StreamSend, a leading email marketing software provider, is an expert source for businesses all over the world looking to use email newsletters to build their customer connection. Email newsletters create loyalty, build credibility and trust, and create a sense of community. But there are guidelines to doing it right, as StreamSend reports.
“Virtually every business today uses email to communicate one-to-one, and newsletters are an effective way to share relevant content with key audiences,” said Dan Forootan, president of StreamSend Email Marketing. “Here are the six key steps to help you send your email newsletters smarter.”
1. Define Your Newsletter Strategy
An email newsletter often has goals that are distinct from promotional campaigns. It tends to focus on customer retention and lead generation by providing relevant content to a targeted audience on a regular basis. Yet, there are many exceptions to this. Are you speaking to customers? Prospects? People who have browsed your Web site? Your in-house email list? Understanding your goals and target audience is the first step in planning your email newsletter – or perhaps more than one to meet the needs of varying segments.
2. Build Your Distribution List
The key to an email newsletter’s success is the right audience. Most businesses have an in-house email list comprised of customers and prospects. That can serve as a starting point, but careful planning of your list building process is key. The best email results are achieved through opt-in lists, and the most common way to get an opt-in audience is through your Web site or through targeted emailing of existing customers and/or prospects. Make joining easy with an inviting sign-up form. And beware using lists where uninterested recipients will label you as spam.
3. Design Your Newsletter
Now you’re ready to focus on design – both the physical layout and the various elements of the newsletter. That includes the ability to unsubscribe or update your subscription. And make sure that the newsletter carries your brand: logo, color and any other elements so you promote both familiarity and consistency with your audience. The “from” address should be clearly identifiable with meaning to your audience. The subject line should be short and convey relevance, value and urgency. Ideally, 35-45 characters long. And the masthead at the top of the content area sets the tone for the entire newsletter, reinforcing your brand and newsletter identity in a simple and narrow format that allows easy access to the content.
4. Content Development
Developing relevant content is the most important – and challenging — aspect of your email newsletter. Lack of content planning is a common cause for failure. To convert subscribers into enthusiasts, you need to put yourself in their minds. What interests them? What can you give them that they cannot find elsewhere? What do they really care about?
5. Test and Send
Never send out a newsletter without testing it, so you can catch any glaring errors first. Almost all ESPs allow test messages. It’s good practice to send the message to different email clients including Outlook, Gmail, AOL and Yahoo accounts. In addition to testing for grammar and display, also test for features such as links, personalization, forms, opt-out and updating profiles.
6. Get to the Inbox
Deliverability involves getting your newsletter into the inboxes of your audience. It can be a big problem because as many as 20% of emails do not reach their destination. To reduce undeliverable emails, focus on four key criteria proven to optimize deliverability rates. Be Professional, Be Relevant, Maintain Low Complaint Levels, and Understand Your Reputation – it will make you or break you.
StreamSend offers an easy-to-use, affordable and reliable email marketing software solution designed to help businesses make the most of their time and money when sending an email newsletter or other email campaigns. StreamSend offers a number of industry-leading standard pricing plans and also has strong private-label and affiliate programs. Started as part of EZ Publishing, a web hosting and design company founded in 1998, StreamSend is now the company’s flagship product.