A key piece of any good marketing strategy is a well thought out email marketing plan. It’s great to be eager and want to start your email newsletter quickly so you can share your knowledge with your subscribers, but your emails will be much more effective and successful over the long-term if you first take some time to consider the following five essential components of your strategy:
Frequency determines how often you are going to send out your emails. Your ideal schedule will depend on the type of information that you’re sharing, but I recommend staying in touch with your readers a minimum of once a month. The most common frequencies that companies adhere to are:
- monthly (recommended minimum)
- as needed (special editions usually tied to events related to your business, such as product launches or seasonal reminders)
You’ll need to decide what schedule makes the most sense for you and your subscribers. No matter which frequency you decide on, quality of content is more important than frequency. Don’t send an email simply because “it’s time” – make sure you have something worthwhile to share that addresses your readers’ goals or problems. Quality is driven by your content plan, which brings us to point 2.
2. Content Format and Source
Your readers typically subscribe to your email newsletter to stay up-to-date and informed about your area of expertise. What can you offer to help them run their business more effectively or become more successful? Let this be the basis of your content.
Ideally, your content will speak to issues your target audience is experiencing while also relating back to your products or services. Choose topics and formats that not only peak your audience’s interest but also inspire you to keep writing regularly.
Sample content formats include:
- Your blog content, either sent manually or with an automatic RSS to email feed
- Tip of the week where you share quick, actionable ideas with your audience that position you as a thought leader. You can likely write a year’s worth of 52 tips in one sitting and then schedule them to automatically be sent out each week on a specific day and time.
- Video training or audio clips where you record short 2 – 3 minute audio or video segments and send your readers a link to listen or watch the recording online. Seeing or hearing you helps your audience to connect with you and get a better sense of who YOU truly are.
Once you’ve decided how often you’ll send out your email newsletter, it’s time to sit down and plot out the type of content you’ll create for each issue of your email newsletter. If you find that you run into writer’s block, perhaps check out our blog topic ideas to get your ideas flowing. A helpful approach is to write down the most common questions that your clients ask — these are great topic ideas for creating content you already know your subscribers are interested in.
3. Supporting Material
While your newsletter will have a main message or article, it should also contain additional information related to your services and/or special offers just for your subscribers. This helps to build more value into your newsletters and stand out as a value-focused company. Some possibilities for this supporting content include:
- Unannounced, surprise bonuses, either in an initial welcome email or sent out from time-to-time thereafter
- Exclusive, subscriber-only offers or discounts, such as a 10% off sale. These offers can be promoted in more than one message, increasing their visibility and value to subscribers.
- Featuring a product or service to increase sales, either one of your own or an affiliate offer from a related, complementary service provider.
- Offering a free, limited-time consultation.
- Showcasing testimonials from past clients, including their specific situation and successful outcome.
- Asking for feedback. People love to feel heard and are usually happy help you grow your business. Asking for their feedback shows that you value their concerns and suggestions.
The main goal of supporting content is to always tell the reader how to get more information or work with you more in-depth.
4. Sign Up Incentive: Downloads
The number one reason to provide a valuable download is to encourage new subscribers to sign up for your email list. New subscribers means you are reaching a wider audience, getting your name and brand directly into their email inbox on a regular basis.
This incentive should be focused around giving people who are interested in your services a “taste” of what you do and how you do it. It should speak directly to the needs of your ideal client and show them that you understand their challenges and concerns.
When developing a download for potential clients, consider the following as to what would make it of real value to them:
- Does it address or solve a pressing problem faced by your ideal client? Look at who you are currently working with and what they found most valuable or interesting when working with you. This will help focus the topic of your download.
- Will it encourage immediate consumption? In other words, is it quick to read or highly interactive? Keep your download easily digestible so it doesn’t get filed away for later and forgotten.
- Is it valuable or unique enough that they will want to share it with others? In addition, will your associates be willing to promote it to their audiences?
- Is it easy for them to apply or implement in their own life or business? Can they put the information to immediate use?
The most important thing to decide about your download is to be clear on your main objective. Once the download has taken place, what do you want it to accomplish for your business? What do you want your readers to do after they receive it?
A great objective for your download is to have prospects call you and ask for a free consultation. In fact, for many service-focused businesses, this is a great objective for your entire website.
You can also use your free download to learn more about the interests of your new subscribers. For instance, if you are a personal trainer, you could offer new subscribers a choice of two gifts: a video about training for a bodybuilding competition, or a video about using strength training as a weight loss technique.
From the subscriber’s choice, you can then segment them into a list according to which video they selected and send unique content and promotions to each segment that specifically targets their interests (more on this in step 5).
5. Supplemental or Specialized Emails
Specialized emails are separate from your regularly scheduled newsletters. Use them to:
- enhance special offerings, such as product clear outs or special courses
- share events, including reminder dates, workshops, and seminars
- send personalized messages, like welcome emails, anniversary, or birthday messages
Supplemental emails are a great way to keep in touch with clients who have been inactive, but still subscribe to your list. As these emails are often more targeted to your subscribers’ unique interests, it’s easier to engage readers and inspire them to respond.
Having a clearly defined plan for your email newsletter is essential if you want to grow an email list of readers responsive to your offers and promotions.
Curious how to set up a email newsletter plan that makes sense for your business? I am always here to help you explore your options and set you on the right path for your email marketing success. Contact me today!