How to bring your newsletters back from the dead

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This is a guest post. The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Mainstreethost.

Contrary to what some marketers think, newsletters aren’t dead. But they are in need of a big makeover.

Newsletters have been a cornerstone of digital marketing since the 1990s, and some companies haven’t made changes to them in years. This means outdated fonts, text and images that don’t abide by responsive design best practices will load slowly and display poorly.

In other words, your newsletters are as effective (or ineffective) as you design them to be. According to the 2014 Accenture survey, the fastest growing businesses are prioritizing digital marketing, and that includes e-newsletters.

How are the analytics on your newsletter effectiveness holding up? If you don’t know, then stop embracing ignorance and get back on track. Keeping score of your efforts is the first step in any marketing strategy and what provides you direction when you go off course.

Time for a revival

Reviving dying newsletters is no easy task, but it all starts with analytics. There are a number of free or low-cost analytics software options, so “no room in the budget” is no excuse.

How many of your newsletters are actually being delivered, how many responses are you getting from them, and how many new leads are you adding each day, week or month? If less than 10 percent of your newsletters are being delivered, you’re basically sending snail mail to Santa Clause and hoping for a pony this Christmas.

Before spicing up the actual newsletter, it’s time to clean house. Weed out dead emails and leads so that your database has a fresh start. Charge your marketers with drumming up a reasonable number of new email leads each week and month, and hold them accountable. Cleaning and growing your data is an ongoing process, but every digital “garden” could do with some routine deadheading.

Your best methods

People are getting savvier when it comes to their filters, and email hosts are getting hardcore with their auto filtering. In order to bypass auto filters, you need to either use software that sends emails in small batches (sending sometimes more than even 10 emails will automatically filter your message through some providers) or has an algorithm in place to sidestep those filters. Get your best marketer in charge of creating engaging subjects and lead-in sentences that are enthralling but not misleading.

For example, a killer deal or freebies from a reputable company like yours can be very clickable. Make it simple, smart and to the point. Even if your emails don’t get filtered immediately, consumers have developed ad blindness thanks to the barrage of offers on a daily basis. You need to stand out and focus on providing quality content: with no wasteful fluff from the subject to the sign-off.

Dos and don’ts

Quality content in e-newsletters is going to largely be text. Relying too much on images and fancy formatting is going to be your undoing unless you’re really on top of mobile readiness and responsive design. Are you positive your newsletter is displaying quickly and correctly on every single possible device and platform? If not, you might be missing out on a huge sale and a loyal customer.

Embrace white space, short and punchy paragraphs, and make it easy to link to your website or social media page instead of trying to cram images into a newsletter. If you get a consumer to click on the email, that’s half the battle. You don’t want to drive them away with messy HTML, so use your newsletter as the teaser and not the main event.

About The Author:Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.