A business owner who publishes a monthly email newsletter asked me for advice. The business in question is a European based specialist for color trends and consults with designers in the fashion and home design industries. In this particular case, Carol, wanted to know how to increase the open rate for her newsletter editions. Her company publishes the newsletter once a month.
I think my response might be transferable to your business or website as well. That is why I thought I should share it with a wider audience.
The content and design of the newsletter I was giving the advice on is rather intriguing. However, it is a constant challenge to keep readers engaged and interested over a longer period of time. I gave Carol the following tips to think about.
5 Tips on how to engage your readers and increase your open rate
(1) Make it more personal!
Have an editor, a spokesperson write the newsletter in a colloquial tone. Introduce that character as a person with a back-story, and also address the reader on the personal level. An email is communication from one person to another. A newsletter should not be an exception.
Look at how I have started this article. I am telling you the reason why I am writing this article. It works pretty good, doesn’t it.
(2) Increase the frequency of your newsletter
Once a month is too infrequent to maintain and strengthen the relationship with your readers.
You don’t want to be perceived as the 57th agency which sends yet another trend report. You want to be perceived as “friend,” who helps the reader through the jungle, who offers effective solutions for whatever the biggest problem in your industry is. Go beyond of just being a reporter.
(3) Vary the type of emails
When I said, “Write more often,” I did not mean to just multiply your efforts. You still send your “full blown” monthly report to your readers, but you contact them with different kind of useful information in-between.
While you keep sending your beautifully designed report with lots of pictures in PDF format once a month, you introduce a shorter type of message that highlights important information for your readers. For example:
- How to tips
- Interesting links
- Hot or controversial news in your market
- Videos on the web
- Offer timely sensitive info
- Case studies from your readers
- Survey your readers and report results back
Provide them with content they can and want to talk about. Then, they might talk about your email newsletter and your company as well. It is about keeping the conversation going. Don’t be afraid to link to other than your own websites.
You will be positively surprised that your readers will write back and thank you for this kind of content even when you don’t ask them to do so. I know that from my own experience.
(4) Measure the feedback
Keep an eye for your email marketing metrics: open rate, click through rate, replies, number of new subscribers and members who just unsubscribed. This data helps you to find a style that works best with your reader base.
Are you sure that one newsletter serves both groups? In my example, designers in the fashion industry and designers in home decor? While your monthly report might be of identical value to them, it could be that they require to be treated quite differently. Maybe you will find cues that you should segment your email list into two groups.
(5) Incorporate Social Media
Refer to your newsletter in social media and vice versa. Allow people to share your content with their colleagues and friends easily.
Rounding it up
These tips are just a couple of things to start with. It means more work, but it will be worth the effort and will increase your footprint in your market.
In case your goal includes selling more of your services with the help of the newsletter, you have to make it a topic, too. Meaning, you talk about your offers from time to time and ask for the sale! Or even better, come up with “newsletter subscriber only deals.”
Last but not least, it has been said already that headlines are very important. But in the long run your members will continue to open the newsletter issue not because of the headline, but because they hardly can wait for the next one. They want to hear from that person - the personal voice of your brand. If not, you have lost them somewhere on the road so to speak.
One of the biggest mistakes in business to business marketing (B2B) is to assume “businesses are different” and you have to be super serious. Same is true in the academic world by the way, but that’s a different tribe.
There is not such a thing as a BUSINESS…
It’s always a PERSON, who is reading your ezine.
In Carol’s particular case, I bet designers will really appreciate and value a real (not fake), personal touch in your communication.
Successful email marketing is about building relationships through value!
One last note about losing subscribes. Without a doubt some people will unsubscribe when you introduce changes, but others will become more engaged with you, which is your goal here. You are writing for those who are listening and giving you constructive feedback. You should not write in order to keep people from leaving your email list. That’s a game you cannot win.
Now I hope that you put these ideas to practice right away.
Sign up to my newsletter in the top, right corner of this page. I’ll rush my free report “Become More Productive to You” that helps you to eliminate the time-wasteful side of email altogether.
John W. Furst
E-Biz Booster Blog
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