Newsletters - Keeping Your Customers Informed
Many businesses use email newsletters to introduce themselves to new customers and to maintain contact with existing and past clients. By sending useful and relevant information on a consistent, regular basis, you maintain constant contact without the risk of irritating and alienating your customers. Your email newsletter will also enhance your credibility and increase sales.
The following article offers advice on how to produce your own newsletter. For more detailed information on how to establish credibility and build online relationships, download our guide "Building Online Relationships" here: enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_4.html
Producing your newsletter doesn't have to be a daunting task. The first thing you need to decide upon is the frequency of publication. This is could be based on how much time you can devote to writing each month or possibly the frequency of new offers or products you would like to extend to your potential customers. A frequency of bi-monthly to monthly has been shown to achieve the best results and will probably be a comfortable pace for both you and your readers.
Next you will need to decide upon a format for your newsletter. You can use a graphical format that will allow accurate tracking of open rates, links visited, etc or a text only version that offers a higher level of deliverability. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and a more in-depth look at these can be found in our guide: "Building Online Relationships" which can found here: enable-uk.co.uk/html/book_4.html
If you wish to proceed with a graphical design you will next need to produce a template design for your layout. Many email list management companies provide online templates for their customers and with many you can also upload your own template. Once this is set up you simply type or paste in your text information online, and an HTML newsletter is automatically created for you.
Now it's time for the content of your newsletter. Concentrate on topics that your readers will be interested in and offers or product announcements that are appropriate to them.
For example, I once bought some printer ink from an online retailer that offered me the opportunity to sign up for their special offers newsletter. Every month, regular as clockwork, I receive the latest special offers via email. These offers not only include ink, but also other stationary items that may be appropriate. It always prompts me to check my ink supplies, along with my stocks of stationary and a whole range of other similar items before deleting it. If I didn't get that e-mail from them, I would have probably bought the next batch of ink cartridges from whoever came up in an online search. And as it saves me time and because keeping these things all in one place is easier for me, they also now get my orders for stationary items as well.
Your newsletter could be product offerings and special offers mixed in with useful product reviews, or it may be a recap of what's going on in your industry or tips useful to your customers. If you aren't a writer there are often articles available for reprint in most industries. Most of these are available to use free of charge providing that you include a short bio and link back to the writer's web site. Make sure the content you use has relevant value to your readers and is not just a topic that interests you.
Once written, make sure you archive the newsletter on your web site for additional content and make the archives available for browsing. This will also improve your search engine rankings as the content will be highly relevant and targeted to your customers. Having an archive will also encourage new subscribers as they find you through your articles.
Most web hosts have some mailing list capability, or you can compose and mail your newsletter in Outlook. If you intent to build a sizable list it is often best to use one of the many third-party mailing services, these also take care of the opting in/out process and make sure you adhere to all legal requirements.
I would recommend Vertical Response whom we have used for several years to manage our lists. They can be found here: click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=EavljUFQjXk&offerid=52409.10000007&type=1&subid=0
Top Tips for successful email newsletter campaigns: Getting Subscribers:
· Do not purchase, trade or borrow an email list
Sending email to people who have not specifically requested to receive your mailings (opting in) is almost always regarded as spam. You will succeed only in alienating your potential customers.
· Make signing up and un-subscribing easy and visible
Add a sign-up form to your home page and if possible, somewhere on every page of your web site. You can also ask your customers whether they would like to sign up when you speak with them in person. You may want to ask subscribers only for their email address, first and last name, and one or two other questions such as their interests. This will allow you to target future mailings but not put off your prospects by being too invasive. In general, the less information you require, the more likely people are to sign up.
· Use double opt-in registration
There are two standard methods for online registration, single and double opt-in. Single opt in requires that you enter an email address into a web site and click on the sign up or subscribe button. With double opt in you will be sent an email to the address you have used when signing up and you will need to click a link on it in order to verify that you wish to receive the publication. Double opt-in is the preferred method because it requires confirmation and therefore establishes that it is the owner of the email address that has signed up.
Maintaining your subscriber list:
· Send a welcome message to each new subscriber
When you receive a subscription request, send a welcome message immediately. Include a description of what they will receive and how frequently, and how to unsubscribe. It is also a good idea to try to get them to return immediately to your web site. You can offer a timed discount or a link to previous free articles, anything you think that might get them to look again at your offering.
· Keep accurate sign-up records
Occasionally you or your Internet service provider (ISP) may receive a spam complaint from someone who forgot they subscribed to your list. Keep accurate records that include the date and web address from which they signed up. Using a third party mailing service should prevent this.
· Ask your members to opt in again if you are using an older list
If you have not sent a mailing for a while, ask subscribers to indicate that they want to continue to remain on your list by sending you an email, clicking a link or visiting a web page. Make it as simple as possible to reaffirm their interest to avoid losing potential customers.
· Remind people that they subscribed
Include a standard heading each time you send a message. A short note such as "Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter" will remind recipients that they requested your mailings and that the content of the newsletter will be of interest to them.
Producing an effective newsletter:
· Avoid spam terms in your subject line and message text
If your message contains words frequently used by spammers, people will delete it and possibly file a spam complaint. ISPs often filter emails with suspicious subject lines; also note that it is illegal to use deceptive or misleading ones. Avoid obvious spam words like "free" and if in doubt, good mailing services offer a free spam check facility prior to your newsletter being sent out. They will actually scan the newsletter and alert you to any words that might set off the spam filters.
Vertical Response offer this service, click here for a free trial: click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=EavljUFQjXk&offerid=52409.10000007&type=1&subid=0
· Include your physical address and phone number
Put your phone number and postal address in your message. This allows readers to contact you to place an order or inquire about your services. In addition, legislation in some countries requires that physical addresses are included on commercial email messages.
· Send your mailings regularly
Keep in touch with your subscribers frequently so they don't forget they signed up to receive your mailings. They will begin to anticipate your messages if you adhere to a regular schedule.
· Reply promptly to each inquiry or spam complaint
If you receive an inquiry or a spam complaint, respond to it as soon as possible. Always include the subscriber's sign-up information with your response.
Following these simple suggestions will help you retain your subscriber base, which is fundamental for a thriving permission-based electronic newsletter or marketing campaign.
If you are considering using a third party mailing service, I would recommend that VerticalResponse's iBuilder is the email marketing solution you need to build your opt-in mailing lists, publish your online newsletters and manage your direct email advertising campaigns, right from your browser.
Click the link for a free trail: click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=EavljUFQjXk&offerid=52409.10000007&type=1&subid=0
For a complete guide to marketing on the Internet, including:
· The General Principles of Internet Marketing
Why not purchase the whole series of downloadable guides for the discounted price of £64.95. Click for more information: enable-uk.co.uk/html/promo_ebooks.html
To catch up with previous issues of this newsletter, visit: enable-uk.co.uk/html/internet_marketing_newsletter_.html
Coming up next month, "How to Build Your Subscriber List" If you have any questions about any of the topics raised or any other Internet Marketing issues, feel free to email me at Justine@enable-uk.co.uk. I do my best to answer all emails or to cover the issues in future editions of this newsletter.
Feel free to forward this newsletter provided that it is sent in its entirety. To use this newsletter in any other format, please email for permission to Justine@enable-uk.co.uk
Internet Marketing Tips Newsletter is a monthly publication of Enable-UK
Copyright © 2004 Enable-UK
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