Developing and distributing relevant content is a very effective strategy to engage with and connect to your target market. E-newsletters are an especially effective tactic for distributing that content. But simply assembling good content a mailing list and a schedule are not enough to help you reach your business objectives. You want your e-newsletters to promote an ongoing dialog with customers. To create that level of engagement one of the objectives you want to achieve is subscription. You want customers to ‘want’ to receive your e-newsletters and to respond to the content. There are five practices that will make your e-newsletter program a resounding success.
By the nature of email distribution, e-newsletters are a good source of analytics and a low-cost way to manage customer engagement. The broader your distribution – the greater chance you will achieve your desired results. Also marketers rate e-newsletters as one of the most effective content marketing tactics. 61% of the respondents to the Content Management Institute’s B2B Content Marketing: 2010 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report said that they use e-newsletters and rate them as one of the most effective ways to distribute content. Review the report at http://bit.ly/ehlOeG.
So, you have the content, the mailing list and a well thought out distribution schedule – now what else can you do to encourage more customers and prospects to subscribe to your e-newsletter?
My five best practices:
- Create a dedicated a page of your website to your newsletter. Too many companies treat their e-newsletters like an afterthought, relegating archives and subscription options to back pages of the Web site. A subscription link should be on your homepage and easy navigation to the e-newsletter page.
- Make sure your e-newsletter looks professionally designed. In this age of templates and wizards, it is tempting to minimize costs by using short-cuts in designing your e-newsletter. Make the effort and the investment to ensure the e-newsletter communicates the look, voice and feel of your organization. You wouldn’t tolerate a rumpled amateurish salesperson representing your company – don’t let your e-newsletter look that way.
- Archive all past newsletters on your website. And make them easily accessible. There is no need to make readers work for content by requiring additional or lengthy registration information. Giving content freely and easily will endear you to site visitors. Make them work and you will lose visitors – quickly.
- Actively and enthusiastically promote your newsletter. Use all of your other marketing tools to spread the word about your e-newsletter. Make sure all company social media pages have a reference to the e-newsletter and a subscription link. Include e-newsletter updates in your blog, Tweets, Facebook updates, LinkedIn company page, RSS feeds, etc.
- Make it easy for readers to share your e-newsletter. Add widgets to your e-newsletter enabling readers to share with friends, include in their own RSS feeds, Re-Tweet, Like via Facebook and re-distribute by whatever other channels are available.
There are other tactics I can recommend to help you improve e-newsletter performance but these five best practices are particularly effective in boosting subscriber rates. Implement them today and start tracking the results – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.