If you’re not already actively growing your newsletter audience, don’t wait another day! The email audience is one of the most loyal and lucrative audiences you can have. Read on for instructions for building it the right way, the first time around. Starting a program, gaining subscribers and designing a newsletter provides you a direct way to communicate with a set audience; people who took an action, indicating they want to hear from you each week. This is a reliable effort, not impacted by algorithms like SEO and social platforms.
And unlike any other traffic channel, you can track a customer across the full site experience and get a full user profile of subscribers. Available first-party data is one of the biggest advantages this channel has over others. You can customize this experience for them, and do it at scale, in a way you can’t with other traffic audiences.
Starting to see the value?
Email Program Best Practices
Choosing the Right Platform
There are many to choose from, so how will you decide which works best for you? Well luckily, many of them are comparable in price, in product offerings and in usability. There are lists of popular platforms, several on this site. The common ones recently recommended from partners of SHE Media, are Drip and MailerLite. MailChimp remains popular, but there are newbies on the block that have created waves. If you’re looking for a more advanced platform, look into InfusionSoft or Active Campaign.
Understand Your Audience
Look to your traffic data to better understand what your users want to see included in your newsletter. Options are the name of the game. Allowing a reader to select between a daily, weekly or monthly newsletter can help gain their trust. There are other Google Analytics metrics that can help you better customize these for your audience. Look at the topics that have the highest pages per session and the most pageviews for insight on what to share each week. You’ll want to expose your newly published content in your newsletters but there may be hidden content gems from years past that you can re-introduce to your audience. Give them a quick refresh first.
The Signup Form
You can’t send a newsletter without subscribers, so getting a subscriber field up on your website will be one of the first steps. Depending on your audience size, you might want to wait until you get at least 50 subscribers to send out an actual newsletter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the form up. As you start to gather names, you can say things like ‘newsletter coming soon’, and ‘be the first to receive’, just to set the right expectations with your reader. If you’re using WordPress, most newsletter platforms have a plugin.
Where should it go? The best place is a static module on the homepage, either at the very top or somewhere very clear, maybe in the middle vs. a pop up form. Those can be intrusive to users and we’re not convinced they perform better than just having it at the top. Make it easy for them to unsubscribe as well, nothing is more annoying than unsubscribe features that are impossible to find or don’t work.
Personalization is the name of the game for email marketing. The more personalized, the more customer engagement and long-term loyalty. You may start by sending the same content to all of your subscribers, but down the line you may be able to ask up front what type of content they want to receive from you and send them just that. You’ll also want to do testing around newsletter timing. When you send it out can have a huge impact on open rates and many studies have been done on this topic. Sundays are a hit for more recipe newsletters as people are planning for the week ahead. Fridays tend to see less engagement for our Partner Network newsletters, these are things you learn from testing.
Hit Them at the Right Moments
Moments matter to your brand loyalists, they like to feel known and appreciated. Sending a welcome email at the time of registration, a happy birthday communication or an anniversary of when they joined your community — these type messages turn the casual reader into a brand loyalist.
Incorporate Seasonal Content
Tying newsletters and content to seasonal events throughout the year is a great way to keep the reader engaged. It can also be easily worked into your normal editorial flow. As you’re refreshing content each month to make sure it’s up to date, it’s a great time to look back to what performed well each month the year prior and refresh it. Once you do that, you’ll update the date on the post, create a Pin, share on IG and include in the next newsletter.
Sending an email to a large group of humans can be a daunting task. Putting the right words out there for everyone to judge, we get it! Send a test email to yourself before you send to your audience. Read through the sentences to make sure it flows. Check all the outbound links to make sure they work. If you’re not a one-woman show, have a team member proof read. If you’re not 100% sure you’re writing the phrase or word correctly, Google it.
These email best practices will get you off on a strong foot!
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