Email newsletters, or ezines, have been around for years. They were one of the first forms of early communication in the online world. And even though they’ve undergone a lot of changes over the years, they still remain a tried and true marketing format.
Depending on your age, you’re probably thinking “email”, really? Rumor has it those 30 and under rarely even open up an email program anymore. And for those 30 and over, its all just a bunch of spam, right?
Wrong. I personally still have about a 45 percent open rate on every ezine I send out. That means almost half of my list opens up and reads my newsletter on a regular basis. They read, they click, and they take action.
Other studies have shown that on average (if you build up a great list), you can expect to find almost half of your list to open up on a regular basis, and read for at least 10 seconds. And up to 35 percent will open it for at least three seconds, meaning they are scanning your information for content relevant to them.
That’s huge. And it definitely proves that email isn’t dead. Not by a longshot.
Whether you are new to ezines and just thinking about starting one up, or have been using one on and off through the years, here are 5 tips to pay attention to:
Tip #1: Rely on a system
I’ve spoken with two potential clients this week about improving their online marketing processes. And in both cases, they were attempting to manage a newsletter list on their own, sending out through their Outlook program. Does that sound like you? If so, stop now.
Outlook isn’t made for sending out multiple emails to a varied list. In fact, if your list gets too big (25? 50? There isn’t a defining amount) Outlook will shut you down, your host may suspend your website, and you can quickly lose all the traction you’ve built to your site.
Instead, rely on a third party system specifically made for ezines, like aWeber or Constant Contact. I prefer aWeber myself, and have used them for years. I like having access to both an ezine system and an autoresponder system. These third party systems also provide you with everything you need to be successful at emailing your list, from list building management tools, to CAN SPAM compliance features, to quick building features for integration with your website. For one low monthly price, you can everything you need to automate your process and keep it manageable too.
Tip #2: Sending consistency
Emailing only becomes reliable when your audience can rely upon you. Send out too frequently and they may delete you because they simply don’t have time. Send out too intermittently and they may forget who you are. Focus in on a frequency that works for you and stick with it – calendar it if you have to. Try once per month at a minimum, or go with twice per month or even once per week if you feel you can handle the workload.
Tip #3: Look and feel
Think about your favorite emails at the moment – what do you like about them? Use those as your templates when creating your own. You can start with one of the templates most third party systems like aWeber have, or create your own to match your branding. If graphics intimidate you, start simple with a text ezine. You can always move up from there. The important thing is to get it out.
Tip #4: Subject line
While most people focus in on the content of your ezine, they often forget about spending quality time on the one thing that matters most: your subject line.
When you receive dozens of emails at a time, most people scan and delete within seconds. Your goal is to be recognizable and avoid the delete key whenever possible. Make sure your emails always come from the same source, and that your subject lines give people enough information to know it pertains to them, and is of interest to them.
Every delivery system is different; some truncate after 60 characters; some will give you even less than that. Recent studies have shown that 10 characters or less have the highest open rate. Second in line are subject lines with 50-59 characters in length.
Tip #5: Make it clickable
From top to bottom, give people a way to click out of the ezine and into your information all over the web. If you’re active on Facebook, make sure to include a Facebook link. If you want people to comment, ask them to leave a message after they click to your information online.
You can even write specifically to motivate people to click back to your site to continue to read. Ask questions, or leave the story line hanging. The goal is to like what you have to say, want more, and click to your site to get it. Once there, they will hopefully find a reason to connect with you in some other manner.