The benefits of an E-newsletter (and the news it should have in it)

Hands up please those of you who’ve subscribed to a highly anticipated newsletter, to then be let down by its content? Worse still, receive a newsletter with content aimed for a different target audience (FYI: I have often received promotions for women’s wear since subscribing to a very large, online fashion retailer). Both outcomes are frustrating, but both can be prevented.

We encourage all of our clients’ to introduce an E-newsletter if there’s significant benefit in doing so, but time and effort is required to launch and manage one. However, there are a host of individual benefits that a well engineered E-newsletter provides which can collectively meet your commercial objectives. A newsletter is no longer hard copy information that people divert to the nearest bin; it is personalised, compelling content all at the click of a button. So, here are my top 10 benefits of an E-newsletter:

1. It’s an extremely quick, cost-effective way to communicate with your demographic (compared to print)
2. It amplifies your business’s brand and reputation – showcasing your authority on up-to-the-minute industry news
3. It extends the loyalty and commitment of your customer base
4. It offers immediate, trackable results
5. It identifies ‘undeliverables’ which can be rectified and resent
6. It ensures a higher response rate due to the researched target audience
7. It supports your overall marketing, advertising and sales agenda
8. It is perfect for linking back to specific pages on your site or blog, encouraging quality, targeted traffic
9. It serves as a vehicle for promotional content, competitions and news feeds
10. It is similar to an online press release in the way that it can extend your media reach

So, could an E-newsletter do wonders for your business? I’m fairly sure that one of your key business goals is customer retention, so all of the benefits above essentially join forces in keeping your existing customers happy, as well as up-to-speed with company/industry developments – but what about gaining new customers?

Well, this is where I suggest you be controlled and cautious with your mailing. As I mentioned at the start, it’s annoying when a subscriber receives the wrong content, but you will severely lose trust and opportunity if you bombard prospective customers with irrelevant ‘salesy’ emails. Do comprehensive market research, combined with a quality (not quantity) mailing list and you’re almost ready to go.

Give your E-newsletter value and a voice
You know the benefits and your customers and commercial goals, now you need to fill your E-newsletter with, well, news. This is of course your choice, but it’s very important that the content is insightful, educational and fun.

All about the Intro
I would certainly recommend a personalised introduction, for example: “Hi Matt…with the colder months now upon us, we want to make sure you’re wrapped up well this winter. Check out our favourite cardigans and jackets that we think you’ll love…” etc, etc. This personal approach will go a long way, and compel your customer to read on.

Pearls of wisdom
Share any useful tips, advice and ‘How to’s’, as this will enhance your service or product. By incorporating our “top tip of the month’ or ‘five ways to cook with Asparagus’ it will reinforce authority within your industry and create a distinct, consistent voice. And, if you’re producing content in-house regularly, say as bloggers, then that can also be fed into the newsletter.

Look who’s talking
You can go one step further by accommodating a ‘Meet the team’ or ‘Staff Profile’ each month so your customers can put a face to a name. I don’t know about you, but I always like to know who I’m working with, but this will also give you an advantage when mailing your newsletter to a prospective list.

So, I think you’re pretty much good to go. The layout of your E-newsletter will of course reflect your brand and website, but remember that this is an opportunity to be flexible, creative and have a little bit of fun. Every business wants a positive and strong identity that extends to their customers in a refreshing and personal way. An E-newsletter is one the most inexpensive ways to communicate with your target audience, but more importantly, the most effective. So, what you waiting for?

The common misconception of the “S” word.

Leapfrogg has evolved into an all encompassing search-led, digital marketing company (and while that was a mouthful, is certainly more delicious than the above). As a result we will soon be adding another string to the bow and offering email marketing as a service to our clients.

The premise of this blog entry is to firstly educate on the many benefits of email marketing, particularly its integration with search. Secondly, to stop you half way through that sharp intake of breath at the thought of emailing your clients….didn’t that sound much nicer?

Emailing clients, not spamming them. How many of you have recently been to Gap, Threshers (their viral campaign created £15 million of extra business last Christmas) or any of the numerous chains that are using this means to increase their footfall?

“Spam is the equivalent of unsolicited junk mail, and at any given time there are millions of these emails floating around the Internet. It is estimated that spam mail constitutes twenty two percent of all active emails”. It’s out there and frustrating to some, but with a combination of best practice, good clean lists that are maintained and relevant audience, email marketing can be an extremely cost effective method of marketing with instant, trackable results.

Having hopped over to Leapfrogg from an email marketing company myself, I hold first hand knowledge of helping companies from the big corporates to SMEs drive traffic to their site and increase their ROI. Email marketing should not be used as a stand alone service and like many marketing disciplines performs best when part of a mix. This is where I get to use one of my favourite buzz terms which we call the “2 pronged attack” for example; emails after a press release to highlight an online sale followed by some telemarketing of the hot leads. This allows you to act instantly upon people that have not only opened an email, but you are able to see what links people are clicking on, how long they have spent on the page and track their activity off the email to a site right up to a checkout. As a result you can see the exact revenue incurred per person, per campaign making it very easy to measure overall ROI. This can be viewed in your analytics reporting as it is easily integrated with by adding a tracking code, enabling you to see what delivered that HUGE spike of hits to your site.

Emails are not just about bulk marketing either. You should use a lifestyle approach to email marketing, target and profile your customers and a behavioural based approach will reduce the volume you are sending, be relevant to the customers and reduce the potential of being marked as “spam”. Techniques such as ‘closing window’, ‘e coupons’, ‘secrets sales’ and continuing the brand conversation after a product has been purchased keeps communication fun, energised and relevant. It also increases the longevity of customer loyalty.

Announcements can be tied together using blogs and emails that can help build link popularity and improve your SEO. Also archive newsletters on your site in a spider friendly manner. Email subscriptions can work on a similar premise, to a feed burner pushing regular readers back to your site who are of quality traffic.

Social media buttons can be added to your email which allow users to post your news that will include links back to your site. So bookmark this ready for the New year, or maybe you will get a surprise in your inbox…

Do you tick this box and commit to a life time of offers forever and ever? I do.