If you're like most consumers, you use your personal email address to set up online accounts, make e-commerce purchases or join rewards programs. That means you've also likely been bombarded with marketing emails.
The surge in popularity around email marketing has created a constant noise in our inboxes—enough so that email giants like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are continually rolling out new tools meant to help separate the good from the spam. With so many emails piled up in your inbox, you may wonder if there's still value in sending one out for your business.
The answer is still yes.
Your customers want to learn about your products and services, and email is one of the most effective ways for delivering that info. According to HubSpot, marketing emails on average generate $42 for every $1 spent, which is an ROI of 4,200%. However, because email marketing can fit into any budget, that also means everyone’s doing it. To really succeed, your email must stand out from the pack.
You may be asking, “OK, but how can my business cut through the clutter?” Here are some basic tips for creating an email newsletter that people will actually want to read:
1. Use Segmented Audiences
While marketing budgets can limit the amount of consumer data your business can collect and crunch, all businesses should be segmenting their audiences. Leading email marketing platforms such as SharpSpring, MailChimp, Constant Contact and Drip all allow marketers to tag their subscribers with certain attributes, ranging from age to skill level to loyalty.
Just make sure the segments you create make sense for your business and industry. Remember, the idea is to create unique newsletters that promote your products and services strategically to these different groups. For example, a fishing supply company’s newsletter to expert/professional fishers should look different and contain different products than one targeting casual hobbyists.
2. Remove Subscribers Routinely
This seems like the opposite of what you should do, right? In fact, you should be routinely cleaning out your subscriber list to make sure you’re reaching the most engaged audiences and active email addresses. The platform MailChimp recommends going through your subscribers every quarter to remove those with high bounce rates. If you don’t, it will negatively impact your open rate.
There are multiple reasons why an email “bounces,” or doesn’t get delivered. It happens when someone goes on vacation and sets a temporary status, but also when delivering to an invalid address or to an email server that no longer exists. Subscribers whose emails consistently bounce are likely inactive.
3. Encourage Engagement
Don't just think of your newsletter as a digital marketing flyer—it can be a conduit to valuable two-way communication.
One of the benefits of using email is that recipients can directly reply. For industries that typically require a consultation or center around long-term relationships (like real estate or insurance), encouraging the audience to reach out should be a primary goal. To accomplish this, you should make sure your brand comes off as approachable, yet knowledgeable.
Here are a few must-have components if you want to generate replies:
- A conversational tone
- A button or link to reply
- Content tailored to your audience segment
4. Develop an Eye-Catching Design
Your newsletter should incorporate your brand’s colors and graphics for the sake of consistency, but don't be afraid to step outside of the branding box, either. The last thing you want is a stale layout with long paragraphs.
Add eye-catching infographics, creative animations, high-quality images and other unique features to your emails that will keep the audience from moving on or clicking delete.
If you’re a smaller business without a graphic designer, many email platforms offer templates to help get you started—it can be as simple as dragging and dropping.
5. Have a Clear Focus
What’s the purpose of your newsletter? The last thing you want is a hodge-podge of company updates and “interesting facts” that don't move customers to action.
To keep your audience's attention, it's important to stick to one focus, not several. Whether you’re promoting a clothing sale or requesting donations for your not-for-profit, the main components of your newsletter should show or tell your audience why they should take that action.
If there's too much going on, recipients will likely click away and miss your message entirely.
With a few tweaks and purposeful decisions, you can create a newsletter that your customers can't help but read. Need help getting your email newsletter off the ground? We routinely develop successful email marketing campaigns for our clients, and are focused on meeting your company's specific business goals. Reach out to our Digital Marketing team to learn more.