Yet another article I wrote for Business Fraser Valley News, this one called “Rules for an e-mail newsletter.” You can download the article here:
Unfortunately, I never got a copy of the full page in print :(
Below is the full text of the article before it was edited for publication:
Golden rules for e-mail newsletter marketing
E-mail is the best method for reaching a targeted audience, but most people do it wrongly. However, handling e-mail correctly can bring in tremendous results.
Follow these rules:
Offer an incentive for people to join your list. This way, you’ll build a quality list of opt-in subscribers, which can be your main marketing weapon. A bonus product or coupon will do the trick. DO NOT add people to your list who have not asked to receive your newsletter.
Make subject lines irresistible. Use the most interesting part of the newsletter to hit the point hard.
Make special announcements first. Don’t wait to make your big point. Organize content from most to least compelling.
Give real content to read. No more than a quarter of the newsletter should be a sales pitch. Include lots of useful information.
Include a “read more” link. Don’t unload your basket in the newsletter. Instead, use the newsletter to get readers back to your Web site. That is where you have a sales structure set up to convince them to buy.
Include hypertext and links in keywords for hungry readers who would like to know more by visiting your site.
Don’t repeat information you’ve already put elsewhere on the Web. An e-mail newsletter should give the feeling of being in a special ‘club’. If subscribers could get this information elsewhere, they wouldn’t need your letters.
If using an html newsletter, use space on the page wisely. Separate content into two columns, with clear categories on both sides. This will eliminate unnecessary scrolling and make it easier for readers to find what they want quickly.
Include graphics. They help, a lot. Customize the ‘look’ with branding.
Include your contact info (especially an e-mail address) and your Web site.
ALWAYS include an option for unsubscribing. Don’t risk being labeled as spam.
Measure effectiveness with statistics tracking tools. Your readers are more likely to buy, so if they are not, you’ll need this info to reevaluate your content.
Finally, remember to be regular with your mail delivery. Don’t let them forget about you. It might help to write some of the newsletter in advance, but usually a newsletter should be just that – new. You can use an auto-responder in your newsletter service (e.g. Aweber or Constant Contact) to automatically send mail, but keep in mind pre-made newsletters should be reviewed regularly to ensure content is still relevant.