One of a 2-part series about starting an e-newsletter:
Sending regular e-newsletters to your customers and prospects is a great way to:
- Stay top of mind with your audience,
- Share products or services they might not know you offer, and
- Show you're an expert in your industry.
An example of talking about new products you offer.
Once we started offering low-cost, template-based websites, we shared that in an e-newsletter that went to clients and prospects. From that one e-newsletter, we got a series of projects for template-based websites. Those projects added up to almost $15,000. Granted, that was, by far, the most direct, productive, response we received from one of our e-newsletters!
As for showing you're an expert in your industry, the more you share things that are important to your audience, such as:
- Industry trends and issues,
- New technology,
- Top 10 (or even Top 4) lists, or
- Success stories from projects your company has done,
...the more you audience will see you as an expert in your field. And once they know you're an expert, when they go looking for your products or services, you'll be the likely choice to reach out to.
Before starting an e-newsletter, there are four very important things to know.
- You need to follow the rules of email marketing:
With direct mail, you can assume someone wants to receive it, unless they opt out. With email, you have to assume they don’t want it, unless they opt in. Ignoring that simple fact can get you blacklisted from reputable email services faster than you can say “Hey! Can they really do that to us?” The answer is, unfortunately, “yes.”
- You should never buy an email list:
If you buy an email list, you're immediately ignoring item #1, which is that you should only be emailing to existing customers, or prospects who have agreed to be on your email, or e-newsletter, list. You should only be sending emails to people who want to receive them.
- What happens if you use an email list you bought:
Lots of the recipients will most likely mark your email or e-newsletter as spam. Because email marketing is so abused, the bar to be banned from sending it through email services is incredibly low. Meaning if just 0.1, or 1 out of every 1,000 recipients, marks your email as spam, there's a chance you'll be blacklisted by any reputable email service (like Constant Contact or Campaign Monitor) from sending out further e-newsletters. This industry standard has been set by the major email providers like Gmail. Read about email blacklists here.
- Why you need to use an “email service” to send out your emails:
You’ve heard of Constant Contact, right? That’s an email service. If you’ve ever wondered why folks use those services instead of just sending out an email through their work or personal email, here’s why:
- Many email services (ie; Gmail, Yahoo, Apple mail) won’t let you send out large quantities of emails at once, assuming it might be spam.
- Your company's IT department, or freelance IT consultant, might have set up your system to not allow for mass emails to be sent out.
- The major email services (ie: Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor) have agreements with all the major email providers (ie: Gmail, Apple mail, Yahoo, etc.) to assure what goes out through their services isn’t spam. Therefore, email service companies have rules we have to follow if we want to use their services. If we don’t go by their rules (see item 3.), we'll be banned from using their services.
- Email service companies have great reports that show who opened your e-newsletter, what links were clicked, and how often. See an example of a report from one of our e-newsletters here.
- The email services companies track who opts out of your e-newsletter. They make sure folks who have opted out won't receive your e-newsletter again, even if you accidentally re-upload their email address. If you send your newsletter to folks who don’t want it, they’ll surely mark it as spam. And as we mentioned in item #2, if just one tenth of one percent of your recipients mark your e-newsletters as spam, there's a chance you'll be banned from using their service.
- The email services track which email addresses are no longer active, which email addresses have full mailboxes, and which email addresses can’t receive emails for any number of reasons.
- And finally, they’re really cheap to use. When we send out 400 e-newsletters, it costs us less than $10. It costs $5 to send your e-newsletter to the first email address on your list, and a penny for every additional email address.
Here's an example of one of the reports Campaign Monitor offers:
Our next blog will cover the things you need to consider when you're ready to start an e-newsletter.