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10 Tips For Successful Email Newsletters

The inbox of your average consumer is prime real estate. Competition to catch the eye of the consumer is intense. Despite the upsurge of other marketing channels such as social media, email marketing remains the preferred channel for businesses. 
Globally, 144 billion emails are exchanged daily and recent statistics indicate that workers spend almost a third of their working time browsing email.

But, while email remains an important marketing channel, today's consumer is savvy and demanding. They are concerned about their email experience and will mark a message as spam if it offends them even slightly. Consumers today want to consume email that's personalized, relevant and offers real value.

If you are considering starting an email newsletter, the following tips will guide you.

1. Make Subscription Easy

The average Internet user has the patience of a hungry infant. If your subscription form has more than two fields, most will abandon the process. Users want to sign-up quickly and get access to the information you have promised but will promptly close the page when you start asking them for dates of birth and addresses. Limit your subscription form to a name and email address.

2. A Welcome Email is Mandatory

Shoot them a short welcome email once they confirm their email address to reassure them. If you have a special offer of some exclusive content to share, even better.

3. Keep Brand Consistency

The look and feel of your newsletter should match your brand. This applies to colors, logos, fonts and images used within the newsletter. Brand consistency has a positive impact on brand recognition.

4. Personalize the Newsletter

While it may not be practicable to tailor every email to all subscribers, it is possible to segment your subscribers demographically, psychographically, geographically and by behavior. And, you can break these down into smaller units so that you end up with small groups of subscribers who are almost homogeneous in terms of interests, behavior or some other metric and tailor the message to each of these groups.

5. Automate

It goes without saying that the entire process needs to be automated. Newsletters must go out at the right time or when triggered by behavior from the subscriber. To do this, you will need to invest in a good email marketing tool such as GetResponse, MailChimp or Marketo.

6. Create an Editorial Calendar

You need to send out the newsletter regularly and plan the content. The danger of long gaps in between newsletters is that subscribers may forget who you are and mark you as spam. As a general rule, publish at least once a month and no more than once a week. Having an editorial calendar also allows you to plan your content in advance and have a big picture of your campaign.

7. Have a Mobile Strategy

Most people these days consume email on hand held devices so your newsletter design must incorporate mobile friendly design elements especially if it contains images, graphics and tables. You may need to enlist some help for this if you find the technical aspects complicated. 

8. Include Social Share Buttons

Make it easy for subscribers to share your newsletter on social media by including sharing buttons. For mobile, include share buttons that launch instant messaging applications like Whatsapp. This will improve your reach and deliver more subscribers with little effort.

9. Use Analytics to Learn

Most email marketing tools come with advanced analytics to help you track the performance of your campaign and learn what works and what doesn't. Pay close attention to the open rate which tells you how many people read your email. The clickthru rate tells you the number of people that clicked on a link in the email. So, if for example, you have a high open rate and very low clickthru rate, it could be an indication that your newsletter content isn't convincing enough or doesn't offer anything of value. Other important metrics include bounce rate, conversion rate and forwarding rate.

10. Understand How Spam Works

The first rule to avoid being thrown into the spam folder is to understand how spam works. To avoid being blacklisted, ensure you only send email to people who have subscribed to your mail list. That's the golden rule. But, over and above that, you must go the extra mile and make it easy for people to unsubscribe. Every email that goes out must contain information at the bottom of the page letting people know they are receiving the email because of a subscription they signed up for, and, letting them know how to unsubscribe.

Despite the popularity of social media and their place in content marketing, email remains the most popular form of communication. Ignore it at your own peril. While social media has grown in leaps and bounds, email remains the King of sales due to its flexibility when crafting the message. This is unlike social media where you are limited to set number of characters or only a small portion of your message is visible. Take advantage of email marketing today with these tips. And, let's leave you with one more statistic to mull over, 72 percent of people check their inbox more than six time daily.

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