5 R’s To A Better Newsletter
Have you decided that your email newsletter is no longer an activity that you want to waste time on? Maybe, the value you expected hasn’t been realized. Maybe, you’re stuck on what to do next. In this article, we review 5 things you can do right now to spark engagement with your brand’s e-newsletter so you don’t end up throwing in the towel just yet.
Not only is email keeping us in touch with our work buddies but most marketers are seeing consumers pay more attention to the brand emails they see in their inbox. In Mailchimp’s COVID-19 Email Benchmarks, nearly all industries saw an increase in email engagement. Data in Campaign Monitor’s Coronovirus Marketing Trends report concurs with these findings. In addition, at a time when some marketers moved to cut down on email, consumers seemed to desire more, indicating that consumers still see email as a primary source to receive information from brands.
While email may feel like one of the oldest customer engagement methods in the book, it is proven to be one of the most effective; even during a pandemic. When you are effectively using email you can realize:
- More value per conversion
- Higher ROI compared with social media and other marketing activities
Your email newsletter will accomplish this, especially when directed to the right consumer, with the right offers, at the right time, and the right frequency. If you implement the 5 R’s, you will have a more focused and effective newsletter that helps meet both revenue goals and audience engagement expectations. They are:
Do The Research
There are two (2) stages for getting your team in the mindset of delivering relevant content to your audiences. The first is doing the research. And the second is onboarding.
Research will typically take the form of customer segmentation, which along with giving you a wealth of information on your customers, can inform every part of your email marketing strategy, including the content and delivery of your newsletter.
One of the better ways to segment your audience would be through the lens of the customer journey. Throughout the customer journey you have the opportunity to meet your audience with meaningful content that gets them to and through each stage. With the journey in mind you could uncover at least 4 different segments, including those who:
- discover your brand/product/service
- consider your brand
- purchase your brand and
- recommend your brand/product/service.
With the data on your customer’s needs along each point of the journey, you can now onboard your team and all stakeholders. This is an important step. This is how everyone involved in delivering amazing content to your audience goes from a perspective of delivering to an homogenous audience to one of delivering customized content to each segment.
The onboarding process can be complex, but it can made easier by incorporating the voice of the customer throughout. An ideal tool that helps with this is the customer persona, a descriptive visual that gets decision makers and team members familiar with the customer they aim to serve. Personas represent whole segments, are given a name and a physical likeness and are ascribed details that answer the following questions.
What kind of content does this person desire?
What channels does this person go to for content?
How does this person use content in their decision-making?
How useful is our content in their decision-making?
What stage is she in the buying journey?
Personas not only make customers more familiar to stakeholders, they make them more easily accessible for answering questions about what is considered relevant content. They bring the customer to the table when your team decides on how to personalize and deliver content.
Offer A Reward
Personalized emails improve your CTR and sales. When you personalize your emails you are letting the recipients know that you already have a rapport and you remind them that you are a familiar and relevant brand.
One way to give a personalized experience and signal to your audience that you are a relevant brand, is to show recognition. Specifically, show recognition to your customers for their loyalty to your brand. Give them a reward. You can do this by:
- Recognizing them as a new subscribe or a loyal reader
- Acknowledging a birthday or anniversary (ie. Being a customer for a period of time)
- Offering them an incentive or freebie for their loyalty
- Giving them product recommendations at a discount based on their tenure with the brand
- Offering VIP level status and benefits to those customers who spend more/engage more often.
Most importantly, you can express gratitude through your email newsletter. Especially during a time of pain and uncertainty we are all grateful for those who have stuck with us, including our customers. By expressing gratitude through your newsletter, you show your customers how important they are to the brand and your appreciation for their dedication.
Keyword selection is such an important part of every digital marketing effort. And, it is a foundational element in your email marketing and the creation of and delivery of your e-newsletter. For the right keywords, you must do your research. Sound research will give insight on what consumers are searching for around a particular topic or solution, the language they are using to describe that topic or solution, and how often and when they look for this information.
You should research keywords based on history, seasonality and location, characteristics and demographics of your audience, and other criteria important to your business and how you deliver your product/service. Once you have that information, you can plan out the particular topics you will cover in your newsletter, how your product/service can be presented to speak to audience needs and when you will cover the topic in future newsletters.
Next, you can use the keywords you select to strive for higher open rates when you email your newsletter to subscribers. To do this, use your keywords in the subject lines of your email. Because you are using the language your audience uses and presenting a current topic of interest, your subscribers are more likely to open your e-newsletter to find out just how relatable the content is.
You may be asking,
“What is the best day or time to send our newsletter?”
General rules of thumb (for sending brand emails) include:
- Send mid-week, mid-day (Tues, throughThursday, after 9am, before 5pm )
- Monday is good for many, but bad for others
- No weekend email
- No early morning emails
- No nightly emails
That said, there is no true best time that will come from any article or data source outside of your experience with your audience. The best way to find out is by starting with some general insights like the ones provided here, then using that data to experiment with your audience. Your audience will tell you based on when and how frequently they open your emails what the best time is for them to receive your newsletters. And, with this information, you can increase your open rates and the likelihood that your audience will consume your newsletter’s content and act on your call to action.
Another question often asked is,
“How frequently should I send our newsletter?”
This, again, is dictated by your audience. Consider how often you send other kinds of emails and your audience’s frequency tolerance to determine how often to send your newsletter. Many folks unsubscribe due to simply getting too much email from a brand. Use your audience to guide your decision-making.
Your newsletter isn’t simply a way to present information or gift something to your audience you would consider nice to have. It is a way for you to add more customers and subscribers and increase sales. So, throughout your newsletter you are adding CTAs that direct your readers to specific places that allow them to complete an action. This can be signing up for more content or completing a purchase. If you believe that you are doing everything right but fail to realize an expected ROI consider where you are driving your audience to complete the task you are giving them. Assess whether your landing pages are either hindering them from understanding or failing to convince them of what they should be doing.
Let’s take a look at what a landing page is and does.
- It is a focused web page. This means it is clutter-free from anything other than the purpose for which you created the CTA. It should clearly be tied to the newsletter item and direct your audience what to subsequent actions to take.
- It is singularly focused. A landing page should not have multiple agendas tied to multiple CTAs.
- It is focused on a single offer. The one CTA should be tied to the one offer.
A landing page is not:
- A page on your website that gives general information on your business but not the offer or action you expect your audience to complete.
- Does not direct users to other pages. It should keep your audience on the page for the purposes of completing the intended action. The goal is to drive completed conversions.
Use a simple checklist to optimize the landing page experience for your audience.
[ ] Am I using a generic page from our website as a landing page? If so, focus the content or send the reader to another, more focused, page.
[ ] Am I asking the audience to do too much? Make sure there is a singular offer and a singular call to action.
[ ] Are we distracting our audience? Your page should be singularly focused, without distracting information and links that take away from the action you want your audience to complete.
[ ] Are you leading your audience away from the landing page? There should be no other links accept for those that lead to completing the intended action.
With these 5 R’s (Research, Reward, Reword, Right Timing, Re-direct), you have the direction with which you can accomplish some of the more important tasks of creating and delivering your newsletter. You also have the tools to begin to create and deliver a newsletter that converts time and time again.
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