E-newsletters are becoming ever more popular as a communication tool for organizations to reach out to their audience. Due to quick production time, dirt cheap cost, and measurable results, e-newsletters have a distinct advantage over their paper counterpart. However, it is due to these factors that our e-mail boxes are being flooded with dozens of e-mails every day, some of which we want to read, but most of which we don't.
Statistics are showing that e-mail and e-newsletters are losing their effectiveness because of over saturation. Spam filters are tightening their grip and we are losing people's attention, making it harder to not only get through to people's inboxes, but to get through to their eyes as well.
Is there hope? Should we all just abandon e-mail and go back to mailing letters? Certainly not. E-newsletters are still extremely effective when used properly. So what is the secret? It is actually pretty simple: Give people something they want to read!
Here are some tips that will hopefully improve the effectiveness of your e-newsletter campaigns and help you achieve your goals.
Build a qualified e-mail address list
The foundation of any successful e-newsletter campaign is the e-mail address list. The goal is not to send as many e-mails as possible, it is to get as many people to read the e-mail as possible. When gathering e-mail addresses, you may have heard the debate of "opt-in" versus "opt-out." Simply put, it is the difference between asking permission and asking forgiveness.
Today, people are easily annoyed and even angered by spam and unsolicited e-mail. Not only is it very ineffective to e-mail people who did not ask to receive it, you can actually anger them and do damage to your organization's reputation.
The hard truth is that it takes time and effort to build a good e-mail address list. Buying a list of addresses, even if they are "qualified," is a quick solution that will almost always bring poor results. In the long run, you will have much better results by directly asking people if they want to receive your e-newsletter whenever you come into contact with them. Put a field for their e-mail address and a checkbox to receive your e-newsletter on every form you have, both online and offline.
Write compelling content
The content of an e-newsletter should focus on the reader, not on yourself. Sure, you can have a section with news about your organization and how you hired three new people last month, but what readers will be most interested in is an article about the new program you started and (most importantly) how they will benefit from it.
Consider putting general interest articles in your newsletter, even if the topic is not directly related to your organization. For example, if you are a health club, include a section with a healthy recipe or tips to prevent heart disease. It is that type of content that has a personal impact and will keep people interested to read it time and again.
One of the most important pieces of the e-newsletter is the subject line. This is the first thing that people read and will determine if they open your e-mail or not. Use concise, clear wording that describes exactly what is in the e-mail. Avoid vague "spammy" phrases like "buy now," "limited offer" or "great opportunity."
Monitor the results
One of the greatest features of e-newsletters is the ability to instantly track the results of your campaign. You can see how many people opened the e-mail, clicked on links inside the e-mail, how many e-mails bounced, and how many people unsubscribed.
In addition to the raw numbers, take it a step further and focus on conversions. Did you sell more products or generate more donations through the newsletter? Did more people sign your petition after you sent the newsletter? Did you get any new people to register for your event?
It's one thing to get people to read your newsletter, but ultimately you want them to act in some fashion. Some of these measurements may not be directly possible through the e-newsletter system, but with a little additional analysis you can determine the real impact.
As you get this feedback, you can quickly make adjustments to your campaigns to make them more effective. You can try different techniques and see if they had a positive or negative effect. You can experiment with different feature articles, sending more or less often, subject lines, special offers, etc.
Take a proactive role and do not be afraid to try something new if you are not getting the results you want!
Special offer from Vertical Response for nonprofit organizations
, one of the leading e-newsletter systems, announced last week that they are starting a program for nonprofit organizations
that will allow them to send up to 10,000 e-mails a month for free. Additionally, they get 15 percent off any e-mails they send more than 10,000. The application process is very simple and only requires that you create an account with Vertical Response and fill out a one page application. If you are a nonprofit, it is worth taking a look!