My personal email address is a carefully guarded secret and for good reason. Every time I sign into my email account, it’s littered with hundreds of unread email and in order to get to the good stuff that’s actually relevant to my life and how I run it, I have to wade through tons of email newsletters. I don’t enjoy it and sometimes I can’t even figure out how they obtained my email address.
It’s not about your business… initially
It does get a little overwhelming! The email newsletters I pay attention to the most are the ones that think outside the box and ask nothing of me. They provide information that is important for how I run my life and they do it for free! I think that making a connection with an email newsletter is similar to a good relationship. You want to cultivate things slowly and ensure that the relationship is equally balanced for the most part, meaning that you are investing as much as the other person. In order to do this, it sometimes means building good faith based on solid industry advice for your specific industry. What advice would you give a friend if they were looking for services in your industry? Share that advice in your email newsletter.
The most important thing to remember, and the most common mistake I see businesses make, is looking after their own interests and outlining only what they want out of the email newsletter, for example, a sales flyer focused only on the sale of items or services (ie. I want you to buy this item or service). The email newsletter is obviously about your business, but frankly, people get tired of being ‘sold to’ and newsletter fatigue is becoming very common. In order to avoid that, give more than you take, at least for a while, and see what happens.
Here is a rundown of how to cultivate a good relationship with your email newsletter:
- Pull back on the lists of products, and coupons. Counterintuitive, right? Larger companies can get away with this because they have the volume game in the bag and a lot of advertising support in various media worlds including television, radio, magazines and even the bathroom stall. If you are a small to medium business, you don’t have a fraction of that reach so you have to make that email newsletter count. Doing your research and adding interesting information and tips for your subscribers is relationship building. This can prevent the glaze over and automatic delete that is sure to come at one point or another with ongoing lists of products and services.
- At the end of the day, it really is about good, solid content. Welcome to the premise of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about engaging your audience with information they are already seeking out. Stop climbing the muddy hill and get some solid footing by meeting them where they are and giving them the information they want. Find out about your demographics (age, income, housing etc.), and their psychological profile (behaviours/interests) to get a better idea of what they are after. You can obtain basic information for free and it is only a Google search away.
- Always offering ongoing deals and sales in an email newsletter for small to medium businesses may give off the vibe that you’re a little desperate. Sales are good now and then, but if they are constant, it questions the viability of your business model. Do it every now and then but concentrate more on your content and see what your subscribers are engaging in the most. Statistics on what subscribers are clicking on the most are readily available in many newsletter services, including Mailchimp.
- Remember, anything worth having does not happen overnight and that includes your email subscriber list. Don’t aim for a high number on your subscriber list, aim for engagement. If you are consistently getting high bounce rates and unsubscribes, it’s time to clean that list up. Losing subscribers who are not engaged is not a loss. Unsubscribe those with low engagement with the option to re-subscribe and let the chips fall where they may. This is especially important if there has been little activity over the last 6 months. This gives the subscriber the chance to re-evaluate whether it makes sense to stay on the list. They may opt-out and that’s okay. You can’t be everything to everyone, and shouldn’t try.
Know your demographic, and know your market. Speak to them, and to them alone. Build your brand by providing information that makes something better or easier for them. It is about concentrating on them rather than what you would like to see happen immediately! Separate yourself from the crowd for long term results.
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