Email Marketing

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“Send this email to 100 of your closest friends or your arms will fall off.” Please don’t do that. Instead of threatening your best friends to pass along your email, why not collect the names and email addresses of people who have contacted, subscribed or purchased something from you in the past? These people are a great targeted resource for future sales. All you have to do is give them something interesting to remind them that you’re still around. An email newsletter is a great way to do this.

But if you’re brand spanking new at this, you may not have a contact or email list yet. In this case, the first thing you’ll have to do is generate an email list. One of the best ways to do this is to put a “subscribe to our newsletter” form on your homepage. You may only want to ask list members for their email address, first, name, last name, and perhaps one or two other questions to target your mailings, such as their interests or demographics. When people fill out the form, their information is sent to you or automatically stored in a database. It’s a good idea to place a link to your privacy policy near your sign-up form. This policy should describe how you handle the information you collect and how people can contact you in case they have any concerns or questions. Your list members want to be assured that you will not rent or sell their addresses or other information to third parties without their consent. And finally, a word of warning: never to buy or trade an email list. Sending emails to people who have not specifically requested to receive your mailings (“opted-in”) is almost always regarded as spam.

Writing Emails for the Masses

Now that you’ve got all those email addresses, it’s time to actually create your newsletter. The first thing you’ll want to do is design your email or newsletter so that it opens properly in all the major email programs, like Outlook Express. Of course, you’ll also want to maximize the value, layout and copy writing of your newsletter so that people actually want to open it instead of just tapping into the trash. Lastly, a newsletter should be published regularly, either monthly or bi-monthly: if you adhere to a schedule, your list members will begin to anticipate your messages.

Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with something interesting to say each month. Your readers should be able to answer the question: “what’s the purpose of this newsletter?” in just one sentence. Here are a few tips that might help you write the next great Canadian newsletter:

  • Remind your customers about the benefits of using your products and services.
  • Are there any new updates about your company or industry, such as new products, services or trends that your customers would find interesting?
  • Share customer success stories: show how real people make actual use of your product or service.
  • People love lists. Give your readers some new information by offering 5 easy tips to help accomplish something: inform your readers in an interesting way.
  • People also love to save money, so be sure to include your latest promotions, discounts and best of all, coupons.
  • At the top of your messages, include a standard heading each time you send a mailing. A short note like “Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. Here is our latest issue:” can make a big difference in reminding your list members that you are not sending them something that they did not request.
  • Don’t use misleading subject lines. If your subject lines contain words or terms that are frequently used by spammers, there is a good chance people will delete your message without reading it and/or file a spam complaint. Many email users have filters in place — through an anti-spam tool, at their ISP, in their email program, or simply in their minds — that move anything containing “$$$”, for example, to the trash immediately. We’ll let you know all the latest spam terms to avoid.
  • Put your phone number and postal mailing address in your message. This gives your readers another method of contacting you.

Before you Press Send

While it is possible in theory to send out your newsletter from your own computer, there’s a hundred good reasons not to. First of all, most email servers won’t let you send to more than fifty to a hundred recipients per day, and if they get the slightest whiff of spam you’ll very easily get blacklisted as Dr. Evil Email and you won’t be able to send anything. There are many companies that specialize in sending out bulk emails, iContact being one of the most popular. They protect you from being reviled as a spammer, they let you upload your database of contacts, they send out all your emails automatically (and can even publish them in all your social media sites), offer templates—if you want to use them—for your newsletter and, best of all, they offer sophisticated analytical tools. These tools will tell you how many people actually opened the email (known as the ‘open rate’) and how many actually clicked on the link to your website that was in the email (known as the email ‘conversion rate’). These statistics are indispensable for gauging the success of your newslettering efforts.

The best conversion rates are directly proportionate the quality of your layout, content, copy writing and design. Since we have oodles of experience in all of these things, we can make your newsletter almost as exciting to open as a letter from the North Pole. Give us a jingle today and we’ll give you something really special.