24
Feb
2010
How to run an effective Email Newsletter Campaign PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Administrator

Or how not to run a bad email campaign

Over the years we have had the privilege to run a number of email newsletter campaigns for our customers, and thus we have seen successful campaigns, and as with all good things we have seen the pitfalls that can lie ahead.

Even if some of the following are obvious, use this as a checklist to review before, during and after your campaign

Make a Commitment … And Stick to it

First off, I am not suggesting that your email newsletter goes out every Tuesday, at exactly 9:42am every week (though that is not a terrible idea). But if you promise a monthly newsletter, send it out once a month. One strategy could be to run a six month trial. Let your customers know that you will be sending them a couple of great offers each month. Then make sure that you send out twelve emails over that period. When you first start, clients are super excited at the onset of the project, but if less than a third of the newsletters are sent over for publishing, your customer loses interest, and you don’t have any effective metrics to track. Meeting this commitment can be the toughest part of the email campaign, exceeding any technical hurdle we overcome.

One quick tip, is have three or four newsletters written up and ready to go. Then if you are busy one month, you can just pull one of these pre-written newsletters from your drawer and send it out.

Content, Content, Content

Send your customer something they want.

There will be things that you want them to have, but they can go further down the newsletter. Grab their interest, give them something of value to them, thus rewarding them for the time they are giving you. Then follow or wrap the marketing part of your message around the primary/customer focused message.

Set Content Goals

If you promised a topic analysis each month, provide that analysis each month. If you promised a cool promotion every month, include a cool promotion every month. You may have a great informational piece that you want to give to your clients, and that would be of value to your client. But if you promised a promotion, give them the promotion first, and the informational piece second. Keep your Email Newsletter Campaign Goals handy and refer to them often.

Effective Email Lead Generation

Once we had a very nice customer, who excitedly gathered email address for their campaign, but when the time came to check the supplied email addresses, over two thirds half were bad, malformed, incorrect, or worthless.

One or two of your customers may have handwriting that is not great. Mine is nothing to write home about. Email addresses are very precise. Unlike our names they often cannot be guessed from a close approximation. They are a weird and wonderful combination of letters and numbers. And if you get one little character wrong, the whole thing is wrong. Why do you think almost every on-line form asks for our email twice, but never asks us to repeat our name or zip, etc.

  • If your customer writes down their email address in front of you, read it back to them to confirm. Train your staff to do the same.
  • If you can find a way to gather your customers email address in printed form, rather than written form, then you will get much better results. Get you customer to put their business cards in a fishbowl, or borrow some other time-proven idea.
  • If you have a form that includes a line for your customers email address, then change that line into a series of boxes, each box the size of one character

Develop a format

Develop regular sections during the design phase; one or two may be right for you. Three to five sections may be the right answer for the next client. This helps to frame the expectation of the customer, and better defines and organizes the tasks ahead. It will also help you better ratify and interactively meet your content goals

Don’t Spam

As an individual, nobody likes getting spam. But once the business focus changes, and we become the senders, the subject of “what is spam’ can get a little grayer. So, the first thing we must do is address the answer of “What is Spam?” Spam is a euphemism for the more correct term – Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE).

I have seen many other explanations over the years, but my favorite, and the one I think is best stuck to is “Spam is any email from someone that I did not ask for an email from.” If you find that a little too broad, then please read over our Unsolicited Commercial Email Policy.

Execution of this policy can be expressed in one simple action - Get your customer’s permission to send them your newsletter proactively. This can include:

An explanatory paragraph on your signup-sheet, or a note glued to your fishbowl. But let your customer know why they are signing up, and also take this opportunity to tell them how much you value their privacy. We have some great sample disclaimers for you to use, and of course, like everything mentioned here, we are happy to help.

Conclusion

Email marketing can be a very powerful and productive tool for your business. Even in recent years commercial email can provide a whopping $43 Return on Investment for every dollar spent! It requires some thought and planning, but done right It is still one of the most cost effective marketing tools in your arsenal.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010