- A Fairy Story
- Avoiding the seven sins of email
- Be streetwise to get the message home
- Choosing an email provider: Ten questions
- Discover the secrets of successful surveys
- Nine tips for building opt-in lists
- Planning and designing surveys
- Seven-step newsletter launch plan
- Six tips for effective newsletters
Seven-step newsletter launch plan
Now you know why newsletters are important and where you can find content for them, you'll be itching to launch your own.1. Build a following
Some might say if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So with that in mind, here's our seven-step newsletter launch plan.
We mean it sincerely, we really do: You are the nicest audience we've had the pleasure to email. If you weren't there reading this, we'd just be emailing ourselves. How sad would that be?
Your first job is to build a database of recipients. Ask around the sales team and add regular customers and prospects you've been dealing with to the list. Size doesn't matter - it's more important to send well-targeted newsletters to the right people than it is to have a massive list.
Don't buy or rent lists - nobody likes spammers and so-called 'opt-in lists' are nothing of the sort. (When was the last time you asked to have your email address sold on?)
To grow your database, offer your contacts a subscription at every opportunity. Integrate a subscription request in your order forms, your website enquiry form and your sales call scripts. Ask partners if they'll help you to promote the database to their prospects.
2. Write the message right
For each story, develop one idea without rambling into unrelated areas. If you've got too much to say, save some ideas for the next issue.
Keep sentences, paragraphs and articles short. Use subheadings to make it easy to skim-read content. Don't have more than a couple of hundred words without a break - a wall of text puts readers off.
Don't just be a writer: be an editor too. Plan your publication with regular sections so readers get used to its format and it appears more professional. Spellcheck and proofread repeatedly. You'd be amazed at what msitakes can slip through (sic).
Personalise the greeting and you'll grab the reader's attention but don't squander it by then sending irrelevant stories.
Think of your content as half a conversation and don't be afraid to use humour where appropriate. If you can't imagine the recipient saying much beyond 'uh-huh', come up with something more interesting.
3. Dress it up
It's got to look good. Keep your brand strong and consistent with your other communications, but don't overload the email with pictures. Use a mixture of text and graphics.
By using columns you can get more than one story at the top of the screen and make the email easier on the eye. More than two columns is confusing though.
Not everyone can read snazzy emails, so let recipients choose between a plain text and a HTML newsletter.
4. Keep this date
Keep to a regular schedule (such as every Friday) and you'll build rapport and create expectation before your newsletter arrives.
Send newsletters daily, weekly, two-weekly or monthly: write any less often and you'll be forgotten.
When you start, experiment with different times of the day to see when you get the best response.
5. Send it out
Sending the email can consume your bandwidth and your time, so consider calling in the professionals.
Email marketing providers can supply software that makes your campaigns easier to manage and distribute. They can also do it all for you, taking care of delivering the emails and updating the database with removal requests, bounces and replies. More importantly, they understand how to get messages delivered at a time when many ISPs are blocking bulk senders in case they're sending spam.
6. Test and send
Test everything - email a sample of your database and measure the impact of different subject lines, email formats, send times and content. Optimise your campaign before you send it to your whole database.
7. The morning after
Respond to any replies promptly so you can maintain the momentum.
Watch your bounces to work out whether the email addresses are broken, or whether your email content was blocked. If your message was blocked, talk to your email provider about how they can help ensure your emails are delivered.
Count the removal requests too. If you've got more than a few percent asking to unsubscribe, you're doing badly. Review the quality of your email database and make sure your content really is providing something of value to them.
Study what stories people clicked through from - and which they didn't - and use this together with any feedback you're sent to refine your next newsletter.
We know it's hard work producing great newsletters, but it's also rewarding.
We help many clients to communicate with their customers and prospects via email newsletters. We also provide content management technology, so you can control and manage your campaigns directly.
If you'd like help with any aspect of your newsletter campaign - from strategy and creative to execution - we'd love to hear from you on 020 7628 4444.