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Email Newsletter Best Practices for 2011
In 2011, email newsletters will remain a great tool for keeping in touch with an audience. While this form of communication has been around for a long time, some elements of creating and delivering email newsletter are changing. Consider the following to keep your email newsletter content and delivery systems up-to-date in the 2011.
- Get ready for mobile readers
If 2010 was the year social media took off, 2011 will be the year for mobile communications. Make sure your email newsletter is viewer-friendly for readers using smart phones and other mobile devices. Reduce very large graphics. Write shorter articles. Use bit.ly links. You may need to create new email newsletter templates to accommodate a new mobile-friendly design.
- Connect your email newsletter to social media platforms
- Create an industry group on LinkedIn. In your LinkedIn profile, create a link to your email newsletter sign-up page.
- Promote email newsletter sign-ups on your blog. If you get a lot of traffic to your blog, this can be a great channel to capture new subscribers.
- Integrate your corporate Facebook page with your email newsletter. You can do this by simply adding a box that allows visitors to sign-up for your email newsletter. Also, make sure to add a sign-up box to your individual Facebook page, which you use for business.
- Create a link to your e-newsletter sign-up account on your sign-up page on Twitter.
- Use social media to develop the most relevant content
Social media is a wonderful two-way communications channel. You can use social media monitoring tools to identify the topics that most interest your subscribers. You can us these channels to; pinpoint your blog topics that get the most response, monitor most popular blog posts in your industry, look at the keywords people use to find your site in a search, etc.
- Develop an editorial calendar and dynamic content idea platform.
You should plan several editions ahead to ease the production process. You can use many online tools to capture ideas for articles. Google trends, for example, can often tell you how popular a subject is at certain times of the year. You can also use RSS feed captures to pull together current-relevant news. If you need help developing a content idea platform, contact the Email Newsletter Resource Center.
- Create content that provides value.
Do not use your email newsletter to deliver only sales messages. Make sure every issue is full of valuable content. A good rule-of-thumb is to use a 60/40 split, with 60% of the content pure value and only 40% a sales or marketing message. Valuable content can include tips on how to do something, results of an industry survey, information on useful industry resources. Engage your audience, ask for their input, articles, comments, etc. and publish reader responses in your next edition.
- Make it easy for readers to buy what you sell.
Yes — do not over do the sales pitch; but, do not under do it either. You are undoubtedly trying to sell something. Make sure your marketing messages include a call to action, such as “sign up for this informative Webinar”, “download our white paper”, etc
- Repurpose your content
You spent time to develop your email newsletter content. Look for ways to reuse the content in other communication channels. Send Twitter alerts about the most topical information. Create blog posts or news releases for high-value information. Make sure to change each re-purposed version of an article slightly. If you reprint an article verbatim in your blog and on your Web site, you will lose SEO points for duplicate content.
- Make sure your Email Service Provider (ESPs) accommodates social and mobile technology
Email delivery is changing and must accommodate social media and mobile integration.
In our experience two of the leaders in delivering email newsletters to mobile are iContact (learn more about iContact at this link) and VerticalResponse (learn more at about VerticalResponse at this link). The best ESPs will have the technology you need to do this. If your system provider is not ready, now is a good time to shop around. Read our complete reviews of the top email service providers.
- Ensure your sending platform integrates with the latest technology
Systems, such as Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail, are coming online to help end users take back their inboxes from the spammers. ISPs are also tackling spam by evaluating the reputation of the sender and observing how their customers interact with email. Look at some new tools, such as Mailbox IQ, to measure how your audience engages with your email e-newsletters. Make sure your current ESP or in-house email platform can accommodate these new tools.
- Encourage readers to pass it on
Make it easy to for your recipients to forward and share your email newsletter with their networks. Research shows that enabling readers to share an e-newsletter with their friends and colleagues boosts email distribution by 40% or more.