email newsletter format 2015

Creation & Value of Email Newsletters

I was asked by the award winning inventor Steve Bridger to assist him with his latest business book, what an honour… thank you for asking Steve…

In the beginning
It was the start of a new year… “How am I going to get more clients for my new email creation business?” was the thought buzzing around my brain. The year was 2002 and very few Marketing managers were willing to put their proverbial head on the block and try something new. They’d much rather spend £10k on a postal mail shot, than gamble £1k on this new fangled way of communicating with potential clients.

The irony being, back in 2002, you could achieve a 50% opening rate quite easily, as people were getting probably 1% of the emails they get today! Today, if you get 20% opening and a further 20% clicking on a link, you really should be patting yourself on the back for a job well done.

A good opening rate shows you are building stronger relationships as your readers take the time out of their busy lives to hear what you have to say… don’t waste their time!

Tortoise and the hare
But why would you create an email newsletter if the world is full of them, why is anyone going to open yours? The best results will be achieved by allowing people to opt-in of their own accord. Purchasing a list of 10,000 may result in 100 being interested in what you have to say, most folk on that list being irritated by yet another uninvited email landing in their in box. Now, if the profit of what you offer far exceeds the cost of any data, the email delivery & the creation of a template then 1 in 1000 interested might be enough to justify the expense & time… but interested doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy right now!

Think “tortoise and the hare”, take your time and make it interesting. Rather than volume, think quality in all things… from who gets it to what they get.

How do I fix the problem?
Are the best sales people the ones that make the most noise or the ones that are most helpful? So how about you talk about how you have solved problems for others? And if you haven’t started solving problems yet, commenting on potential problems you’ve seen in the newspapers or online.

A great structure for a short story is “What is the problem?” for paragraph one, “Your recommendation” paragraph two, “The result achieved” to finish things off. Creating a nice round circle of useful information that can be easily digested and strategically, easily shared with others.

Don’t over face your reader
When you first start putting newsletters together, there can be a tendency to want to include everything you can in each email. The reality is, rather like a good meal, it’s best not to ruin the steak by offering too many chips & too rich a sauce. Focus on having one main topic, maybe a second relevant story but then simply list any other titles with links to the stories so that those readers with bit more time on their hands can spend time digesting your great content. However good your email, 99% will just have time for one story, one link before their brain says “You’d best move on, that deadline is looming, stop procrastinating!”

Help your reader digest and move on
If your content is “to die for” then having a small taste of the good stuff means that the reader will come back for more when they have the time… or at least they’ll mean to! BUT by allowing them to move on quickly will ensure that when you call in real time the reader will be happy to take your call. This time should also be used efficiently for both parties, they’ll not take a second call if you waffle on. Busy people are busy for a reason, they are making money for their companies and so respect this and say what you have to say and allow them the freedom to move on… if they have a few minutes, they will kick back and spend the time with you, enhancing your relationship even more.

Initially you have 1/3rd of a second to make an impact!
How many emails do we all get in 2015? Too many is the answer… so you need to make the title work for you. It needs to create some type of reaction in the reader so they at least open the email. If you’ve done a good job in the past, your name might be enough (I like to think so anyway!) The reality is that you need to engage them within a blink of an eye as they scan through… once opened you will have 3 seconds to keep them, then 30 as they go “This appears jolly interesting, best read more…”

What makes a good subject line for your email?
This is totally dependent on who is your main audience for the newsletter. If it is of general business interested then something topical with an appropriate leaning. If the topic is serious then best stay on message but if you can add a touch of humour, do so, as 99% of subject lines will be trying too hard to sell something. By adding a light touch you add a refreshing approach…

A few minutes insight
The purpose of your email is to strengthen your relationship with the reader and I hope you hear from the above how that means valuing their time and making it easy for them to digest what you have to say. Assuming you have 30 seconds, once they have opened the email, give them the key points on the page so they can choose to click for more if they have a personal preference for detail. Don’t force them to click because you want more visitors to your web page. Most will not click and so you are reducing the potential impact of your message by probably 80% by trying to be clever & force a click. Give them a few insights in the email, so they don’t have to click and only have to if they really want more detail… and ironically, you’ll probably get more clicks that way!

Summary…

Create an engaging title

Make the most of your next 3 seconds by getting to the point in your sub title
Give your reader 30 seonds, 150 – 250 words of jolly interesting content that demonstrates an appreciation of your reader’s obvious intelligence and that they are busy people. Give them a few key points that will share the bones of the story, allowing them to move on without clicking through to your web page for the full 3 minute story. Showing respect for their time will get more clicks!

Get scribbling…

Thank you.

Jon

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