10 Must Haves for A Successful E-Newsletter
E-Newsletters, commonly called ‘E-Zines’, are a must have for any business in today’s aggressive economy. E-Newsletters, done correctly, are a creative, non-aggressive method of reaching your current clients and building your prospect base at little or no cost. They not only provide useful information to subscribers on a consistent basis but they are a valuable marketing tool that allows you to enter their lives regularly, to get your name, and products or services, in front of them without the heavy sell. The following pages contain a list of ‘must haves’ from the beginning to the end of your newsletter, and everything in between. First and foremost, your E-Newsletter must have a:
1. SUBJECT LINE Your newsletter’s headline, otherwise known as the subject of the e-mail, is responsible for 50-75% of its success. Other than whom the e-mail is from, it is what your reader sees first. Without a successful headline, your e-mail is destined for the trash can and you’ve missed a golden opportunity to reach clients and prospects with your message. Writing a good headline is tricky and something people spend years learning and practicing. That being said, there are a few keys to a successful headline that I’d like to share with you. ● Appeal to your reader’s self interest. Provide a benefit to your reader and make it personal to your audience of clients and prospects. Example: “10 Ways To Increase Your Portfolio Earnings Overnight.” This type of headline might work for a financial investment firm, or an accountant. A headline can be tailored to any industry and what your readers are interested in. ● Make it Newsworthy Headlines using the words ‘new’, ‘now’, ‘finally’, ‘announcing’, and ‘latest’ give the reader a sense of newsworthiness. “New Soil Conditioner Increases Plant Life By 10%.” This headline is both newsworthy and it appeals to the reader’s self interest-assuming that the newsletter is going to clients of a nursery, florist and the like and not to an automotive repair shop! ● Appeal to the reader’s emotions. Fear, Pride, Insecurity, Curiosity, Love, Happiness, Boredom, Laziness, and Altruism are among many of the emotions that you can use to motivate your reader to open your newsletter. “How To Ask Your Boss For A Raise,” would be good headline for a staffing company. It appeals to the reader’s curiosity. Another curiosity driven headline might be “10 Questions You Should Never Ask A Prospective Client.” One last thing to remember about Headlines: make them believable. Nothing gets deleted faster than an outrageous and unbelievable headline.
2. VOLUME NUMBER AND A DATE. It may seem obvious, but one thing that is consistently overlooked in E-Newsletter publication is the volume number and date. Every newsletter that you send should have a volume number and a date to be consistent. Consistency is key to establishing yourself and your company as a reliable and credible source of information and the kind of company that your customers will return to time and again. Additionally, by providing a consistent publication date, and volume, you give your readers a method to archive and/or search when they’re hunting through old issues for the amazing content that you’ve supplied them. By organizing your newsletters by volume and date, you also make it easier to track each issue’s effectiveness.
3. THEME Each newsletter that you put out to the world should have a consistent theme running throughout. Regardless if you have one article or ten, they should be linked with your theme-and your theme should be referenced in the headline. A doctor’s office might run an issue with the theme of fighting the flu just before flu season. The newsletter might contain articles pertaining to it like diet, supplementation, and inoculations etc. Similarly, they could offer a theme on allergies in early spring. A restaurant might highlight specific ingredients, time saving tips in the kitchen, or upcoming seasons and holidays. The articles could reference menu items or recipes that they use as a marketing tie in. An Auto repair shop might address tune ups in one issue and preparing for summer vacations in the next. They could talk about braking-how to brake, different types of brakes, when to replace brakes, common problems with brakes etc… You’re getting the picture. CPA firms, printers, transportation companies, every industry has a specific client population with specific needs and interests. If you have a new product, how that product integrates into your customer’s lives could be a theme-say a commercial construction company provides installation of a new type of roofing--there’s the theme for the newsletter. Themes are easy to come by; the trick is sticking to them.
4. INFORMATION Your newsletter must contain useful information. Content Is Key! Even if your newsletter contains an editorial piece, you need to give your readers something valuable. We’re a nation hungry for information. Non-fiction consistently outsells fiction in the bookstores and ease of information is in high demand. As far as information goes—Nothing Is Better Than Free, Helpful Information Delivered To You On A Consistent Basis! According to an article recently published by the Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Association www.newsletters.org —“Publishers need high-value content to reach readers and advertisers. ……editorial quality is just as important for a free newsletter as it is for a subscription newsletter. ……advises publishers to talk with their user base at all times, survey readers and know their needs. This quotation ties in to the next E-Newsletter necessity:
5. An Option for Reader Feedback An option for reader feedback in a newsletter is a good way to build your community and to add content to the publication. It not only lets you know what the readers are responding to in your newsletter but it encourages reader participation and people, whether they admit it or not, like to see their name in print. A simple feedback form occasionally included in the newsletter or a more consistent ‘Dear Abby’ type column where readers ask questions and you (as the expert) answer them, is the easiest way to include this feature into your publication.
6. AN OFFER Besides endearing your clients and prospects to you and your company, the main purpose of an E-Newsletter is to build your business or in other words, SELL. Don’t let a single issue go by without some kind of offer; a click through to your web site, a coupon, a new product for sale in your store or on your website, an inside sale. Tie the offer in to your theme and with a good headline, you have a sure hit! Let’s go back to our very first headline “10 Ways To Increase Your Portfolio Overnight.” Let’s assume that the newsletter is from a team of financial advisors. The broad theme is increasing your portfolio; let’s assume that one of the methods of increasing it is to invest in pharmaceuticals. The offer might be a seminar/webinar/teleseminar on investing in pharmaceuticals. The options are endless to present this product. Basic clicks through to your website for more information, a ‘click here to register’ type of option, or a registration form right in the newsletter are just some of the possibilities.
7. LINK TO YOUR WEBSITE Again, the reason for your newsletter is to sell your product or service. If you don’t have at least one link to your website then you’re not giving the newsletter the chance to do its job. If you don’t have a website-GET ONE! No matter what your business, a web presence is a necessity for your business to grow and a courtesy to your clients. From basic business information like hours and staff information to newsletter archives and products, a website gives your customers a place to go when they’re not with you. To put it simply, a web presence expands and embraces your customer community and it provides one more way to build your current client base. Links to your website in your newsletter provide not only a tool to sell but they’re also great tools for realizing the effectiveness of your website. They’re measurable.
8. VIRAL MARKETING Viral marketing is a term used by marketing specialists which simply means encouraging current customers and prospects to share your message with their colleagues and friends. Viral Marketing is FREE FOR YOU. A simple message consistently included in each and every newsletter, preferably in the same place each time, that encourages recipients to forward your newsletter to friends, family, and colleagues is all you need. The bonus is that there is an implied endorsement of your services to recipients of your forwarded newsletter.
9. AN OPT-OUT While an E-Newsletter is a great source for building your opt-in database, you MUST provide your recipients an option to opt-out. No one likes to be trapped into receiving an unwanted e-mail. A simple “Click here to unsubscribe” will suffice. Be sure to make good on all opt-out requests to avoid angering and alienating clients and prospects.
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