6 things you should know before starting an email newsletter for your business

These tips will ensure your email newsletter starts off on the right foot.

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Email newsletters have become a popular way to interact with existing and potential customers. In just one mailing, brands can incorporate all the latest news on their products and services, avoiding the unsubscribes that come from too many individual emails. With the right approach, businesses can also see an increase in conversions thanks to the information they pack into their newsletters.

But what is the right approach? If your business is getting started in this type of marketing, it’s important to plan a strategy in advance to get the most impact from your efforts. Here are a few tips that can help.

1. Use the right tools

There are so many solutions on the market to help brands create and distribute email newsletters, it can feel overwhelming. Each email marketing service has its own pros and cons, but some may be better suited to the needs of your own business than others. If budget is a top concern, conduct careful research to ensure you choose software that will help you create high-quality, professional-looking newsletters. If your communications look amateurish, chances are your customers won’t stick around to read your content.

2. Make it visual

Unless you have a graphic designer on hand, you’ll likely rely on templates for your newsletter design. As you’re searching through various templates, you’ll still be making design-related decisions, since you’ll need to choose the design that matches your image. You’ll also make content choices that contribute to the overall look and feel of your newsletter, including the photos and amount of text you use in each issue. Pay close attention to expert tips before sending out your first newsletter.

3. Put the customer first

First and foremost, customers want information that benefits them. If your newsletter exists solely to feature your products or services, you’ll likely find customers either unsubscribe or stop opening your emails. Put the interests of your audience ahead of your marketing needs when you’re choosing content for your newsletter. An online clothing retailer may find that seasonal fashion tips get more interest than merely featuring on-sale products. Try to create a newsletter customers will look forward to receiving, rather than dread.

4. Include a call-to-action

Even as you focus your content efforts on being informational rather than promotional, you still should set yourself up to get conversions out of it. This means not only incorporating calls-to-action into your emails, but also using expert design techniques to make sure those calls get clicks. Keep in mind that today’s audiences are most likely opening emails on mobile devices, which means your links will need to take them to a site that can be easily navigated using a mobile device. If your checkout process isn’t mobile optimized, you may find many of your customers come over to your site, but never make a purchase.

5. Don’t force signups

Everyone gets it. You want your list to grow quickly. To do this, many businesses sneak in a box during checkout that customers must uncheck if they don’t want to receive emails. Even worse, some sign up customers without even asking. Not only is this behavior likely to get your emails marked as spam, it also will alienate the very audience you’re trying to attract. Instead, include signup forms on your website and blog and include a box during checkout that invites customers to opt in, leaving it unchecked by default.

6. Make unsubscribe easy

Once you’ve convinced customers to opt into your newsletters, you likely will want to do whatever it takes to keep them. Unfortunately, every type of content won’t resonate with everyone. Some businesses try to make it difficult to unsubscribe, forcing customers to reenter their email address and uncheck a series of boxes. If they fail to read carefully or have a typo, they may stay subscribed without meaning to, which means that the next time your email comes through, they’ll be doubly annoyed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to keep them around once they get to the unsubscribe screen.

Email newsletters are a great way to keep your brand fresh on the minds of customers. If you make your content useful to those who will be reading it, you’ll be more likely to see sales and continued subscription growth.

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