12 Ways to Increase Readership of your eNewsletter

Written on the 7 July 2009 by Altitude Communications

As a savvy business person, you've no doubt at some time or another started down the track of creating a Newsletter or eNewsletter for your business. These incredible communication tools are well known for their ability to connect, inform, sell and service to both customers and prospects, however they can, if done incorrectly, be incredibly time-consuming. But it doesn't have to be that way - in this article we investigate how to offset the time it takes to create your newsletter with actual results, higher readership, customer enquiries and, if appropriate, even direct sales.

It's a fact, the online world has gone crazy with newsletters, but before you're put off, take heart. Most subscription offers out there are full of empty promises, hard selling tactics and useless information, which means a good eNewsletter will stand out and get read.

You only have to spend five minutes online to discover copious amounts of online magazines, journals, newsletters and the like. But in this world of information overload, how exactly do you make sure that your eNewsletter isn't lumped in with all the others?

Here are some important things to remember:

1. Gain Permission

SPAM is the big white elephant of the online marketing world. But while it may seem daunting or a little overwhelming, it is actually very easy to ensure that your business and your eNewsletter is SPAM compliant. Basically the laws in Australia state that you must have your contact's permission to send your material to them. Plus, all material must contain a working unsubscribe function, so that they are removed from your list if they choose to do so.  

And while permission-based marketing may mean that your database is smaller than expected, take heart, a contact who has elected to receive your material will be more inclined to read it (and take action) than someone who has not. For more information on building your database,please click here.

2. Define your target market

Think about your audience and tailor your material to meet their needs, wants, interests and concerns. Think about it, if you're in the market for a laptop computer, but receive regular information on a typewriter, your interest levels aren't going to be all that high. But in comparison, if you were to receive regular tips on purchasing, running, using and fixing that laptop, things would be very different. So make sure that you segment your database, and create content that is interesting to them.

3. Give your eNewsletter a purpose

Before sending out your eNewsletter, ask yourself this question.... "Why would anyone want to read it?" Now we know this sounds a little harsh, but it's amazing to see how many eNewsletter are filled with company-spruke that contains absolutely no benefit to the reader at all. And while you may think that it is extremely interesting to hear all about you and your business, consider your reader. Your eNewsletter needs a purpose, it needs to give good quality information, and, if appropriate, guide them through a course of action.  That's not to say however, that your eNewsletter cannot reflect your personality or your agenda. It's extremely important that your eNewsletter is reflective of your company goals, while also positioning YOU as the expert in your field.

To do this, consider including articles centred on essential aspects of your business, or featuring clients who are associated with your business and are happy with the service or product offered. 

4. Properly structure your eNewsletter

It is essential that your eNewsletter is clearly structured, with a set template that does not change from edition to edition.  That way, your clients can expect the same format each time, making it easier for them to read new material and ultimately increase your readership.

Another thing to consider is the distribution of your eNewsletter, if you start off with a fortnightly eNewsletter, then you must continue with a fortnightly edition. Think about it from a prospective customer’s point of view. If they were promised information every Tuesday, and it ended up coming sporadically or worse, not at all, then their impression of your business may be that you don’t keep your promises.

5. Get it done professionally

Business owners should know from personal experience that there is nothing worse than receiving anything that is poorly structured or unprofessional both terms of material and appearance.  Keeping this in mind, it's a good idea to have your eNewsletter templates designed by a professional graphic designer, so the look reflects your company.

Plus, if your writing skills are a little rusty, consider employing a professional copywriter who can create the perfect articles for your eNewsletter?  Copywriters can work from your directions, notes or an interview, and will write in language that suits your target market.

6. Tease your audience

In our time-poor world, very few people have the time to read massive or irrelevant articles. So the answer here is the tease. Your articles should be written to not only evoke interest, but also give as much information as possible in the shortest possible time frame.

If you remember back to your High School English class, the format of a good newspaper article contained all the most important information in the first couple of paragraphs. By following this template, you'll help your reader to get to the information they need without spending all day reading to get it.

Plus, if you structure your eNewsletter with introductory paragraphs that "Click through" to the complete article (that is hosted on your website or article library), you will also be able to track actual readership results, whilst also keeping your newsletter short and succinct.

7. Personalise your eNewsletter

It's all about your contact, and your eNewsletter is no different. Regardless of how large or small your readership is, make each and every one of your clients feel like your eNewsletter is personally addressed to them.  Simply done through the wonders of mail merge and personalisation fields, this simple addition makes each eNewsletter unique.  Remember, a little extra care can go a long way to impress potential clients.

8. Send your eNewsletter from a person

For even more personalisation - ensure your eNewsletter is sent from "someone." By having a "front man" for your business through your eNewsletter, you are able to build rapport, increase your profile, give opinions and increase the likelihood of sales. Remember, people buy from people, so if you're the one who's face and opinions are popping into their in-box every few weeks; you're positioned well to capitalise and sell!

Plus, don't be afraid of showing your personality (within reason) in your eNewsletters, your readers will probably enjoy a little deviation from "the real world," and your introduction could be just the place to give it to them. Keep it professional though, and always remember that once information is in the public domain - it's there forever.

9. Make it appealing

Include articles that clients will actually be interested in - generally, people love people, especially when you consider that people don't actually deal with businesses, they deal with people and buy from them.  So include articles that have a personal side to them.  Profiles are an excellent article idea and an ideal way to introduce your team to your clients.

10. Give them an option to go further

There's no point putting all that hard work into creating your eNewsletter if you don't give your clients an option to go a step further.  Include any offers that your business has, with a link to your website or a specialised landing page for more information.  Give your clients a way to come to your business and generate results!

11. Measure your results

After your eNewsletters have been sent out, it's important that you measure the click through rates on your articles and analyse the results.  This allows you to know which articles have been read and which ones have not. But more than that, armed with your statistical information you'll be able to improve and fine-tune your eNewsletter in order to boost your readership even further.  By keeping up with what your clients are interested in, you can increase their interest in your eNewsletter even more.

12. Use a Professional Email Marketing System

Your eNewsletter templates should reflect your branding and remain consistent with the colours and styles used in your brand.  Make sure that your font section is easy to read and that you have a pre-determined selection of styled fonts for headings, sub-headings and main content text copy. To ensure that you maintain and develop a consistent branding exposure, make sure that you use a professional email marketing database management system like  www.FastTrackeMarketing.com

It might sound like a lot of work, but rest assured, a well-structured, interesting eNewsletter can generate more results than you can imagine.  And you don't have to do all the hard work yourself, if you don't have the time - why not contact us to find out how we can create that great eNewsletter for you? Click here to find out how we can help you to publish your eNewsletters and maximise readership. 

Copyright Altitude Communications 2009. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be used without the prior written consent from the author. See below for more details...

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Marketing Mentors Bill Doyle and Sandra Hammond from Altitude Communications publish the popular 'My Marketing Mentor' weekly eZine with over 4,200 subscribers including solo-preneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners.

If you're ready to boost your business, generate more leads and make more money.  To get your FREE subscription to this valuable publication, plus our popular Report "50+ fresh eMarketing ideas and tactics to help you to attract new clients like bees to a honey pot and grow a profitable business without spending a fortune." Go to http://www.Bees2HoneyPot.com   

Author:Altitude Communications
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