Top 20 Tips for a Successful Newsletter

We've found that clients are encountering challenges around running an ongoing newsletter programme. So we thought it might be worth putting down our top tips for how to succeed.
  1.     Identify your target audience and build a customer profile that highlights their interests, demographic and preferences.
  2.     Decide the purpose of your newsletter up front so it is clear consistently throughout the programme. Examples could include thought leadership, educating the readers or as a lead generation tool positioning the company/brand with new audiences.
  3.     Develop an email marketing schedule including regular content areas/features, frequency of the newsletter and timelines associated with developing content and ownership (whom will do what by when).
  4.     Develop a design that represents your brand, website and perhaps even give the newsletter its own visual identity. Be mindful of any corporate branding guidelines including colour schemes and themes.
  5.     Add a subscription form to your website and other online areas in order to collect email addresses. The signature of your normal email is often overlooked as a route for promoting sign-up to a newsletter.
  6.     If you are acquiring new prospective data for the programme, ensure that the data complies with the opt-in email legislation for the country that the recipient is in. If you are directing the newsletter to existing customers, ensure that the audience has not opted out in any way for certain types of messages.
  7.     Consider using a double opt-in method for all intended members of the newsletter. This would confirm that each member is happy to receive your newsletter and even though it might reduce the overall number of contacts, it would create a more interested and engaged readership.
  8.     Send a welcome message to new list members showing your appreciation for their interest in the newsletter. It might even be worthwhile to provide a link for previous issues for the new subscriber to digest something right away.
  9.     Be vigilant about keeping the data up-to-date. Particularly if unsubscribes and changes of opt-in or preferences are being logged through multiple channels.
  10.     Monitor the behaviour of your readers and ensure you stay in touch with the members through other means of communication too.
  11.     Find a balance with regards to the frequency of your mailing. If emailed too often the audience might feel bombarded. If email to infrequently it might lessen the impact of your messages and the reader might even have forgotten that they joined.
  12.     Ensure compliance with email legislation in the country the recipients reside. Within the UK, all B2B emails must include a clear indication of the Sender, a physical mailing address and a working unsubscribe. The trend is currently to also include things like privacy policy, company registration number as well as a copyright statement, a phone number and website link.
  13.     Try using personalisation suitable for your audience. 'Dear Prefix LastName' might be suitable for some audiences, whilst 'Dear FirstName' might work well in other circumstances.
  14.     Subject lines are becoming increasingly important as they are used by recipients to decide if they will read on. Think carefully about the subject lines being used and ensure they are relevant to the content of the newsletter.
  15.     Image blocking and preview panes (vertical and horizontal) also contribute to how well your message is received upon first glance.
  16.     Segment the target audience depending on their preferences, habits, and interests. This would allow for a more targeted strategy when developing your messaging.
  17.     Make sure there are links to your social media channels in the newsletter. Icons for social media are instantly recognisable (YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc) and are useful when trying to reach a wider audience, building the brand presence as well as increasing your subscriber base.
  18.     Tracking statistics such as unique clicks and unique opens provide useful metrics to gage your success and calculate marketing ROI. Other functions available that can be used to judge success in some broadcast tools are 'hotspots'. These are colour coded and overlaid on your newsletter design to indicate how people are reading your newsletter and what content is proving popular. Unsubscribes and hard bounces are other key performance indicators to monitor closely.
  19.     Refresh the design, content areas and layout on a regular basis to ensure that the audience stays engaged and that they are looking forward to receiving your communication.
  20.     Make sure that you continuously test different options for subject lines, use of images vs text and position of content to improve and ensure the ongoing success of your newsletter programme.
Feel free to share this with marketers that you think might find this tips useful.

Article Source: Chris_Harding

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