Best Practices for Email Newsletter – What Marketers Need to Know
by Nitin Gupta, on Aug 31, 2017 9:53 AM
Every time a marketing team meets to discuss the marketing strategy, someone would usually raise their hand and make suggestions about launching an email newsletter. The proposal may even be accepted, but the big question that marketers face is whether the email newsletter would have any real impact on the target audience. Well, it may or may not work as desired depending on how well it is designed and the type of content published. Since one can never tell until one tries, it’s better to experiment, rather than keep dreaming about the perfect email newsletter. Here are some best practices for email newsletters, which will enable marketers to get it right in the first few attempts.
- Is a newsletter really needed: Before you even send the team scurrying for the right content and design, you need to assess if the organization really needs to send email newsletters to clients and prospects. An email newsletter would be appropriate only when you have plenty of relevant content and updates every month to share with your target audience. It won’t be of much use if the email newsletter is not even being opened by subscribers. You too may be getting various newsletters in your inbox, but how many do you read?
- Define the mobile strategy: More and more people are accessing their emails on mobile devices. Your design team will have to work real hard to ensure that your email newsletter displays properly on all types of screens. The various screens would include desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. If you consider all the various devices that are there, the count will easily cross several hundreds. It’s likely that you may not have the resources and hardware to test your email newsletter on such a huge number of mobile devices. However, since it is necessary and cannot be avoided, you can hire the services of a company that specializes in design testing on mobile devices. It would be good if you choose a company that agrees to provide support and maintenance services for a certain period, for example, 12 months, 18 months, etc. New mobile devices are constantly being introduced along with new operating systems and upgraded email apps. It’s not possible to test your newsletter on all devices and platforms, but you should be able to cover all the popular ones that most people use.
- Avoid creating hype: Don’t make false promises about the newsletter and the value-add it provides. Be realistic about what the newsletter has to offer. Include an easily understandable description of what the newsletter is all about. Subscribers should not feel cheated that they were promised something else and they are getting something else. Understand that at every instance where subscribers are unhappy about the newsletter, it will directly impact brand image and the company’s reputation.
- Use Brand Guidelines: An email newsletter is essentially a type of product that is given free to customers. It’s important to follow brand guidelines while designing the newsletter. There is no scope for any complacency here, since any obvious errors are likely to dent the brand image. The design should clearly indicate what brand or company has sent the newsletter. Most customers would just glance quickly at the newsletter, but even then they should be able to see and recollect what brand it is.
- Keep content relevant: Don’t include content that seems relevant to you, rather, put yourself in the customers’ shoes and try to figure out what would be relevant to them. An email newsletter could be used for both informational and promotional purposes. The content would depend on what your customers may be expecting from the newsletter. Include content that is useful for the target audience.
Last but not least, you should regularly measure the effectiveness of your email newsletter. You need to keep track of various indicators such as the number of subscribers, page views, contest participation, use of discounts and offers, etc. Next, you need to compare these with targeted goals to assess the effectiveness of the email newsletter. If lacking, try to identify the problems and fix them. It will help you improve and evolve your email newsletter.
- Delight your newsletter subscribers: Your newsletter subscribers have trusted you with their email ID, so it would be great if you can delight them with special offers. For example, you can offer them special discounts or cash back on certain products or services. You can also organize contests and announce some prizes for the winners. Such rewards will ensure that your newsletters are read by most subscribers. It can also help increase the subscriber base through referrals.