsletter and telling them why they should. Some people like very regular communications (weekly or more) while others won’t stand for anything more than monthly – don’t judge, just adapt to please all clients as you do in other aspects of your business.

Also from the start, decide what information you want people to share with you (sign up form) in return for this newsletter you’ve convinced them is of value to them. Consider what you’ll really do with that information next month, 6 months and even 2 years from now. If it’s of “interest” but not “actionable” don’t bother to ask for that information. Save yourself and your subscribers some time. However should you realise later on that a few pieces of information could really be useful and actionable, you can always ask subscribers to fill these our either voluntarily or by having them participate in a contest exclusive to your email subscribers.

The quality of your subscribers is so much more important than the sheer number of subscribers can be – even if a large number can be readily impressive!  Communicating to 100,000 people you THINK are interested in you, and communicating to 10,000 you KNOW ARE are 2 very different things. Your performance metrics and expectations from them in the long run will differ greatly.

Follow the editorial calendar you built for your website to feed your newsletter. Use your newsletter to tell your subscribers what’s happening on your website, on top of the deals and specials you may want them to partake in. Building trust also leads to sales down the line.

Ensure your newsletter is mobile friendly – that it has been formatted to fit most mobile devices. With the latest generation of smartphones, and newsletter software available, this isn’t such a big concern, but a question you must ask none the less.

Measure your performance regularly. Monthly would be a good start – whatever is relevant to you. Learn what tactics you’re employing in your newsletter affect what on your website. Test different versions and see what works better for your clients / subscribers.

Next week we will look at priority #4: your social media presence.

Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below: would you change the order of digital marketing priorities I’ve put forth? Have I forgotten anything significant?

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