Actually, I prefer the terms 'newsletter' or 'eFlyer'. An 'eBlast' just sounds like something you don't want to be standing near when it goes off.
Whatever you call it, an effective email marketing strategy will build trust in your brand by keeping your audience informed and giving them a reason to return to your website again and again. YES, people do need a reason to visit your website. That reason is your content, and email campaigns, which are oft regarded as the lowly pack mule of content delivery, remain one of the most effective methods of engaging your audience. Because, no matter where we all go within our own digital universes, we never wander too far from our inbox.
According to The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project  which studied the most popular online activities of adults from 2002 - 2011, email interaction consistent ranked the highest - at above 90%. In other words, Grandma might not be sorting feeds on TweetDeck any time soon, but both Grandma and her 18 year-old granddaughter check their email almost daily.
Here are some pointers that will make you want to wield your laser pointer above your head and boldly proclaim at your next marketing meeting, "I HAVE THE NEWSLETTER!"
1) Have something to say.
We have a love/hate relationship with our inbox just like we do with our physical mailbox. I love it when I see my name on a handwritten letter from a friend. I don't love it when I see that CitiCorp has pre-approved Mr. Stack or Current Resident for a low APR (asterisk, asterisk). So, when you're crafting your newsletter content, make sure your have something to share that's meaningful to your audience. After all, these are the people that have already committed to a relationship with your brand. This is your opportunity to stay in touch with them by offering them the best of what you have: discounts on products, timely updates, moving/funny stories, six-minute abs…you name it.
How do you know what you're going to say? Develop a Content Schedule.
2) Keep your sales message on the down low.
Whether you sell houses or mustache wax, folks want solutions more than they want to be sold to. So make it more about what you can offer them and perhaps a bit less about what they can buy from you. This builds trust and trust opens emails. Let your content be the bridge that connects your subscribers to your sales message in a meaningful way. Without this bridge, your call to action won't be as able to cross the canyon that divides them. It will be more Homer on Bart's skateboard than Evil Knievel.
3) Make it short and sweet.
You have your subscriber's attention, but don't monopolize their time. Think of your newsletter more like a great pop or punk song: brief and full of hooks that will draw your audience in. No experimental acid-jazz-fusion jam here. Keep your design simple, easy to read and limit the amount of graphics you use so that your content and call to action are not lost in the noise.
4) This time - make sure it gets personal.
"Dear Beloved…I am Nigerian prince who want to bestow upon you 11,000,000 US pounds and 3 comely English Bulldog puppies."
No, thank you, my prince. Besides, I'm more of a cat person.
Tailor your newsletter content to your audience. Plus, most email campaign systems these days can be set up to auto-populate fields within your email's body copy with info the user gave you when they subscribed…like their name, or occupation, or city they live in. I don't have the numbers on this, but I think we're all more likely to open mail addressed to us rather than something addressed to 'Sir or Madam' from an unknown source.
5) Make sure that the subject line has the Power of Grayskull.
Having a compelling subject line is key to the success of your email campaign. In fact, studies show that a solid subject line is the most critical factor in determining whether your email gets opened or junked. Subject lines and the From line are the two things a user sees before they decide to open an email. Here are few guidelines to follow when composing a subject line…
- Make your offer or benefit clear and up front
- Keep your subject lines between 50-85 characters
- Compose a unique subject line for every email campaign
- Avoid words that imply diminished value or that work is involved: Free, Percent off, Help, Reminder
- Also, avoid terms that may trigger a spam filter: The recipient’s name, Information you requested, Special Promotion, Winner, Guarantee, As seen on, No fees
- DO use terms like: Quick, Easy, Simple, Here, Here's how
- DON'T make promises that aren't true
The bottom line is that your email marketing strategy can increase your bottom line. It's your opportunity to remain relevant to your audience, and in doing so achieve the goals you have for your website.
Interested in learning more about how establishing an effective email marketing campaign can help your company connect with more customers, or how developing a Content Strategy can give your brand a voice in the social & digital marketplace? Edge can help with that.