E-mail Newsletters: Inbox Marketing Power

    June 23, 2006

Your e-mail inbox probably receives several of them each day. Some you open and read, while others are deleted, without a second thought.

They are e-mail newsletters, and they remain one of the best, but often most misused marketing tools available, for the internet marketer.

Many of the e-mail newsletters received are simply mass mailed unrequested spam. Their effectiveness is very low, and damaging to any business reputation. The proper type of e-mail newsletter, for your online business, is the permission based newsletter. The recipient asks you to send them the information. It’s up to you to make it worth their while to ppen, read, and act upon it.

Despite the proliferation of spam, and possibly even because of it, a good permission based e-mail newsletter is a powerful way to market your business and products. The recipients will have self selected themselves as prospects. If done correctly, the e-mail newsletter will be eagerly awaited, and read completely. It will also result in many more sales for your online business, immediately and in the future.

Permission based e-mail

No e-mail newsletter should be sent to anyone who didn’t request it. Ever.

The proper method of adding names to your mailing list is by voluntary sign-up. On your site, a box requesting the e-mail address should be easily found, by the potential recipient. Requesting the person’s name is a good idea as well. The name enables the business, to send personalized e-mails to each subscriber, increasing open, response, and conversion rates.

Along with that box, there should always be a clearly stated privacy policy. The ideal policy, for collected e-mail addresses, is one where the names and addresses are never sold, rented, or given away to anyone. Ever. That trust must never be violated, or your reputation will be permanently blackened.

When a person provides their name and e-mail address to your business, a double opt-in approach should always be used. Upon receiving a new subscriber, an automated and personalized e-mail should automatically be sent to that person.

Upon receiving the e-mail, the potential recipient must confirm the newsletter subscription. That is the double opt-in process. The request is therefore made twice, in order to receive the newsletter. This method prevents charges of spam, and is in accordance with all anti-spam regulations.

Newsletter content creation

A good e-mail newsletter requires interesting and informative content. Simply sending out a sales flyer will not get good results, and will potentially destroy any goodwill, created with your customer base. The content of a strong e-mail newsletter is best split into 80% information and 20% sales material. Any more sales orientation, and the e-mail loses its value for the reader.

Finding articles for an e-mail newsletter is similar to adding useful and informative content to a website. The newsletter author can either write the content, or use articles written by other people. Many successful newsletters use both types of content.

Articles can include how to information, product reviews, industry information, and general stories surrounding your industry. The important thing is to provide fresh material, that is not readily available elsewhere. The articles should always link back to an articles page, located on your website. Getting the readers to your site is important for sales purposes.

Be sure to make a special subscribers only offer, and make it a good one. Provide a link to a landing page on your site, that repeats the generous offer. Make sure the landing page offers several links to click to make buying an easy process. Minimize the number of clicks required for purchase, to less than three.

Building your sales

To increase the number of recipients opening your newsletter, employ a tempting sales headline. Clearly identify the sender as your business, so your readers know it’s from your company. Keep track of the number of openings, the number of click throughs to your website, and the number of actual purchases. Test different combinations, one at a time, to improve those numbers.

To swell the number of newsletter subscribers, make a free offer. With every new name and address, offer a free e-book, a white paper, or a general informational booklet. Gift certificates and generous first time purchaser discounts also work well at adding new recipients.

Each e-mail should always include a link to send the e-mail to a friend, taking advantage of word of mouth possibilities. Always provide an unsubscribe link as well. When someone requests their name removed, do so promptly. It avoids any possible spamming charges, and removes a person who is not likely to buy at this time anyway. Remove their names promptly. It’s a courtesy as well as good business.

Keep good records of your purchasers, and offer them additional incentives and frequent buyer rewards. Those best customers will also spread the word of your e-mail newsletter, and of your business.

Keep your e-mail newsletter interesting and informative, and a joy to open and read. It will pay off with more customers and higher sales results.

Set your business newsletter apart from the regular e-mail, and it will be welcomed by your subscribers.

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Wayne Hurlbert provides insigtful information about marketing, promotions, search engine optimization and public relations for websites and business blogs on the popular Blog Business World.

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