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Email marketing specifically email newsletters is a great way to nurture valued customer relationships.
September 15, 2011
By Hollie Clere
If you have a website, maybe a social media presence and the need to reach a large base of vendors, partners and customers, email marketing and specifically email newsletters are a great way to nurture those relationships. Sharing company blogs, links to company social media sites, company announcements and surveys are ideal for email distribution plus the cost for newsletter subscription services are low and the reach can be substantial.
So, where do you start?
Content. It all starts with content, including blogs, promotional pricing, links to specific sites and topics that could be of interest to the reader and are relevant to your companys products/services. Remember to include only original information; do not plagiarize other sources. However, you may be able to secure permission from an author or publisher to use their work.
When developing your own content, think about every word as a driver for a specific goal. For example, if you are promoting a 10-day discount on widgets, you will want to specifically mention the widget, describe the details behind the discount, provide information on why the widget is a hot” commodity, why the viewer should choose your widget and provide a link for the viewer to get more information about the widget.
It is also a good idea to embed images relative to your topic. Like articles, you need to have permission to use these images, so you should consider using your own photos/charts or subscribe to a stock photo service where you can purchase the rights to use the photos.
Length. The goal of the newsletter is to encourage the viewer to click through to a desired Web page with further information. Here is an example:
DISCOUNT ON SUPER FAST PINK WIDGETS
10% discount on our Super Fast Pink Widgets through October 21, 2011. Click here to receive your discount code.
5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS MAINTAIN YOUR WIDGET
It is a good idea to maintain your widget by cleaning the parts monthly. (Insert the URL LINK to the page that talks in more detail about this topic.)
By not including the full content of each item, you allow the reader to quickly scan your newsletter for things that are most relevant to them and will get them to your site for more information. It also tells your viewer that you respect their time and are not suggesting that they take an hour out of their day to read through your newsletter.
Backlinks. Connecting the viewer to a website linked to additional information is considered a backlink. You can do this overtly (e.g., Click on the following link”) or within the text by linking a key word, as in We are really excited about widgets and providing the best quality widgets in the industry.”
Including backlinks drives users to your website where they will spend time navigating to areas that could encourage them to do business with your company.
Most email marketing providers have the ability to pull statistical reports showing how many click-throughs came from your newsletter campaign. This also is a good way to measure the quality of the content in your newsletter and will help you identify topics and messaging that readers are interested in.
Appealing Layout. In addition to good content, the layout, or look, of the newsletter needs to be considered. You will want to use the same color scheme as your company website so that it becomes familiar to your viewer. Be sure to include images to illustrate your content and bring visual appeal to your newsletter. Pictures also present another opportunity to create backlinks to your website.
Title/Subject Line. After all of your content is created, edited and formatted, consider the title of your newsletter. Avoid generic titles like Company Name Newsletter Version 14.” Instead, catch readers attention by highlighting featured content, such as Top 5 Tips to Going Green in Your Office” or Limited Discount for Houston Broadband Customers.” Your goal is to entice viewers to open your newsletter and read your content.
You also want to create a new subject line for each newsletter, so recipients know that there is new content each time and not just the same advertisements.” Similarly, dont repeat content or you risk losing readers over time.
Lists. The ultimate goal of email marketing is to create awareness among a broad base of potential prospects or partners. However, if it makes more sense to segment your newsletters by audience customers, vendors or partners most tools will allow you to customize your lists.
Frequency. Avoid flooding the audience with constant traffic. Thats a sure way to lose viewers. Instead, develop a consistent schedule with your email newsletter, perhaps monthly or quarterly. Announce the schedule at the top of your newsletter so recipients know how often they will receive this communication from you.
Reporting. Dont forget to read your newsletter reports on click-through rates to adjust your content. And, after you have sent several editions of your newsletter, ask readers for feedback on the information you are providing and solicit suggestions for future topics. Remember, your goal is to reach and respond to your audience, not to flood them with information they dont want to see.
My advice is to have fun with your email marketing plan. It isnt intended to be a painful process, but an enjoyable way to connect with customers virtually.”
A 15-year veteran of the telecom industry, Hollie Clere is a social media consultant for
, which offers back-office support to agents in the telecom industry. She also is the author of Social Media Telecommunications,” a book documenting the best trends and resources for telecom-related companies to connect, share in groups and market to prospects via third-party tools. She can be reached via email at
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