07 Jan Newsletters: Four Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing Strategy
The Case for the Newsletter
Happy New Year everyone. To get things started this month I’m going to be talking about Newsletters. Are they still effective? Can they help your business grow?
In a word… Absolutely!
Although newsletters can sometimes seem a little old-school, email marketing is still considered one of the best forms of marketing. In fact, it is still regarded by many as THE best way to promote your business and your brand directly to your audience. Nowadays, though, getting people to subscribe to your mailing list without offering them something valuable in return is pretty tough. As a freelance writer myself – and having recently released a book independently – I’ve had to be a little inventive in order to begin building an audience. The standard ‘Subscribe Here’ call-to-action on my website wasn’t nearly enough.
In this post I’ll share four tips to increase the size of your mailing list and improve the quality of your newsletters. As a result, you’ll be able to create a wider base of loyal and engaged customers for your business.
1. Choose your hook
People like free things. It’s as simple as that. This is nothing new of course, both in the world in general and with regards to growing your brand’s audience online. I absolutely love free things. Don’t you? With this in mind, what are people going to get in return for joining your community (i.e. your mailing list)? Whether it’s a free eBook, access to a webinar or a free email course, to name but a few popular options – make sure that what you’re offering new subscribers is something truly appealing and actually valuable.
2. Pick the right tool
As we approach 2020, I present to you a shortlist. After a good amount of research I have concluded that, in no particular order, the following five tools appear consistently highly ranked for email marketing:
- Campaign Monitor
- Constant Contact
I personally use Mailchimp for my newsletters, to automate welcome emails and to send a free 10-part email course. But all of those options above will have their own pros and cons and it’ll be worth taking a closer look at each to determine which is right for you and your business.
3. Create valuable content
Your newsletter should not just be used to blatantly advertise your business. Many people won’t part with their money for a company’s products or services until there is a level of trust. You need to build a relationship with the members of your community before they’re ready to actually spend some money, and regular newsletters (ideally one per week) providing useful and insightful information will help you to do that. For example, you could share case studies, answers to common questions, solutions to common problems, seasonal tips and related industry news.
In the sales world, ideally you want to be thought of by your prospective clients and existing customers as a trusted advisor. As in, they trust that what you’re telling them is honest and well-informed advice from a seasoned professional. Treat your mailing list as an opportunity to become that reliable and trusted advisor to your subscribers and the orders will come in eventually. You’re playing the long game.
4. Test, test, test
Once you think you have a solid hook in place, and that the content you’re sharing with your subscribers is top notch, you shouldn’t just settle for that. What if that hook could be more effective? Maybe the subject lines could be more enticing? Perhaps the content could connect better in a different format? You need to test them all.
A/B testing, or ‘split’ testing, provides an easy way for you to continually check alternative versions of your newsletters i.e. send two versions of the same newsletter, using different subject lines and content structure, to two small and different sections of your audience and see which one connects better.
Once you have your results, which can be measured in numbers of opens and clicks, for example, you can choose which version you should send to the rest of your mailing list.
The same goes with the hook you’re using. Why not run a short trial using a different method to see if you could convert a higher number of new website users to subscribers? Maybe even run a couple of online ad campaigns using two different hooks and see which one performs better.
As we begin 2020 and the world of digital marketing continues to evolve and diversify across many new and interesting channels, newsletters look set to continue being a highly effective and influential way of communicating directly to your audience. What better time than now to improve your strategy?
This article was written by Joe Ogden.
Joe is a copywriter and sales professional with a background in business development and technology sales. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs, freelancers and small companies reach a wider audience and grow their business. Read more at Joe’s website.