Newsletters are an effective way to build brand credibility, nurture leads and gather customer information. Really, they should be a staple of every e-marketing strategy.
But they’re only effective if they’re actually being looked at. Having a high open and click through rate is dependent on sending timely, relevant, interesting and helpful content. Otherwise, rather than clicking through, your customers will simply click away and tune out.
Our Smart Foundations e-newsletters have above-average open rates. How do we do it? Here are a few secrets to our success.
Don’t add to inbox clutter. Unless you have something to tell your customers that absolutely cannot wait, only mail out quarterly. Think about the sheer volume of email that arrives in your inbox every day – how much of it do you dismiss? By mailing quarterly, your customers will come to recognize that your company has something interesting to say because you don’t appear in their inbox frequently. If you want to stay top of mind more often, consider sending short (100 words) informational eblasts in the in-between months.
Have a Zen schedule. There’s value in keeping an infrequent calendar and not rigidly mailing out on the same day every month. It’s amazing how many business owners will come to recognize a pattern and then discount it as being a scheduled mail out and therefore not important.
Choose your months carefully. Yes the month matters. The best months for quarterly newsletters are February (everyone is looking for a distraction in February), May (catch your readers before they tune out for the summer) and November (catch your readers before they tune out for the holidays). And, since you need a fourth, August will do – but quite frankly you’re screwed regardless of the summer month you choose. Here’s where being Zen comes in handy, and the summer quarterly newsletter can sometimes accidentally be forgotten until after Labour Day.
Choose your days carefully. Days of the week matter too. Traditionally Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays were the best choices, but recently Friday newsletters are seeing a fair bit of success. Why? Because more and more SMB owners are putting Fridays aside to catch up on email and other desk work. Also, be mindful of holidays (in both Canada and the U.S. if you have cross-border clients) and then avoid the entire week following or preceding the holiday, as vacations are higher during short weeks.
Mix it up. Since you’re only mailing out 4 times a year, include multiple articles to showcase your expertise. Consider including an opinion-based one and a fact-based one and/or maybe a lighter one that uses humour and lets your personality shine. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE A NEWSLETTER TO SELL your products and/or services. Highlight your expertise, not your ability to sell.
Call a spade a spade. If you’re sure that your database is correct, go ahead and code your newsletters to read “Dear Kevin,” at the top. But, if your database doesn’t correctly breakout first names from last names and/or company name, scratch that. Readers like the personal touch, but hate mashed-up hybrids like “Dear Kevin Maynard,” “Dear Maynard,” or “Dear Smart Foundations.”
Keep it legit. Above all, be CASL compliant. Nothing, and we say nothing, will turn a customer away faster than receiving a newsletter that they are certain they already opted out of or asked not to receive in the first place.