I would like to welcome Chris Gordon to the Journal! Chris manages Channel, Social Media and Affiliate Marketing for Swiftpage and will be a regular guest blogger here. Be sure to check out Chris' bio - he's got a really interesting background!
Chris, we're so glad to have you here, thank you for your contribution!
Businesses use newsletters as a tool to actively engage and inform their clients. Sending an electronic newsletter, or E-newsletter, is extremely cost-effective (especially when compared to mailing a print newsletter) and has a measurable ROI through the use of online reports. When done properly and consistently, E-newsletters can become a staple marketing piece for nearly any business. Getting the results (open-rates, clicks, forwards, new subscribers) you desire with your E-newsletter will take persistence, and the successful implementation of a few best practice guidelines is sure to help along the way.
1) Scheduling the Send- Be consistent in your send so your recipients come to expect your E-newsletter. In deciding when you want to send your newsletter, do some preliminary research. Look into when it is most likely that your newsletter will be received well by your specific audience. Keep in mind that consistency is a key factor in setting expectation, so once you have decided on a plan of action, stick to it. If over time your open-rates remain low, test a different send day and compare your results.
2) Testing…and MORE testing- Send your email to multiple internal recipients for a thorough copy and link check. Then send to multiple ESP’s (Email Service Providers) for a design and layout check, all before you even think about sending to your customers. The more opportunities you take to test and review, the better results you will receive over time.
3) Managing Replies- Manually monitor the replies to your firstname.lastname@example.org email address to ensure that any manual unsubscribes or actual customer replies are quickly and accurately managed. Many newsletters are sent from a "no-reply@" email address, which implies one-way communication opposed to client feedback. Don't make this mistake. The best marketing is based on relationships and two-way communication. Take the time to learn from your customers by managing your replies.
4) Reporting- Check reports at the same duration after the send (between 4-6 days) and record the results for easy comparison. This will help you compare your results to previous sends to determine what subject lines, timing, day of the week and links are most successful with your recipient group. It is important to know what's working and what's not so you can improve and adjust as needed for future sends. Make sure you record your results over time to ensure you are not repeatedly making the same mistakes due to forgetfulness.
Create your newsletter, test it, get feedback, assess the feedback, and adjust accordingly. We hope that these tips will encourage you to a second look at your own E-newsletter, re-focusing on the fundamentals to help get the results you desire. If you are having trouble with the design or layout of your Newsletter, consider contacting Bright Peak for help.