Email Marketing, Public Relations

Tips for Creating an Effective e-Newsletter Program

A challenging economy has encouraged many small businesses to test out email marketing with an invitation or announcement. It’s simple, affordable and trackable, after all. But the idea of creating a consistent e-newsletter that you issue on a monthly basis seems daunting.

Well, fear not. You can put a surprisingly compelling newsletter together with a small amount of information. In a recent Extreme Email Makeover session that VerticalResponse hosted, we found that many customers are putting too many offers together in one email and calling them newsletters. The result is that nothing stands out, it isn’t clear to the customer what action they should take, and over time recipients might stop opening the emails. A great e-newsletter can be created with very basic information that is readily available. The key is a balance of information and offers (remember the “what’s in it for me?” factor). Start by testing a newsletter format with three topic areas and then increase to five over a series of a few months to see if you get more clicks. Let your audience decide the right amount of content with open and click-through rates.

Easy e-newsletter content topics:

  1. A Message from the Expert – A short paragraph from you to your audience or an introduction that drives recipients to your blog for a feature-length article. Consider offering Five Ways to Improve X in 2009. Include the first two lines of copy in your newsletter as a teaser and link to the full story on your blog for the full list.
  2. Customer Testimonial – A simple quote from a happy customer about how your product or service helped them or fixed a problem, a measurable result achieved; or, link to a video testimonial that you host on YouTube.
  3. An Offer – Do you have a white paper, discount, or promotion currently running to announce?
  4. Event Schedule – Link to the event page on your website or directly to an industry event you plan to attend.
  5. Quick Fact – What’s the most popular selling product last month? What do your customers view as the greatest challenge for them next year? Gather important insights and facts with a simple online survey tool and share results in each issue.

The final challenge is committing to frequency so that your audience will come to expect your newsletters. Write your first three issues at the same time. Line up three customer quotes, three notable events worth covering, and three facts to share from a single survey. Remember, this month’s event can become next month’s main article. That’s a formula for successful email newsletters in 2009.

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Erin Jacobs

about the author

Erin Jacobs

15 years experience managing BtoB marketing departments and executing lead generation programs for technology companies. Experience in both the agency/consulting and client side marketing departments, focused on strategy and committed to results. Marketing Director at Vertical Responce.

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