Last Updated on October 30, 2020
Are you worried that your email newsletter is at the bottom of your best prospect’s inbox? Perhaps you need to think more like your customer…
Many of us subscribe in order to get a special report or other snippet of information. We know it’s part of an overall marketing strategy, but we sign up anyway thinking we’ll get the info, give it a test drive, and unsubscribe if it doesn’t live up to our expectations. Incoming email newsletters or general emails deluge our inbox ever day, piling up or getting filtered into our “to read later” folder. Eventually many of these emails stagnate in cyberspace. Once our inbox gets unmanageable (or when the spring cleaning bug hits), we unsubscribe, file, or use any means necessary to free ourselves of virtual clutter…until the next time we stumble across a tidbit that strikes our fancy.
So how do businesses use email newsletters as an effective marketing tool?
According to the Chief Marketing Office (CMO) Council, 57% of marketers that used marketing automation saw positive gains in campaign metrics like open rate, purchases and registrations. However, 39% were unsure of the impact of their email marketing efforts. This suggests that email newsletters are one way to nurture leads effectively… but most of us don’t measure the results very well. So, if you decide to send email newsletters as a part of your lead generation plan, you must configure your automated systems properly upfront. It’s an investment of money and time, but without access to key metrics, you’re essentially flying blind. And before you flip the switch and turn on your email newsletter campaigns, consider these three best practices:
Avoid Mondays & Friday Afternoons
Most Mondays we’re gearing up for the week, strategizing on how to hit our deadlines, and preparing for upcoming meetings. Sifting through through emails that came in over the weekend is typically quick and cursory. By Friday afternoon, our brains are thinking about our weekend plans. However, each target audience is unique. Check your website and email system for stats on when your prospects and customers visited or opened an email. This will give you some insights based upon your specific business and when to schedule your email newsletter. Best time of day and day of the week varies depending on a B2B or B2C audience. Look at trends over time and experiment to find the best combination for your business. Even if you’re lucky enough to have die-hard fans, your content may be ignored or tossed due to lack of time and/or sheer volume of information coming into inboxes.
Bran Nuggets or Chocolaty Cupcakes?
Sure, bran may be good for you, but a chocolaty cupcakes have more appeal and will probably get you more takers. Does your opt-in language tempt with enticing information? Tell your audience what they’ll savor as a result of giving you their coveted contact information. Marketers call this “sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Your enticement should be pleasing to the eye and emphasize the value they’ll receive on a regular basis from you. Once they opt-in, a best practice is to send a confirming email. Once confirmed, they can download your white paper or other substantive, must-read content (aka bran nuggets). Then be sure to add them to your database for lead nurturing. Then, keep on baking and delivering those delicious bite-sized pieces of information.
How Do I Get Outta Here?
How you allow folks to unsubscribe is as important as how you get them to subscribe. Why? Imagine being invited to a networking event, and after you enter all the exits are blocked. Any goodwill you bestowed upon your host has vanished. When you do finally get out, you’re irritated (at best) and aren’t likely to return. Or worse, you’re spitting mad and tell everyone you know about your experience.
Your unsubscribe practice is a direct reflection on your company’s brand. Keep your sterling reputation in tact by adhering to unsubscription laws that spell out (albeit confusingly) recipient rights to opt-out. Whenever possible, have your software capture the reason(s) why they unsubscribed so you can identify and fix any problems (e.g., automated system settings, content, customer service).
Remember, content is king. When you cultivate and share interesting and valuable content that engages, you’ll see conversions from looky-loos to paying clients. Apply these to your online marketing strategies, a breathe new life into your email newsletter campaigns.
So, what’s worked for you? We’d like to hear your lead conversion stories.