So something people often confuse is what an Email Marketing campaign is and what a Newsletter is and what the differences are. For me there is a very clear cut line dividing the two. One is an advertisement only and one is providing information and set to bring people back for more than just a sale.
In this post I am going to go over what I think Email Marketing is and what a Newsletter and Newsletter Marketing is. Then I am going to paste most of a post I put on a forum called ABestWeb a couple years ago about how to write an Effective newsletter. Although some things have changed with the post, the basics still remain the same and the post is a very good one. There are also some comments on the post that are helpful so after you read my post about How to Write An Effective Newsletter, click through the link and read the comments people placed about it.
For me, Email Marketing is sending an advertisement or a strictly sales message to your list. The list may have signed up on your site, on multiple sites, through a co-reg path, through buying a list, a company acquisition, etc… Regardless of how you acquired it and if people opted in or not (most of the time they have not opted in directly but may have agreed to get emails from partner companies and had their email addresses sold to the partner which I am 100% opposed to) it is strictly a sales note meant to get the person to sign up for something, get a “free” trial, buy a product and nothing more.
Sometimes Marketers and Spammers will disguise it as a newsletter and give you an article about a topic, but the main goal is a sale and not to keep the reader or website member coming back for information, site loyalty, etc…
Newsletter are an extremely valuable thing for any company. The newsletter base signed up directly on a website, the list is not combined with other lists, is targeted to the topic of the site and the goal can be to make a sale, but also to keep your readers coming back to your site to find out more information, participate in discussions, submit content and make a purchase or register for a “free” offer.
Newsletters are usually content driven and can sell ad space. In the case of Coupon and Loyalty sites, the newsletters content is providing coupon codes, usually specific to the end users needs and wants. For content sites and blogs it is teasers about new articles and posts and for communities and for merchants it is about new products, discussions and new features that are available.
Newsletters can have sales copy in them but also use advertisements and some text links for products that are mixed in with the content. The purpose of a newsletter is to remind the person why they were at your site and signed up for your newsletter and to keep them coming back so you don’t lose your audience to your competitors.
It is important to remember to engage your audience and keep them interested in what you have to say. In order to do this there are a few things you can do and a few things to remember when you are writing and creating your newsletters.
Here is a post I made a couple years ago that helps to outline some things you may want to keep in mind when creating your newsletters. After you finish reading this post, visit the forum to read the rest of the post and all of the comments made about it.
Here is the post:
Saw that there hasn’t been a guide or tips for writing effective newsletters posted, or a sticky, so why not start a new thread.
Common to all newsletters:
1. Try to remember who your audience is and who you are writing to.
2. Write clearly and remember that not everyone reads at the same level.
- Avoid using advanced jargon. (unless it is a very specific topic to your site and audience)
- Spell check your work.
- Give them something to think about or entice them to click on the links by teasing them with a short on the content.
- Keep things to the point.
- You do not want to go off on tangents and make your newsletter 10 pages long. Make it brief so that people will read through it, then give the link to your site or to wherever they can find the remainder or the full version of the article in the newsletter.
3. Remember what the point of the newsletter is.
4. Make sure you clearly define the benefits of the newsletter and what the reader will get out of it.
5. Do not make small statements or make a demand.
- This doesn’t mean you have to write a book, but you also should say something like (join my program and make money), tell them why they should join your program, or why they should be clicking on the target link.
6. Proof read your work before you send it out.
- People will pick up on major and some minor errors in your writing. To keep their respect you should make sure everything is as perfect as you can get it. Not only will it continue to keep your readers trust, but it will also show your dedication to providing quality to your audience. ( I need to listen to this myself before I hit post on these forums lol)
7. Remember to include some sort of contact information, whether it is an e-mail address, a phone number or just a link to a contact us form.
- Keeping in contact or providing a way for your audience to get a hold of you will help you to begin building strong relationships with your reader base.
- Providing a way to get in touch with you builds confidence and trust in the reader as they have a way to know there is a person behind the words and a physical being that they can reach out to if they need to.
This feeling of a person behind the newsletter is very powerful to an audience who signs up for your letter, but doesn’t trust shopping on the internet, etc… because they now know that there is someone writing to them and they may feel as if they can reach out to that person if there is a problem.
8. If you have a lot of points to make, but you also have a ton of paragraphs, bullets will help you reduce space and keep the readers eyes moving across the letter to completion.
9. Don’t go overdramatic on bright flashing colors and fancy fonts.
- People are reading for your product/service or information you have agreed to provide. Although the fonts can make your newsletter pretty, it is the info you are giving them that is important. As the saying goes “Too many accessories clutter an outfit” Too many distractions will clutter your letter.
- Capitalizing every word gets old. Yes it stands out, but it can also be taken as yelling at your readers.
10. When punctuating (. , ; ! ?) remember to:
- Not go overboard with the exclamation points!
- If you punctuate one or two bullets, make sure you to the rest. Consistency is a major key to success. Make sure you follow this with your paragraphs, headers, titles, and side notes as well.
- If you use a variety of different marks, make sure you use them correctly.
11. Remember to source everything that is factual or written by others. This is especially important if you are making direct quotes, using trademarks or stating something that’s validity is questionable.
Recruitment letters should provide the information on why a person should join your program.
- Include what the benefits are to the affiliate, not to you!
- Provide valid contact info so your future affiliate/partner can get a hold of you.
Try to think of why the affiliate would not want to join your program and use the remedy in the letter to explain to destroy the objection before they even think of it.
Do not harass the affiliate with tons of e-mails etc… It gets old and obnoxious fast!
Include something about them or their site that is unique and inline with your program so they know:
- You are not sending a bulk random e-mail to a ton of people.
- You have taken the time to find them and have looked through their site instead of just looking for their contact info.
Monthly newsletters should provide a brief review of:
- Last month’s performance
- Current promotions or deals
- Important info about your program
- Hints, tips and tricks to help move your products or promote your company
- Proper branding and messaging or a review of your company’s guidelines if you see them being broken by more than a few people.
Remember why your audience signed up for your letter.
- Keep on the topic at hand.
- Remember to write for everyone and not just yourself. Although it is important, not everyone knows everything you do and you want to make sure they do not feel left out by not understanding.
You do not always have to have affiliate links or IDs on everything. If there is a site or product out there that is relevant, reference it anyways. It will still add value to your letter and keep them reading future editions.
Adding in cartoons or fun downloads from your newsletter is a great way to keep people opening up your communications. If the downloads are good and within the taste of your topics; people will continue to take advantage of them.
Pay attention to both the affiliates section and merchants section of this post and try to combine those into your letters as you need to meet the needs of both of us.
There is a ton of information I have left out of this post in order to get other people to write their thoughts and ideas down and also because I have to get back to work.
Also, if you need help with your Email Marketing or Newsletters or just want some fresh ideas, feel free to write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me and I’ll be more than happy to help you.