The e-mail newsletter is the workhorse for many marketers these days. People are desperately seeking high-quality content and when they find someone that delivers it on a consistent basis they subscribe, open and respond.
Most e-mail service providers have created tools that make things like list building, e-mail design, list management and e-mail analytics fairly simply and robust, but there are still a handful of tactics that are in the hands of the business trying to build a following and careful execution of these essential tactics can make a big difference in terms of list building and engagement.
The following seven tactics should be considered fundamental to your newsletter.
1. Sell it and sample it. Many marketers offer subscription forms on every page of their websites, but it is also a good idea to create a landing page just for your newsletter that spells out content, privacy policies and calls to action.
Even though your newsletter is free you still must build up why someone would want to receive it. Tell them what they can expect and even offer up an archive of past newsletters so they can really get a feel for the content you deliver.
2. Use a “thank you” page. Redirect subscribers to a page that thanks them for subscribing and assures them of what to expect next. This is also a great place to talk about bonus content or even test out a very low cost offer with a special act now price. The key element here is that you are building trust and engagement at every step.
3. Exchange lots of value. There is no exact formula but you can bet that if all you do is sell, people won’t stay engaged very long. Think in terms of producing six to eight valuable pieces of content for every one offer. Quite often marketers will keep their newsletter all educational and mail offers as solo mailings between regular issues.
4. Create consistent schedule. Determine how often you intend to send your newsletter, tell people what the schedule is and stick to it. There is no exact right number of contacts, but most businesses would find it hard to produce something people valued and read more often than once a week. However, going too long between e-mails can make it hard to build trust and familiarity.
5. Ask for feedback. Use your frequent communication schedule to ask your readers for feedback. Don’t just ask about your company or products, ask them what they would like you to write about or share in future issues. Also ask them to share stories about their businesses and lives.
6. Serve snacks. People want things they can easily scan these days so many successful newsletters are designed with this snack-size chunks of content approach. Think in terms of sharing six or eight small bits with links to full articles and blog posts. This way you can easily share some of your own content while spreading the word about other great articles you’ve found. This helps you produce value-filled editions of your newsletter, while potentially developing relationships with other content producers.
7. Be sharable. Make sure that your newsletter content is easy to tweet, Like and share in various forms. Encourage your subscribers to do so and include a link to an archived version of the newsletter available on your website. Lots of people pass e-mail newsletters on to friends via e-mail so consider adding some language that links to a landing page where they can subscribe to get their own.
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
Read more marketing advice from John.