Why Should I Do This?
Having a quality and consistent e-mail newsletter to market your business is perhaps one of the most important
things you can do as part of an overall content marketing strategy. If you’re not regularly sending
e-mails to your customer base, you’re literally leaving money on the table. Your e-mail marketing
campaigns are an ideal way to keep your audience reminded that you exist, and that you’re ready and willing
to be there for them when they’re ready. It’s very inexpensive and has a huge return on your investment
Are you still not convinced? Let’s talk some numbers then…
- E-mails you send are 45 times more likely to be seen, versus your Facebook posts.
- Your e-mails are 6 times more likely to result in a click-through, versus your posts on Twitter.
- Just over 4% of your website visitors buy something from your website, versus 2.5% and 0.6% for search
engine and social media visitors, respectively.
- 72% of people prefer to receive promotions through e-mail, over other mediums.
- Businesses tend to see an astonishing 3,800% return on their investment.
Create an Account
There are numerous e-mail marketing tools out there, but the most popular definitely seems to be MailChimp. It’s hard not to be. MailChimp is easy to use, feature-rich, and is completely free for up to 2,000
contacts. There’s literally nothing to lose, so
create your MailChimp account.
When you create your account, be sure to categorize your organization the best you can so that your statistics
are as accurate as possible. The good folks at MailChimp have done an exceptional job at providing
documentation, and this is discussed in their
default settings documentation.
Export Your Contacts
You have contacts. There are tons of people you’ve e-mails over the years. Whether you find them
in your Gmail account, a spreadsheet, or anywhere else… Begin exporting your contacts from all
available sources, and then
import the contacts into your MailChimp account. All you need to get started is an e-mail address
for each recipient, but having their first name too would be most ideal.
The best possible scenario is if you have a CRM in use already. For example, if you’re using HubSpot
Sales, you can
export your contacts quite easily.
Choose a Template
All e-mail marketing systems have templates for you to use. You can either use them as-is (there’s
nothing wrong with that in many cases), or
you can modify it to suit your needs. MailChimp has a wide variety of templates available to
you for free, and you don’t need to be a website developer to make updates to it. Though, it would
Decide on Your Content
This is perhaps the most paralyzing thing I see for people. If you’re not already a content creation
pro, you might be sitting there without a clue what to put into your first newsletter – much less a long-term
content marketing strategy. You don’t need to be a pro, and you only need to worry about your first
newsletter (for now). Remember, you just need to
You’ve most likely already begun blogging and your website has all sorts of pages to talk about. Put
together three to five things based on your most recent existing content from your website and write
a summary about each. Keep it brief though. Only use 1-3 sentences to describe each piece
of content, and
do not copy and paste the summary from your website.
Create Your First Campaign
You’re almost there. How exciting!
Prioritize the content you’ve generated into what you believe to be their order of importance. Create your first campaign, and begin putting your content into the e-mail template. Each piece
of content would be best presented with an image to help highlight it. You probably can reuse images
from the content itself. Keep it simple!
Don’t forget to
set the Google Analytics settings and
have your e-mails pushed to your social channels.
Test the E-Mail
Once you get your first newsletter to a good starting point, use the
built-in features to test the e-mail. You’ll want to send it to multiple types of e-mail accounts,
and to several people who you can trust to give you a valid opinion. You’ll want their feedback,
but take any feedback you receive with a grain of salt. It’s your newsletter, not theirs. Only react to the feedback that’s functional. The important thing here is to get your first newsletter
ready to send. The most important feedback you’ll receive will come from your target audience.
Send Your Campaign
Hooray! You’re about to send your first e-mail campaign! Quick, click the send button before
you chicken out!
Don’t just send the newsletter any ol’ time. You’ll want to measure your newsletter performance over
time, but traditionally, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings around 8 to 9 AM are typically the times to send
a newsletter. By “best,” I’m referring to getting the highest possible open and click-through rates. MailChimp has really useful send features to allow you send your e-mail on any specific day and time. (The paid version even has a cool feature called time warp, allowing you to send a newsletter to your
audience at a specific time, in their actual time zone.)
Open Rate: This is the percentage of people that open your e-mail. This is measured by
images being requested from the campaign server, so it’s never going to be 100% accurate, because some
e-mail providers/clients don’t automatically allow images in e-mails to be displayed, and yet others
will mask the source of the image.
Click-Through Rate: This is the percentage of recipients that clicked on a link in your e-mail. The more compelling and relevant the content is, the higher the click-through rate will be. Ideally,
all of your links will lead visitors back to your website.
Here are a few extra tips to make you look like a pro when your audience receives your newsletter.
- Include a piece of content that’s completely exclusive to your newsletter. Your audience should
be incentivized to join and stay on your newsletter list.
- Don’t sound
salesy… No one wants to feel like they’re being sold to. Think of your newsletter
as a free and useful resource instead. Your audience should feel like they got something special.
- Send at least one newsletter a month, but don’t send more than one a week. We’re all overwhelmed
with e-mails these days. So keep this in mind.
- Compare the click-through and open rates from month-to-month. Make any adjustments that you see.
- Content marketing campaigns are a long-game, allowing your grow your business over time. You won’t
likely see instant results, but you should see incremental improvements over the course of several
months. Don’t quit!
That’s it… If you follow these simple steps, everyone you send your newsletter too will think you’re a professional