If you’re a business-to-business marketer then email newsletters may well be an ideal permission marketing channel for you. They're cost-effective to implement and provide a strong, measurable return on investment (ROI).
Email newsletters give you an opportunity to stay in regular contact with customers and prospects, letting them know about new products you are offering and also educating them about issues related to your industry. Through careful use of content and by tracking your campaigns you can also identify issues of particular interest to groups of customers and use this information to improve your sales efforts.
There are several important things to consider when producing an email newsletter:
Frequency – you need to send out your newsletter on a regular basis, so that recipients come to expect it. Many people find monthly works well, but it depends on your audience. Whatever frequency you choose, make sure that you tell recipients how often they can expect to receive your emails and then stick to it!
Content – make your newsletter worth reading! It shouldn't be too sales-driven, use your industry knowledge to provide readers with extra useful information that shows you're an expert in your field.
Tracking – the great thing about email is that it's so measurable: you should be able to see who is reading your newsletters, when they're engaging and what links they're clicking on, making it easy to identify your return on investment – you can also use this information to help you improve future newsletters.
Timing – when you send your campaign can have a big effect on results. If your audience is office-based then there's no point sending your newsletter at weekends or late at night – most people tend to clear their inboxes out as quickly as possible first thing in the morning, especially on Mondays, so you may find your hard work wasted! Send out your message at a time when you think people will be willing to receive it – perhaps just before or after lunch. Experiment and see what works best for your audience.
Audience – make sure your recipients have asked to hear from you. You can collect details from existing customers, at tradeshows, from your website and many other places, but make sure people know that you'll be sending them your newsletter and make sure it's easy for them to unsubscribe if they want to.
Design – your newsletter is a reflection on your business, so it should match your corporate identity. You don't need to go to the expense of having a designer produce each email for you though. A single design template can be used in a newsletter creation tool like Sign-Up.to which then allows you to quickly and easily drop in new content yourself (or have a bureau service do it for you at minimal cost). This lets you produce great-looking newsletters quickly and at low cost.
Delivery – in these days of firewalls and stringent anti-spam measures, sending your newsletter from Outlook just won't cut it – many of your recipients will never see your email and your efforts will be wasted. Outsourcing to a service provider will improve your results and give you added features like automated bounce and unsubscribe handling, tracking and delivery reports – and it will still cost a fraction of a postal mailout!
Follow these simple tips and you'll be off to a great start. Look at your tracking results to continually learn from what you do and make every campaign better than those you've sent before. Try new things, experiment and make sure that you measure response.