Newsletters don’t get the recognition they deserve in the world of online marketing, which is why they’re so interesting to us. Few brands utilize email to its full potential but the ones who do find it indispensable. You can be one of those brands. All you have to do is keep reading. Or give us your email address and we can send it to you later.
Let’s start with this: your email list should be treated as a way to reward subscribers, and your audience should feel excited being on the list.
The Hardest Working Segment
Consider why everybody hates spam, and you will discover it’s because people view their email account as more private property than any other platform. People are very selective of who they want to see in their inbox. It’s a medium of consent, especially in Canada. Rather than seeing this consent requirement as an obstacle, think of it as a feature. Those who think creatively thrive within restrictive parameters.
Rather than tricking someone into giving you their email, once they affirm “yes, I would like to hear more from you” it’s important for brands not to squander this trust. Even if your newsletter list is a fraction of your overall consumer base, it’s comprised of the most loyal and engaged segment. Much like the Pareto principle, the 20% of your most invested and engaged customers tend to be the ones who work hardest for you with repeat purchases, referrals, and word-of-mouth.
Now what can you provide to them?
A World of Hidden Opportunities
Some brands – especially those already employing content marketing – will opt for the obvious “content roundup” email, which is a recap of everything they’ve published that week, along with a short summary. Essentially you’re using email as a way to broadcast to an audience that does not like social media or checking your website. However, you could also use this opportunity to provide new content. This way, you’re providing your subscribers to something the rest of your audience doesn’t get, and this is an extra incentive for people to give you their address. If your audience knows the emails provide them nothing other than what they already know, they are likely to unsubscribe. No matter what, keep email content as original and unique as possible.
Providing new content as a reward is a great idea, but this strategy can be taken even further: offer the recipient actual rewards. For example, how about using your email to provide deals, insider information, early access, or anything with deeper value to the reader? Just how far can we customize the offer to make the recipient actually excited to hear from you?
Here’s an example: if you’re a restaurant, make sure to track date of birth on all sign-ups so you can send a “happy birthday” email along with a special birthday discount the day-of. Another example: offer your subscribers special early-access to a piece of content you are producing and request their input to improve it, even going so far as to offer a prize for the most thoughtful criticism.
The heightened benefit here is that your most loyal followers get the feeling they’re joining an exclusive club, or a special tier reserved to people who care the most.
Email Builds Brand Loyalty and Repeat Customers
What we are talking about here is the transaction implied when someone grants you access to a more intimate form of conversation. If people feel at any point that the transaction is unbalanced – and it’s just used as another ad delivery service – their will either unsubscribe or, even worse, mark you as spam. If enough people do that, your business account will start delivering automatically to spam folders. This is why, rather than looking at an email database as a promotional pool, one must look at it like a specialized, more loyal audience. Once you shift your perspective, new ideas will emerge.
There’s some easy tips everyone can implement today. Write the email like a real person would, like you would write one to your friend; a subject line should not be a sales pitch, and this is particularly hard for many brands to fully comprehend. It truly requires you know your brand and understand how it is perceived, and once you accomplish this you can find your brand voice and then you can start talking to people in a way they enjoy. For now, just remember to keep subject lines short and to the point.
Lastly, don’t try to be tricky in your subject line. There are people out there who bait people to open with “URGENT NEWS” or “God called and you’re fired.” You just end up angering your audience that way. Marketers love doing this to other marketers. You’ll see a spike in people opening the email but then a spike in unsubscribes as well. Don’t simply look for open rates; what you want to measure is actual engagement with clickthroughs while monitoring your unsubscription numbers.
You want to make your email personal, you want to make your email to have a goal attached to it, and you want your email to be desired. The good news is, doing it right means doing it more simply.