There are three email newsletters I read faithfully, every single time they enter my Inbox. I subscribe to over 20 newsletters, but only three are “never miss reading” newsletters.
Would you say email newsletters are dead because I don’t read 17 immediately, or would you say it’s very much alive because of the three I read right away?
There’s been lots of talk among my clients and students these days, speculating on the possible demise of the email newsletter as a powerful internet marketing tool. Funny thing: I remember having this discussion back in 2005 with my internet marketing colleagues, yet email marketing is still alive and well years later.
Sending out weekly or monthly updates to your list of customers, students, and mastermind group members has grown in popularity as a marketing tool ever since the Internet began.
But now people are overwhelmed with the amount of email they’re getting, so what are you to do?
There are lots of pros and cons to using email newsletters and email marketing. Let’s look at an overview:
- People can get to know you through your newsletters. Not just what services or products you offer, but how you think and feel about the topics you write on. Email newsletters give you a chance to create a relationship with your audience and establish your thought leadership.
- If you’re sending out HTML emails, you control the look and feel of your email newsletter, and can establish a solid brand and image in people’s minds.
- You can track to see who opened the email and how many people clicked on the links in the email. Statistics are a crucial measure of the success of email marketing, and lets you know what people are interested in (and what they’re ignoring!)
- You can customize your message to segments of your list. For example, if a group of students took an introductory-level class with me, I can offer them an advanced-level class. Or if people have expressed an interest in a specific topic, like running a mastermind group, I can send just those people a new article I’ve written on that topic.
- Never overlook the fact that most people are time-constrained and appreciate the convenience. With the overwhelming number of places on the internet to search for information, having ONE source they can rely on is a blessing.
- There are many ways to get in front of your target audience with your content and news now: social media sites, your own blog, article banks, YouTube, webinars, etc. Your newsletter is just one of a mix of marketing, education, and communication techniques, and it requires more effort now to communicate through all these channels.
- Too much email, too much junk. People are inundated and often will ignore things in their Inbox that they can’t take care of right away or that have a lower priority. And don’t forget those nasty filters that whisk away your email before your reader even sees it!
- If you don’t write regularly, people are apt to forget about you. Or worse, think you’re inconsistent and therefore unreliable. Ewwww.
You need a strategy for your email marketing. (Oh, no, I used the “S” word!)
I still believe your mailing list is the hub of your internet marketing strategy. It’s the only place where people have raised their hands and said, “I want to hear from you.”
- Putting a subscription box on your blog, where the visitor enters their email address and it gets added to your email list, will allow you to send blog posts to people who don’t visit your blog often.
- Build your mailing list by making free offers through your website and social media channels.
- Put your free offer on the back of your business card so that you get subscribers via your live networking events.
- Create an excellent Welcome Email to make that important first connection.
Even Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner says that the way to retain people from our blogs is to get them on our email lists. He says email marketing is THE most powerful marketing technique, and I have found this to be absolutely true. He also says that your email list is your most valuable asset besides your content. Strong words from a guy who’s focus is social media marketing.
Here are some tips:
- Above all else, offer value. When you write an article for your email newsletter (or your blog, or your Facebook posts), make sure you’re giving good, detailed information. (Read your past five newsletters…did you serve your audience well?)
- Sixty-day rule. Remember that your subscribers are most responsive in the first 60 days of signing up for your list. Stay in contact with those folks more often than your once-a-month newsletter.
- Loyalty counts. Reward long-time subscribers with special freebies or discounts.
- One of many tools. Ask yourself, “What are ALL the different ways I can communicate with my audience and share my articles, advice, offers, and news?”
- One of many lists. Think of your email list as just one list of many lists you curate. Your Facebook friends are a list, your Twitter followers are a list, and your YouTube and blog subscribers are lists. Sometimes the subscribers overlap; often they don’t.
- Combine with human contact. Don’t just have an email list and think that’s enough for people to get to know you and trust you. Offer free webinars and podcasts. Be available via Facebook or Twitter for ongoing conversations. Give live speeches both locally and nationally. Get out there and be seen – everywhere.
Email newsletters aren’t dead. They are a strategic component of your internet marketing plan. What brings success is having an integrated internet marketing strategy, mixed with some real-life connection to your audience.