How to plan an effective e-newsletter campaign

In these days of blogs and twitter, are old-fashioned email newsletters outdated?  Or can you carefully craft a tortoise that will creep in among the hares and build a closer relationship with your customers that results in higher revenues?  (See my other post on How to create a club for your best customers)Well I believe that if you have a quality list and can create great content then email is still worth considering.  It’s also low cost and easy to test.  Here are five tips to help you plan your campaign:

1. Build a quality list

Think hard about who your prospects are and where to find them.  Take every opportunity to collect data across your site. See my post on data collection ideas. Concentrate on quality not quantity – focus on people who will want you to keep in touch.  Don’t ask for too much profile data upfront as it can annoy people.  Clean your list regularly as email dates rapidly.

2. Design content worth passing on

It’s tempting to use the newsletter to sell, to broadcast and to mollify your internal team and stakeholders.  Avoid all these temptations.  Keep putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes – what’s in it for them?  Design content that they will want to forward to a friend, that is useful, that helps them with their job or their leisure activity, that is worth keeping.  You can sell as well, but keep it subtle.

3. Get past the inbox

You have to be focussed to get your email opened and not deleted.  Keep your message simple, benefits-driven and compelling.  Design your page so it works in the distorted world of the viewing pane.  Watch out for image blockers that ruin your lovely design.  And keep on being useful, topical, worth reading.  If you drop the ball one time, you may not get another chance.

4. Create a flow to action

Think through exactly what you want the user to do – to click on a link, reach a landing page, take the action you want.  Just driving traffic isn’t really enough, you need to have a simple flow through to the required action, whether that is contributing to the site, buying a product or contacting you to request more information.

5. Track and learn

It’s hard to predict in advance what will work.  The only way is to continually analyse what is happening, test different approaches and keep evolving.  Observe what your competitors – and businesses in similar industries – are doing.

I’d be keen to hear what you find works, and see examples of brilliant e-newsletter campaigns.  Just comment on this post.

Carolyn Morgan’s consultancy business, Penmaen Media, creates practical digital media and marketing strategies that grow your revenues.  If you’d like to discuss how you can get closer to your customers and grow your business, please contact us.