You have launched your website. You have implemented a public relations campaign and have spent loads of money on advertising in trade magazines, magazines and newspapers. But your daily site visitors are still in the single digits and your sales are … well, let’s just say early retirement is no longer an option.
Maybe it’s time to give email marketing a try. However, to be specific, an email newsletter. After all, they require minimal effort to produce and have been shown to increase sales.
Of course, there are many other reasons why email newsletters make good business sense. These are only some of them:
- You can create a marketing campaign on a low budget.
- You can measure the results and find out what works and what doesn’t.
- You can build a personal relationship with a large group of people.
- Your subscribers choose YOU when they sign up for your list.
- You can track customer behavior.
- You can collect user information for specific and targeted campaigns … the list goes on and on.
So, what are you waiting for. It’s time to take the next step and put the power of email newsletters to work for you.
Starting your email newsletter campaign
Before starting any type of marketing or advertising campaign, you need a plan. This is equally true for email newsletters. You don’t need to write a 200+ page document outlining all of your goals and objectives, but you do need to define a few basics before you begin.
- Know your audience. It is not enough to say “they are people who like widgets”. Follow the lead of magazine publishers. They know exactly who their target audience is, how much money they make, what social group they fit into, and what motivates them to buy. Find out who your customers are, then tailor your newsletter based on their needs and wants.
- Take a look at your competition. Yes, you have competition. Find out what they are doing by spending some time researching their product or service. What could you do better? Is there a gap in your service that you can fill?
- Identify the purpose of your newsletter. What do you hope to achieve with your newsletter? Do you want to give your subscribers information about your product to help them make purchasing decisions? If so, you must first help them learn more about your product by letting them see how you can make them smarter, healthier, richer, or more successful. Or do you want to position yourself as an expert in your field? Your goal here is to provide your subscribers with well-written articles that address the issues in your industry. Whatever your goals, your strategy should focus on your goals.
Now that you know what you want your campaign to accomplish, it’s time to start thinking about content. This is usually where the fainthearted run for cover. Do not be afraid. Creating content is not as difficult as it sounds. Here are different methods you can employ to keep your newsletter content up-to-date, relevant, and focused.
- Write it yourself. By far the cheapest long-term approach is to write it yourself. If you like to write and have a lot of content ideas, this may be the best option. Only you can decide.
- Hire writers to write for you. If you are not comfortable writing content yourself, you may consider hiring a professional writer to write it for you. There are many freelance writers who specialize in writing newsletter articles. You will find several at http://www.freelancewriting.com/
- Get content from online article directories. One low-cost option is to get content from article directories, such as Ideamarketers.com, Goarticles.com, Articlecity.com, and Ezinez.com. Articles posted on these sites are generally free, as long as you include the author’s signature when posting.
Design your template
Just as a magazine has a certain look that will attract your subscribers, so should your email newsletter. Decide on a template design and stick to it so your subscribers know what to expect with each edit. Think about how magazines and newspapers have regular columns in each issue. Divide your newsletter into small pieces to make the content easier for readers to digest.
HTML or plain text? It’s really a matter of personal preference and what you think will appeal to your readers the most. The jury is still out on whether one sells better than the other, but when in doubt, offer two lists: one in plain text and one in HTML. So let your subscribers decide.
Ready, Set, Go
You have defined your goals, secured your content, and designed your newsletter. Now all you need to do is put it together and release it to your clients. To do this, you need a mailing list. Start with your own internal list, made up of people who have specifically asked to receive information from you. Set up a subscription form on every page of your website, advertise your newsletter in online ezine directories or other newsletters, and advertise your newsletter in your signature file – the tagline that is, or should be, attached to every email email that you send.
Regardless of how you choose to create your list, never ever become a spammer. Never send your newsletter to anyone who has not specifically requested to receive it. Remember, Can-spam regulations require that every marketing email include an opt-out provision and a valid physical address. If you ignore these rules, you do so at your own risk.
Email newsletters are possibly one of the most effective marketing tools available to online businesses. Take advantage of this opportunity and you are almost guaranteed to attract specific customers to your site, create demand for your product, collect customer data, and ensure the success of your business.