By Stephen Fontenot

Email marketing is a tried-and-true method for driving sales and establishing quality connections with prospects and customers. A company newsletter bolsters brand awareness, locks in customer loyalty and fuels profitability. This is a great marketing vehicle that best-of-breed companies have been using for years to keep customers up-to-date with their brand and to continually keep their products and services top-of-mind between purchases.

Is your company’s eNewsletter as good as it can be? If you’re looking to make your eNewsletter campaign more impactful, be sure to have the following best practices checked off of your “To Do” list:

  • Monthly or Biweekly Delivery: Set a regular distribution schedule; however, keep in mind that eNewsletters pushed out any more frequently than monthly or biweekly get opened less. A monthly delivery schedule sets a nice pace that keeps your readers waiting for something new from your brand while at the same time not overloading them with content, which can feel like spam.
  • Information Pertinent to Your Industry: A newsletter requires a soft-sell approach. This is your chance to position yourself as an expert in the field – someone who wants to share valuable, need-to-know information with customers. This is not the place to openly tout your products and ask for the sale; rather, position yourself as a thought leader in your respective space and prove to your customers that they should be proud to buy from you. Your content should inspire your customers to print out your eNewsletter and highlight portions to remember and employ in their day-to-day activities.
  • Consistent Style and Tone: Each writer has his or her own voice, and that’s a good thing. But your eNewsletter should project one cohesive tone that flows smoothly from one story to the next; no matter the writer, your company’s unique expression should shine. To keep a unified voice and feel, appoint an editor to go through each outsourced story with a fine-toothed comb.
  • Special Promotions for eNewsletter Readers: Nothing encourages readership growth like a special promotion that can only be found in the company eNewsletter. In fact, seven in 10 people say they have made use of a discount or promotion from a marketing email, according to aggregated research from Salesforce. It’s a great way to keep customers reading from month to month, and a nice way to subtly encourage sales.
  • Professional Design for Your HTML Version: The design of your eNewsletter makes the biggest impression on the customer, second only to the subject line. A professional design enhances your image and gives your newsletter more credibility. If you can’t afford to hire a designer, find a template that fits your company’s personality.
  • Updated Subscriber List: Double-check to make sure that everyone who has unsubscribed to your eNewsletter in the past has been removed from your list; the last thing you want is to flood customers of yours with unwanted material they’ve already tried to escape. Also, make sure all new sign-ups are included – you don’t want to leave them out of the mix.

Other Quick Tips for Better eNewsletter Open Rates and Engagement

  • Identify your audience, and speak in terms most relevant to them. For example, will they prefer a formal or more conversational tone?
  • Make the subject line stand out. Find a one-liner that is appealing, short and to the point, and that proves the asset’s relevance to the reader (over one-third of email recipients open messages based on the subject line alone, also according to Salesforce).
  • Don’t make it all about you. Always ask yourself, “What’s the value that customers will get from opening and reading this?”
  • Make your eNewsletter mobile-friendly. The research further shows that nearly 40 percent of marketers have no strategy for mobile email, yet chances are the majority of your customers are accessing email on some sort of smart device.
  • Include social icons linking to your company’s networks and pages. Your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages should be prominently displayed at the top of your eNewsletter; avoid placing it toward the bottom as some readers may not scroll all the way through.

 Stephen Fontenot is a marketing communications specialist at Hostway Services, Inc.

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