As most of you will know, I can see the magic of blogging. However, I can also see the distinctive merits of email communications ie. regular email communications to your customers, connections and prospects.
I’ve arrived a bit late to the newsletter game. As I write this, my first email newsletter is due to go out to existing clients and prospects in the next day or two. I am working with Mmunic who put the “human touch” into email marketing. Their graphic designers produced my template, and their MyReach online newsletter package will email my completed newsletter to everyone on my database.
There are three strategies to email communications. I asked Mmunic UK Sales Manager, Richard Baker, to bring me up to date on how to communicate effectively through email communications…
1. Welcome Email
Do you roll out the red carpet for your new customers? A recent study found that 80% of companies now send out welcome emails. This is up from only 40% in 2008.
What to include in your welcome email:
- What to expect. Warmly welcome readers to your mailing list and set expectations immediately. Let your readers know what you’ll share with them in your future emails, and how often you will communicate. For example, you may offer advice and how-to articles as well as some promotional offers. You may decide to send monthly or fortnightly. Stay true to whatever you promise!
- A special offer. Want a little more love? Give your new subscribers a discount, an offer or a gift for simply being a subscriber. Then let your new subscribers know that, as a subscriber, they’ll receive special email-only offers they can’t get anywhere else just by virtue of being on your list. They’ll be far more likely to open your future messages for enticing discounts.
Timeliness is key when sending a welcome email. You want to send it out to your new subscribers as soon as possible after they subscribe.
Richard said that he is often asked to explain the difference between an email promotion/campaign and an email newsletter. The words are often used interchangeably, but an email promotion or campaign tends to communicate one single topic or idea, such as your current sale or a new product, while an email newsletter often has multiple topics and tends to educate (as opposed to sell) and builds rapport with your readers. Your newsletter should always offer readers valuable information.
What to include in your newsletter:
- News. Press releases, blog articles or other publications that will help your readers. (It’s a good idea to summarise longer articles in a few short sentences and create a call to action button for the reader to view the entire article on your website or blog.)
- Upcoming events or webinars. These may be events you’re hosting or participating in. You may also announce speaking engagements such as interviews with your executives on radio shows, at college events etc.
- Important announcements. Include improvements to your products or services, new management or new business practices. (If you are letting your customers know you are responding to their feedback and improving something for them, that’s always great news!)
- Ways to connect on social media. Include social media networks you’re actively engaged with and updating regularly, as this is added value for your followers.
- Images. Keep your newsletter interesting with images relating to your content.
- Calls to action. Tell your readers what you want them to do. Provide clear calls to action such as read more, learn more, and register now. You can easily create call to action buttons for your website or emails and newsletters.
Even though the word ‘newsletter’ suggests a more lengthy communication, remember it’s still an email, and people get hundreds every day! Try to avoid including too much information and copy in one email. A good rule of thumb is to stick to around one page of a word document. Because newsletters are more comprehensive, to send once or twice a month is typically a good practice. However, depending on your business and how much content you produce, weekly might work as well.
3. Promotional Emails
Every day most of us receive tonnes of emails from various companies and, let’s be honest, most customers want to know “What’s in it for me?” If you don’t provide real value, it’s very easy for subscribers to click that little unsubscribe button! How can you help to avoid that? Offer something valuable and unique…
What to include in your promotional emails:
- A NEW offer. Emphasis on the word new. If you offered 10 per cent off all window frames last month, it’s old news this month! If you do decide to repeat a particular offer, don’t repeat it back-to-back or multiple times in a row. (Your readers will think you’re a one trick pony!)
- A compelling offer. Discounts are great, but does the discount you’re offering compel your readers to click through all the way to the shopping cart? Try testing different offers to see which ones are the most effective. Enticing customers with specific products or services can be much more effective than a set discount against all items or services. This is especially true of seasonal items.
- Clear calls to action. Make it as easy as possible for the reader to get the promotion. This may mean buttons leading to a shopping page on your website or links to pages with already inserted promo codes or registration forms. Just make sure as few steps as possible are involved in going from reading your email to purchasing the product. Don’t make it hard to buy.
By including these three types of emails in your email marketing plan, you can help keep your subscribers engaged, loyal and spending.
I would like to thank Richard Baker at Mmunic for sharing his email communications tips and hints with me for the purposes of this blog post. It’s been a fascinating journey learning about MyReach for my own newsletter; these tips and hints can only make the journey that much more enjoyable.
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