Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
~ Ben Franklin
Email newsletters are not an exciting, cutting digital marketing strategy. But in 2014 email marketing remains a cost-effective, strategic and efficient way for businesses and nonprofits to talk directly with their customers, fans and supporters. Email marketing, newsletters, e-letters - whatever you call it - is a way for your brand to get information to an audience who wants to hear what you have to say.
Everyone checks their email: the issue is what they do with their emails. Some are read, some bookmarked for later, some are trashed, others spammed. What every business owner wants is the secret to getting their emails opened, read and converted to business.
Email marketing and newsletter facts and stats:
- Women click 10% more often than men on mobile emails: Tailored Mail Email Marketing Trends
- 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email: Convinceandconvert.com
- 61% of emails are read on smartphones or tablets: Moveable Ink
- 64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line: Chadwick Martin Bailey
- Emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click-through rate: GetResponse
How to Get Your Emails Opened, Read and Clicked
Email marketing may be old-school, but it doesn't have to be old-fashioned. Incorporating digital marketing strategies into your newsletters and emails make them more likely to be opened and read:
1. Format for online reading:
People don't read online the same way they read a book. Short paragraphs, bullets, links, images and videos all make emails and newsletters easier to read and comprehend. Images and videos attract attention: that's why they get 47% more click-thru in emails compared to text. Simple to find and read information is understood faster and retained longer by today's busy consumer.
2. Integrate with social media:
Social media is the edge that takes email marketing outside the inbox and highly valuable word of mouth marketing. Make your newsletter shareable with links to forward your email and links to your social media profiles. Offer readers a reason to share and follow: a special offer, a free trial, a today-only deal. Then, ask them to share the deal and make it easy for them to share with calls-to-action such as: Share this deal with all your friends: with a link to automatically Tweet or post your newsletter on Facebook.
3. Customize and personalize:
Customizing your newsletter does not mean putting the recipients' name in the To: field. Your audience is savvy, and know that's simply a mailing list option. Nothing is wrong with adding their name: just don't stop there. Customize and segment your newsletter to send a different version to different audiences. The same basic content, but presented in a different layout, in different colors or with different images may appeal more to your different audiences. For example, a yogurt shop might offer the same special coupon to all its audience, but with family and kid images on emails sent to soccer moms, but college clients will be more attracted to pictures of fellow-students in class, at the game, or taking a break. Customizing takes time: but it can improve your open and click-thru stats, which is the whole idea!
4. Write subject lines that get noticed:
Which subject line are you more likely to open: XYZ's Monthly Newsletter, or Open Today for a Free Yogurt? With your 2 year old, that's called bribing. With your audience, that's called enticing. The subject line is the single most critical decision point whether your email is opened, trashed or spammed. Many email management tools can create a default subject line for your email. You spend hours writing, formatting and tweaking your email: why would you let a robot choose your subject line? Test different subject lines on different audiences (called A/B testing) to find out what appeals most to your audiences.
XYZ Monthly Newsletter
Open Today For a Free Yogurt
5. Have something to say:
If you don't have a reason to send an email, why are you sending it? If the answer is because it's on the calendar, don't send the email. Your email should have relevant content or offers that your audience wants to hear. Nothing is going on at your business that's shareable? Then create an offer exclusive to your email: that's a reason to send an email, and a reason for your audience to open your email! If you have nothing to share with your audience, then send out an email with the same old sales pitch, don't be surprised when your open rates continue to spiral down. If you're not excited with what's happening at your business, why would your audience be? Your email is an important opportunity to share your stories and success with your audience: don't abuse it.
Your business makes a significant investment in money, time and resources to produce and distribute emails and newsletters. Your emails shouldn't just get out on time: developing an email marketing strategy results in increased read, open and click rates.
For More On Email Marketing:
B2C: 13 Useful Tips for Integrating Email Marketing and Social Media
SalesForce: 25 Mind Blowing Email Marketing Stats