One of the most engaging and effective digital marketing means, newsletters seem to be on the tip of everybody’s tongue. From charities to your local business, big companies and organisations, many employ this means of connecting with their audience. We will discuss in this blog post how to plan for successful newsletters campaigns.
In our introductory blog on email marketing we mentioned how GDPR pushes both businesses and marketers to adopt a more authentic, more engaged, and more creative approach. These effects of the new regulations also extend over the much used tool of newsletters. While the first step even before planning for a campaign needs to look at compliance with the legislation, this will also ensure you connect to the right audience.
With regulations concerns out of the way, focus on how to build meaningful newsletters. Just like any business promotion tool, there’s no point in using it only for the sake of sending out emails to your customers or partners. You want them to read your messages, find value in them, and respond to calls to action. Thus, you will increase the overall effectiveness of your promotional campaigns.
Link your newsletters closely to your business goals
Decide on your newsletters goals before you create the content to send out. Different businesses and different sectors utilise them quite differently. A service-based company such as a solicitors practice might include previews and links to their blog posts which offer useful advice. A retailer informs their customers on the latest ranges and offers. An organisation often sends out information and reminders for events, as well as a link to facilitate registration.
Convince your subscribers of the value these emails give them, and that will keep them interested. Be it advice, news, special offers or information about events, if they appreciate what you give them, your newsletter campaigns will work to your advantage.
Closely linked to sending out quality content, carefully choose and include a call to action. Inviting readers to click on the links in the email, to read the whole advice type blog post, or click the banners presenting your brand’s new range of clothes – all of these represent good calls to action.
Choose your layout carefully
Once you picked and created your content, next you need a software tool to design the layout. In this time and age, with so many options to put together visually appealing layouts, sending bland, boring, text only newsletters is not advisable. If it looks boring and unappealing, chances are your audience will not even bother to read through. They will lose useful information, and you will lose them as subscribers and possibly even customers.
We have plenty of choice out there to help us choose and implement a template. From Adobe Spark to Mailchimp and Mailjet, study the offer and decide what will best suit your needs. Consider the one tool which will offer you the most useful analytics data to measure the impact of your campaigns. We will talk about this further down in this blog post.
Besides usability and analytics features, think of the actual design of what you are sending out. Creative Block put together a very useful guide on what aspects to focus on.
When do you send your newsletter out?
Take a look, for a few moments, at your own inbox. What is the first thing that you notice?
Could it possibly be the number of unopened emails?
Does it count in the hundreds?
We thought so.
We all experience this initial interest, at some point, in receiving news from our favourite cafe, clothes retailer, theatre or local barber’s. In business, we also want to hear from the companies whom we work with. However, if we receive their emails at the wrong time, we probably won’t open them at all. With such busy lives lived at a very fast pace, most people forget to later check a message they received while sitting in a meeting.
But let us play another scenario. You sit in your lunch break, and your smartphone buzzes. The display shows International Women’s Day event from your favourite gym or a business providing your company with services. This gets your interest. And because you have 5 minutes to spare, you might actually read through. If it features a call to action you could even register straight away.
Having said this, generally the best time to send out B2B emails will be working days, before lunchtime or before end of the day. It is more likely that people working in an office will have a spare moment around these times. For B2C campaigns, evenings and weekends work better, when people usually have more personal time available.
Still, you need to know your audience. If you are just starting a newsletter, test and compare results for messages sent at different times, different days. It will help you improve results.
Monitor data to drive your success
In close relation to testing different times, types of content and layouts, the data gathering stage weighs equally heavily in the process. When you measure the success of your newsletter campaigns, look at the following factors: open rates, click rates, and subscription rates.
In other words, monitor how many people actually opened the newsletter email, and how many clicked on the links included. Very importantly, compare these numbers to the number of actual subscribers. Then also remember to look at how many people unsubscribed and blocked your email address too. Only by balancing positive aspects against the negative you will get an accurate picture of how successful your newsletters are.