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An electronic newsletter or ezine delivered by email is a great way to connect with your customers, share information and deliver news, usually for a fraction of the cost of traditional direct mail. While many factors affect an e-newsletter's effectiveness, your newsletters must be:
1. Timely - don't send a newsletter unless you have news
2. Relevant - recipients are much more likely to open and read your newsletter if the content is valuable to them
3. Concise - e-newsletters should be brief and focused
Here are the top five tips for keeping in touch:
1. Select an e-newsletter service supplier
Several e-newsletter vendors make creating your newsletter quick and painless. Costs and features vary, but most provide user-friendly, turn-key solutions.
Resources: Constant Contact, Bronto and Exact Target are just a few of the services that offer everything from design templates to list management.
2. Build your list and get permission
Develop a database by putting a "subscribe" box on your Web site home page. Make it easy for subscribers by requesting only their email address. Ask their permission with a "double opt-in," which asks for an email address, then sends a confirmation email asking subscribers to click on a link to confirm their participation. Another way to grow your list: Include a "Forward to a Friend" button on your newsletter.
Resources: E-dialog is one company that provides database list management and comprehensive email list services. Most companies, such as eNewsletters Online, allow you to import existing mailing lists and databases. ListPower is another easy-to-use mailing list manager.
3. Develop and compose your content
Start with engaging, compelling subject lines to gain attention. Content should be relevant and useful to your target audience, and you should present it in a straightforward, honest tone. Avoid industry jargon or "sales speak." Also, design matters! It should facilitate scanning and skimming.
Resources: E-newsletter copy tips are available free from The Levinson Letter. Most newsletter services, like MyNewsletterBuilder, offer pre-built templates and design advice.
4. Make it interactive
Take advantage of the interactive and personal nature of email newsletters by starting a conversation with your customer. Keep you goals in mind. What do you want your reader to do? Provide info? Respond to an offer? Fill out a survey? Make sure you include a call to action.
Resources: For a good list of email tactics, visit MarketingSherpa.
5. Track results and evaluate
Once your newsletter is sent, you can track open rates and "click throughs" to evaluate your campaign. Use this info to improve your next newsletter.
Resources: Most email newsletter vendors, such as Vertical Response, offer extensive reporting and tracking tools. To learn the lingo, Azavar provides definitions of various email marketing analytics.
Additional Tips & Tactics:
- Offer your readers both HTML and text version of the newsletter.
- Avoid sending your e-newsletter on or near holidays.
- At the risk of stating the obvious, link to your Web site!
- Make it easy to subscribe... and unsubscribe.
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About the Expert:
Lou Bortone is an
Online Branding Specialist
who helps entrepreneurs and coaches build breakthrough brands on the Internet, so they can have more visibility, credibility and profitability. Lou’s clients get more business and make more money, because Lou assists them with innovative online branding strategies, including social media marketing and online video coaching. Lou is a former television executive who worked for E! Entertainment Television and Fox in Los Angeles. He is also an author and ghostwriter of six business books, a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and a Book Yourself Solid Certified Coach.
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