The rise of Internet marketing has created a new way of interacting with customers and prospects. In the past, marketing campaigns typically consisted of placing (often pricey!) ads in newspapers / magazines, or sending out mailers. Most of the time these ads were promotional in nature, getting the word out about the “deal of the week”. You knew how effective the ad was by how many calls or new customers you received during or immediately after the campaign.
Today, online marketing strategy tends to be more relational and longer-term. ROI isn’t always seen right away. The goal is more about branding and positioning yourself as the “go-to” expert in your field than about overtly seeing how many of your products and services you can sell right away. This type of marketing is more content and education-driven than promotional in nature.
Sending out e-newsletters is a prime example of this type of strategy, and can be one of the most effective tools for keeping in regular touch with your customers. You want your name to remain in the forefront of their mind so they’ll call you when the need arises for what you do. They’ll appreciate that you’re providing them with valuable content.
In contrast with traditional mail campaigns, which typically have a 1-2% open rate, email marketing campaigns often lend themselves to open rates in the 40-50% range (depending upon your industry and relationship with your contact list). You’ll have access to stats for each e-blast you send, so you can see who opens your newsletters, which links they click on, and whether they forward it.
Some of the more popular e-newsletter platforms out there include Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, AWeber, iContact, and Mad Mimi. Each provides customizable templates to reflect your own branding and color scheme. You can link to your social media sites and include as many article sections as you wish. You may publish your e-newsletters directly to your social media sites, broadening their exposure. You are also able to archive them on your website, creating a resource bank that visitors can browse through later.
Drive Traffic to Your Web Site
As with any form of online marketing, your newsletter can – and should – strategically drive traffic back to your website/blog, where the reader can discover even more information about your company. One great way to accomplish this is by including teasers from your blog posts, with a “read more” link at the end of each section.
What Should I Include in My Newsletter?
Other ideas for newsletter content include: an embedded video on a topic of interest to your readers, client testimonials, a portfolio of your recent work, current promotions, a spotlight on a customer, a featured product/service, or an upcoming company event.
How Often Should I Send It?
Frequency of newsletters should be determined by putting yourself in your readers’ shoes. If you’re a mechanic, ask yourself how often you’d want to receive an email from your mechanic if you were a customer. Consistency is important, so if you decide to send out a newsletter monthly, try to send it on a predictable schedule – for example, the second Wednesday of the month. If you send out a quarterly newsletter instead, decide at the beginning of the year which four dates you’ll set as target dates.
Keep in mind that not all “send” times are created equal. Studies have shown that emails sent between 10am – 2pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays statistically have better open rates. Mondays and Fridays have the least successful open rates.
Read more about “Rules for Successful Email Marketing Strategy”.