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Ten Tips for Developing a Powerful E-newsletter



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An e-newsletter can be a powerful marketing tool. By providing timely, relevant and useful information on an ongoing basis in this format, your company reinforces your importance and builds value among its customers and prospects. Whether you create your own e-newsletter or use template software, you can put it to work for your company quickly, easily and less expensively than a print newsletter. Here are 10 tips for strengthening your marketing efforts by using an e-newsletter.


Define Your Goals: Clarifying your objectives includes defining your target, which may mean specific segments of your market or the entire market itself. Describe your audience in terms of their demographics, psychographics, needs and interests.

Typical goals include motivating purchases; reinforcing your brand and building trust; increasing awareness; motivating recipients to visit your Web site or store; prompting requests for more information; deepening partner relationships; and increasing attendance for a conference or seminar. You can get additional value from articles by sending your e-newsletter to trade publications for them to reprint specific articles from it.

Decide also on your publishing frequency. Because e-newsletters are delivered at regular intervals, they allow your company to consistently and regularly position itself as a trusted resource. If you send it too infrequently, you’ll be forgotten. Publish at least quarterly, but bimonthly or even monthly is preferable.

2. Build Your Subscriber List: Email your initial newsletter to anyone with whom you’ve had a preexisting business relationship, and confirm their interest in receiving it. Your list should include anyone who has requested more information about your company; names collected at trade shows; your employees’ business contacts; and billing department contacts. Remember to send all of your employees the e-newsletter, as well.

All your marketing efforts should be aimed at growing a well-qualified database. Ask your readers to encourage their colleagues and friends to subscribe. Use your Web site by placing an e-newsletter subscription box or link on some or all of your pages. Use your offline media efforts to drive subscriptions, too.

Employees should include a link to sign up for the e-newsletter in their email signatures. Your partners and strategic alliances might help you spread the word about your publication, if you offer to promote them in it. Consider buying outside lists from a broker and doing an email promotion.

3. Create Compelling Content: Interesting articles are the foundation of any good newsletter. Content should be targeted to your ideal readers and match their preferences and reading style. It should be timely, relevant and useful (or fun and entertaining). Cover a variety of topics, including how-to tips, case studies, trends and the latest developments. Vary the type of the content by using articles, factoids and including a poll.
4. Design Your E-newsletter to Be Attractive and Easy to Read: Using HTML rather than straight text is recommended. It allows you to format your message in an attractive way that’s compatible with your brand image, including using your typeface and colors. The layout should help organize content and make it easy for subscribers to find material of personal interest. Use a limited number of graphics to add visual appeal. Be consistent from issue to issue in the placement of name and contact information and the design layout. Make email and website addresses clickable.
5. Attend to the Details: Include a way for recipients to unsubscribe or opt-out. All requests to be added or deleted should be handled within five business days. Assure people that you won’t sell their names by including a link to your privacy statement. And make sure to include a copyright statement.
6. Make the Right First Impression: These days, if you don’t get it right upfront, your email will end up deleted before it’s even opened.

Include a real person’s name in the “from” line. Place your company or product name either there or in the subject line. Hone your subject line by making a pithy statement (30-40 characters including spaces, or 5-8 words) with a specific benefit. Personalize the e-newsletter, if possible. When a recipient’s name is not available, use a term such as colleague, subscriber or some other appropriate word. Ideally, you should conduct a small test of several subject lines to see which gets opened more often.

7. Increase Response Rates: The rates at which emails are opened vary greatly and depend on many factors, including the list and subject line. Timing can also play into response. The rule of thumb is to send B2B emails on Tuesday through Thursday between 10 AM and 3 PM. On the other hand, consumers may be more responsive if it’s sent in the evening or on weekends. However, it sometimes pays to stand out by breaking the rules. Test sending your e-newsletter on different days and at different times to see what works best for you.

Follow Up When and Where Appropriate: Provide a confirmation message whenever someone subscribes or unsubscribes. It’s not only courteous; it’s good business. Be prepared to handle inbound email responses and questions resulting from your e-newsletters. Follow-through is as important as the initial contact.

9. Test Before Sending: Before sending to the entire list, send to a small internal list to check everything. Is the e-newsletter formatted correctly? Are the right typefaces, type sizes and colors used? Are the graphics loading in the right size and location? Are all the HTML links working and linking to the correct URLs? Check spelling and grammar as well.
10. Calculate Your ROI: Determine the metrics upon which you will evaluate the performance of your e-newsletter. For example: open rate, click-through rate, subscribe/unsubscribe rates and conversion rates. Compare results by market segment. If possible, measure the revenue produced by subscribers before and after they subscribed.
Prepared by:

Geri Stengel, president of Stengel Solutions, a business strategist.  She can be reached at 212-362-3088 or E-mail

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Contact Geri Stengel at
  212.362.3088 or E-mail

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