Do you interact with customers when they’re buying your product or service, but never communicate with them ever again? If you fail to follow up with customers, you’re losing a major opportunity for continued sales.
Starting an email newsletter does require some work, but the ability to engage customers and prospects can bring major returns. Read on to learn about the benefits of creating email newsletters and how to get started.
Why start an email newsletter?
It’s simple: An email newsletter is a low-cost marketing tool that helps you maintain a relationship with people interested in your brand.
An email newsletter gives you an excuse to capture email addresses of both clients/customers and prospects. You can then use your newsletter to nurture leads and keep customers engaged with your business. It’s also an easy, affordable way to notify people of sales, events and product launches.
Why you should use an email newsletter tool
Are you convinced to give emails a try? To create an email newsletter, you’ll need an email service provider that allows you to build your database and create and send the emails. While you may be tempted to do it yourself for free, know that can only do so much with Microsoft Outlook or Gmail, and it’s hard to manage a large contact list. Plus, there are limitations to how many recipients you can send to, and it may not look professional.
Email service providers allow you to schedule emails, create segmented lists for different types of recipients, test different subject lines, create profiles for customers and more. These tools also provide rich insights, such as how many people open your emails and what they click on, so you can see what content leads to conversions. Lastly, these tools help you make sure you’re using best (and legal) practices, such as recipients being able to unsubscribe from the email list.
If you’re not tech-savvy, don’t worry—most email tools come packed with easy-to-use templates. You simply choose the design, fill in the text and upload your photos without needing to know code (though if you do have coding skills, you can better customize or build from-scratch emails).
Some of the most popular email newsletter tools include MailChimp and Constant Contact. Prices vary depending on the size of your email list.
How to get email subscribers
You’ve decided to start an email newsletter, but how can you get people to sign up? It’s not OK to add people without their permission, but there are many tactics you can try to get people to opt in. Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Add a form on the sidebar of your website or blog that allows people to sign up for your email list (make sure to tease what they’ll get, like free recipes, exclusive promotions, etc.). Some businesses are finding success with pop-up forms that appear a few seconds after someone lands on the website.
- Offer a free ebook or white paper on your website, and require sharing an email address or signing up for your newsletter before it can be downloaded.
- Add subscribers to your email list when they purchase your product or service online, if applicable.
- Put a link to sign up for the email newsletter in your email signature.
- If you are at in-person events like tradeshows, conferences or expos, set out a paper form (or an iPad) where people can sign up for your emails.
- Run an online contest that requires an email address or newsletter sign-up for an entry.
What type of content to feature in your newsletter
Your email newsletters shouldn’t be entirely devoted to pushing products or services—that will just cause readers to hit “unsubscribe” quickly. Including information on sales is fine sometimes, but it’s best to balance it with helpful or entertaining content.
You already have an awesome blog, right? Links to blog posts or your online articles are the perfect type of content to include since it directs readers to your website without being salesy.
Here are some other ideas on what to include:
- Upcoming events
- Employee or customer spotlights
- Customer testimonials
- Helpful tips and tricks
- Fun photos
- Sneak peaks of new products
As you develop your first email newsletter, try to stick to a regular cadence for when you’ll send it out. You don’t want to bombard people with too many emails, but you also don’t want to mail so infrequently that they forget about you. Try a weekly or monthly email schedule depending on how much fresh content you’ll have.
Need help starting your email newsletter? Want high-quality content to feature in your emails? We can help!
Photo courtesy Maria Elena