Email Marketing Part 4: Connect with Your Readers
The fun really starts after you’ve sketched out your email marketing strategy and developed a plan to build your newsletter subscriber list. Now is your opportunity to design a newsletter template, write the first issue, and get it ready to share with subscribers. Here’s an in-depth look.
Design Your Newsletter Template
Some email programs read only text, so you will need to design both a graphical and plain text template. For very long newsletters (not recommended), you may need to send an “email post card” that links to your newsletter content to avoid spam filters.
- Choose your “from” address and stick with it. Use something simple and intuitive like firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask subscribers to add that address to their address book to maximize delivery.
- Use subject lines that clearly identify the sender and entice the recipient. We recommend a format like “Newsletter Name: Teaser text.” Make sure your subject line is under 60 characters and don’t use all capital letters.
- Keep your design consistent. Visual elements such as your logo, font, color schemes, and layout should not vary from one issue to the next.
- At the top of the template, remind subscribers that they received the email because they signed up for it, and offer a link to view your newsletter online for those who are having troubling seeing the images.
- Balance text and graphics. All graphical mailings are more likely to trigger spam filters. Test your template with graphics turned off, as many email readers hide graphical content.
- Use a large readable font and plenty of white space in your copy. Try to limit your design to 2 font sizes and styles.
Write Your Content
All the work you’ve done so far has been to deliver relevant and valuable information to people who are interested in your services. Lousy copy will sabotage even the best laid marketing plans. Build a loyal following and keep your readers wanting more by writing engaging, thoughtful copy every time.
- Follow roughly the same content model in each issue. Plan your articles and offers to meet the needs and expectations of your readers.
- Include clear calls to action – what do you want your readers to do?
- Write short sentences and paragraphs, using bulleted or numbered lists used whenever possible.
- Optimize for two types of readers: scanners who skim for information and the studious who want all the details.
- If your newsletter includes offers, be sure to include all relevant restrictions and an expiration date.
Test and Send
You want your email to reach your subscribers, and you want it to look good when it arrives. Follow these tips for a speedy and successful delivery.
- Avoid using words and phrases that trigger spam filters.
- Never send so that one recipient can see the address of another, this can result in litigation and heavy fines.
- Test your message across multiple email platforms, including Outlook, gmail, Hotmail, and AOL mail.
- Verify that all of the links in the message work.
- Implement link tracking if you wish to measure response rates.
- Test your message to see if it is intercepted by your own spam filter.
- Send in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, Tuesday through Thursday.
- Distribute slowly, just a few messages per second.
- Be ready to manually process spam blocker emails that require sender verification.
- Remove invalid address bounces and spam complainers from your list immediately. Track bounces caused by a full mail boxes. If the same recipient bounces twice for a full mailbox, remove them from your list.
And there you have it. You’ve strategized, you’ve built your readership, you’ve delivered a compelling newsletter. By following our helpful hints and putting in a little elbow grease of your own, you can reap the benefits of staying networked online with the people who want to stay in touch with you.
We’d love to hear how this series on email marketing has helped you, and of course you should feel free to contact us or call 866-374-3762 if you’d like to work together to get your newsletter off the ground.