It’s the eternal truth of digital marketing — you have to guide your target audience to your site before the magic of conversion can happen. Sure, you need great content once they get there, but your first priority has to be guiding the right traffic to your site. It doesn’t matter if your website is completely DIY or you go professional and hire a ghostwriter, the best blog in the world won’t make you a dime if nobody reads it.
There are many ways to guide traffic to your site, but one that’s underused by too many companies is their email newsletter. Along with time constraints, a lack of knowledge is one of the main reasons for this unnecessary and damaging neglect. Fortunately, this ignorance is entirely fixable. Here’s how.
Getting Them Into the Store
When it comes to the success of your email newsletter, it all starts with the open rate. Of course, in a cluttered inbox, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Try these tips:
- Include a subject heading with benefits. Your readers are as busy as you are. That means they want to know right off the bat what reading your blog can do for them or their business. Tell them why you deserve their time by mentioning at least one substantial benefit they’ll get by reading your blog. You can cram more than you think into this small yet important space, but never be vague or too general when telling them how you can help. As is the case with the entire newsletter, specificity is the absolute key to getting and keeping your readers’ attention.
- Pay attention to timing. Hopefully, you’re examining your open rates closely to find out who’s opening what and when. If not, you’re missing out on information that could turn out to be a real game changer. Among other things, you’ll start to notice the different times of day that your readers are likely to open your newsletter. Conventional wisdom will tell you to deliver it at 10 a.m. or 5 p.m., but you might have too much competition at these high traffic times, so experiment with what does and doesn’t work to maximize those open rates.
- Be consistent. Once you’ve found the delivery times and subject heading styles that work for your demographic, stick to them consistently so that your readers know what to expect. Of course, you’ll need to revisit your routines from time to time (when they stop working!), but go with what gets customers into the door until they tell you it’s time to change things up a bit.
Once They’re Inside
If you want email recipients to take the next bold step of clicking through to your blog, you’ll need the right type of content to maintain their interest. Here are three great ways to optimize the content of your company’s email newsletter:
- Get your readers in an agreeable mood right away. The first couple of lines set the tone for the entire newsletter, so use them to get readers on your side immediately. The best way to do this is to ask a couple of pointed questions that are guaranteed to get a ‘yes’ response. A mental nod is one of the hidden keys to a good marketing strategy, so come up with questions that a)speak to readers’ needs directly, and b)imply that you understand these needs already and can fulfill them with little effort on their part. Once your readers are in this agreeable mood, it becomes that much more likely that they’ll click through to be validated even further.
- Tempt your reader to click through. This might seem like a no-brainer but there are good and bad ways to persuade your readers to click through to your actual blog. The best way is to use a teaser approach. Use the body of your newsletter to hint at what specific advantages your readers will gain by visiting your blog. You should have already started this strategy in your subject heading, so firm up the benefits you intimated there to tantalize your readers into continuing.
- Make clear claims and support them with evidence. Once you’ve whetted your readers’ appetites with a couple of teasers, tell them in very clear terms how others have already benefited from the information your blog is presenting. Then, briefly back your claims up with firm evidence. You can use your own experience if you have some established expertise in the area you’re writing about, but you’ll need positive evidence no matter who the source is.
Far too many small companies don’t send out an email newsletter or they merely consider it as an afterthought. While there are understandable reasons they might shortchange or ignore their newsletter, these companies are missing out on an opportunity to slip through the gaps in a crowded market.
Every part of your digital marketing campaign deserves the utmost attention, including your newsletter. Crafting an effective one might not be rocket science but it does require a bit of experience and knowledge. If you’re writing the newsletter yourself, following these guidelines will improve your chances of success. But if you’re considering a professional blogging service, make sure that whomever you choose understands the importance of your email newsletter and can tell you, in very specific terms, what they plan to do to make yours truly effective.