e-Newsletters are one of those trends that have been readily used for years, and are actually still quite effective! The popularity of e-newsletters takes me by surprise. When I first contemplated this topic for a blog post, I was planning to find many articles on the web persuading people to stop sending out newsletters. I assumed there would be many people who believe newsletters are a nuisance to the end user and serve only to clutter one's inbox. I even thought there would be many online sources revealing the unpopularity of newsletters. However, after a little research, the overall consensus is that newsletters are a good thing for all businesses to utilize and should not be left in the dust.
One important thing to remember: If your business sends out a newsletter each month, the people receiving this e-newsletter have requested to receive it! They've put their name on your list. They want to hear from you. What a wonderful thing! It's directly advertising to people who are (most likely) already your customers.
Now that you've got your subscribers, what are you going to tell them? What is the end goal of the e-newsletter? Do you really want the conversation to begin and end in their inbox? Well, I'm going to do my best to address these questions.
First and foremost, your newsletter needs to look like you.
And by that I specifically mean your website. The e-newsletter is something people will be accessing on the internet. I know, common sense, but because of this, that means the e-newsletter needs to be consistent with your website. Businesses should be seeing email as an "online window display". Once people see what you have on display in the email, they should be compelled to walk into your "online store." However, they'll never be compelled if the newsletter is not drawing a clear connection to the website. Even if a newsletter is doing a great job of encouraging people to check out the website, if it looks totally different in comparison with the website, it could cause identity confusion.
From personal experience, there have been times in which I have seen a great looking ad. I was compelled to learn more about the company, but once I got to the website I was very confused. I wondered, is this the same company that produced the advertisement I viewed? It leaves people wondering who you really are as a company. There has to be consistency, and the e-newsletter needs to be pointing back to the website.
Your newsletter needs to compel viewers to visit your website.
This is of ultimate importance. It's almost as bad as having a website without a contact form. An email can not possibly contain all of the essential information about your company, nor should it. e-Newsletters should serve as mini bits of information that provoke a response in the reader—a response to learn more about your company. If the conversation stops at the window display of an email server that means the potential customer never takes a step into your online store.
Please note: I'm not referring to websites with e-commerce exclusively. On the internet, your website is the online space for your business. An online office, if you will. Your online store is open all hours of the day and all days of the year, where people can come in freely and learn about what your company does and what your company could do for them.
Therefore, drawing people back to your website is the ultimate goal.
Plus, there is one significant perk for you if this is the case: Getting people to your website increases website activity, therefore increasing your SEO! We all love good SEO.
Well, hopefully you're convinced that your e-newsletter should look like your website and should draw people back to your website, but what if your company doesn't have an e-newsletter at all? Check back with us next week to see how to get a newsletter started!