Instructions for creating the newsletter’s design
If the major promotion you are sending is in a graphic element, there is a great risk for many of the recipients not to see what it is all about. The reason is that most of the email systems restrict the automatic upload of the graphics files in emails. This way the offer will remain invisible until the consumer personally clicks on the link to “display the images in this letter”. It is easy for the consumer to click on this link but the question is whether they will be motivated to do so or whether they will rather proceed to the “delete” button. To avoid this you should always present the offer in the form of text. Every graphic element is welcome but the design should be created in a way that the non-appearance of the pictures does not harm the information.
2. Length of the newsletter
The newsletter is not a website. The website may include a huge amount of information, while a newsletter needs a different approach. The consumer will ignore everything that is below the visible part. Advertising newsletters inviting consumers to join the latest raffle that may give them prizes is an exception. In this case, even if the registration button and the only link in the letter are placed towards the end of the newsletter, consumers will find them. In any other case, however, the consumer is focused on what is displayed first before their eyes.
To “catch the eye” of the consumer you need to apply a personal approach towards them. A consumer will hardly feel fine when they know or feel that the newsletter has been automatically sent to them along with million other consumers. That is why addressing the consumer with the standard “Dear Sir/Madam” is not a good approach. You should use the data collected from the consumers – it is advisable to address the consumer by their name. If you use their surname, make sure you know their gender so as to use Mr. or Ms. before it.
The subject of the newsletter is of crucial importance that will determine whether the consumer will open the letter or delete it automatically. I have often seen newsletters arriving in my inbox with the titles “Most read news on Domain.com for the week” or “News for today – 12.05.2012”. These subjects are not informative enough and they do not encourage consumers to read the letter. Here is a concrete example. The letters from HiComm.bg used to be sent with similar subjects. With just a slight change we managed to drastically increase the number of opened letters and respectively the number of realized clicks. The change was that instead of showing the date of the newsletter we offered the title of the leading news and the subjects became the following: “What to do when your smartphone “dies”? – Hot news for 06-07.03.2012.” This way the topic is different every day and it attracts the attention of different consumers.
5. Who sends the newsletter?
It is not a good practice to send the letter from different business emails. Often in the sender line, one may see email addresses of the type email@example.com. This does not ring any bell for the consumer and that is why when testing the newsletter software you have bought, use for free, or have had programmed for you, you should pay attention to whether and to what extent you can control this line. The best option is to send the letter on behalf of the website, for instance – Domain.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>. This way people will recognize the sender and the chances of opening and reading it will increase seriously.
In case you already have a business and you use email marketing as an instrument, I recommend you to make the following test so as to see whether you are doing things right:
1. Do you have a database of consumers/clients, who have voluntarily agreed to receive newsletters from you?
2. Do you know how many of the addresses in your database are misspelled (with wrong domains, full stops, incorrect symbols, etc.)?
3. Do you know how many of the addresses you have are still active or closed?
4. Are you sure that there are no email addresses and domains that are listed in the Consumer Protection Commission’s register of electronic addresses of juridical persons, who do not want to receive unsolicited commercial communication?
5. Do you know the gender, hometown, age, and names of the persons behind the email addresses in your database?
6. Do you know what the open-rate (the ratio of the number of sent to opened newsletters) of your last campaign is?
7. Do you know what the Click-Through Rate (CTR) (the ratio of the number of the opened newsletters to the clicks on the links) of your last campaign is?
8. Do you know how many consumers unsubscribe from your newsletter after each of your campaigns?
9. Do you have an automatic unsubscribe option when sending the newsletters?
10. Do you personalize each newsletter sent by addressing each and every single consumer personally?
11. Do you assess the efficiency of every email campaign using instruments, such as Google Analytics?
12. Do you send your campaigns the way you have promised the consumers – at set time intervals on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis?
13. Are there more than 20 consecutive days when you have not sent email campaigns to your consumers?
14. If you are sending HTML newsletters, do you always provide an alternative text, identical to the one in the HTML option?
15. Do you know how your letter appears in the different email systems – gmail.com, hotmail.com, yahoo.com, Outlook, Thunderbird?
16. Do you use a specialized email marketing system?
If you have answered with “no” to fewer than three questions, then you are doing fine but you still have what to work on and improve further.
If you have between 3 and 5 “noes” – you have guessed the right track but still, you have not achieved the cherished goal and your work’s efficiency is relatively low.
If you have more than 5 “noes”, then we may say that you are not making any email marketing but simply sending chaotic emails to random consumers without having any clear strategy behind your actions. Your efficiency is close to zero but it is hard for you to realize it because you probably do not use the aforementioned instruments and metrics efficiently.
The test I offered includes only the major parameters that every entrepreneur should monitor when managing their email marketing campaigns. In fact, it seems too difficult to monitor so many parameters, especially to a person, who does not understand them in detail. That is why there are email marketing platforms that do most of the work for you. They count the number of the opened newsletters, which consumer has opened which newsletter, when and how many times they have clicked on the link, what the rate of the consumers, who unsubscribe after each campaign is, how efficient the campaign is, not only during the sending but also after the consumer enters your website, and so on.
Before we rush to buying an email marketing platform, it is advisable to consult with an expert because here there are many parameters that you should bear in mind, too.
Here is a simple example: you buy a good platform and install it on your WordPress-based website. You have invested $20 or $200 with the idea to send newsletters to 3,000 subscribers every week. However, you are not hosting your website on your own server but on a shared hosting server and that may be a problem. Indeed, you have a system that can send thousands of newsletters per hour but… the hosting company restricts you to a few hundred per hour. Such restrictions are normal but if you are not aware of them, you may send 1,000 emails not knowing that 60% of them will not reach the consumers.
You should not worry – you have not chosen a bad hosting, and there is no need to replace it with another one because of 10 or 100 more letters per hour. The solution to this problem is a matter of working out of a strategy by an expert, who should get acquainted with your database, frequency of sending emails, number of emails, type of information you send regularly, etc. Then you may be offered several solutions that will not require changing the hosting company while still being able to send thousands of emails per minute.
No matter whether you send newsletters to 500 of your partners or to 300,000 end-consumers, you should always have a set strategy, well-trained employees, and a proper software system for email marketing. Then your success is guaranteed.