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For most email marketing practitioners, it’s all about staying hip and current with your inbox content. Tips on being conversational, relevant, and engaging have flooded the web, leading plenty of brands to fire off messages that look more like emails between old friends and less like marketing offerings. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, that doesn’t mean it’s always the right way to approach email marketing and brand outreach. With a growing push for more official, professionally composed newsletters gaining steam in the industry, now might be the time for your company to switch up its style and partake in a little brand journalism the next time you fire off a marketed message to your audience.

The Current Case for Newsletters

So why exactly are branded newsletters back on the upswing? According to Klint Finley of TechCrunch, you can thank the rise of celebrity bloggers for this renewed interest in more structured email content. By making this content exclusive to the email audience, these digital thought leaders and personalities have drummed up some serious hype for the format. Essentially, it’s the tried and true method of taking something popular, in this case pop culture or industry oriented content, and telling people the only way to indulge in it is by signing up for the “secret club” – in this case the email contact list.

The Benefit of This Approach

Even if your brand isn’t generating the same traffic as the biggest blogging names on the web, that doesn’t mean you can’t ride this wave of excitement as well. Finley goes on in his report on newsletters to note that for those able to pull off a successful email newsletter, there’s plenty to look forward to. First up is the increased control in the content dissemination process. Instead of saving your best copy for the company blog and hoping it makes its way around the web, brands that have a killer newsletter can leverage the most influential platform – the inbox – to spread the word on these top tier offerings.

Additionally, there’s the simple fact that readers pay more attention to what’s going with their emails. We could bore you with a mountain of stats regarding the power of this channel, but Finley’s discussion regarding author Warren Ellis’ contact list provides a much more personal example. Essentially, for each newsletter Ellis sends out, he averages around 5,000 opens. When you consider that his total contact list sits at 6,865, that number really starts to carry some weight. To put it simply, newsletters are in a great position to take advantage of the demand for more detailed content.

Everything You Need to Make a Successful Newsletter

So now that you’ve heard the case for trying out newsletters, it’s time to talk about what goes into an optimized take on this content. To start off, Forbes Magazine’s Kate Kiefer Lee suggests spending some time working on your brand message. It’s definitely not the flashiest part of the process, but if your newsletters come out as disjointed sections with random facts inserted at varying intervals, you’ll be wishing you took the time to hammer out a clear, distinct theme to your content.

Once you have your brand message in order, Lee goes on to point out that the best newsletters are “scannable.” Naturally, not all of the content you offer is relevant to every single reader, so breaking it up into easily digestible, but related and interwoven, sections is a great way to offer an attractive experience for your audience.

The next step, according to Summer Luu of Business 2 Community, is all about timing. Even the best newsletters in the world don’t stand much of a chance if you’re firing them off during odd hours or lulls in audience activity. While it might seem easy to just fit these emails into your schedule and call it good, you’re much better off devoting some time to researching the peak hours and behavioral habits of your audience. This way, your approach can focus more on the data supporting appropriate timing, and less on convenience and the path of least resistance.

Finally, Luu offers up the last key piece to a great newsletter – attention to detail. Whether it’s proofreading or double-checking linked materials, anything you can do to put a little polish on your content goes a long way to making a splash with discerning readers. With so many great options flooding consumer inboxes these days, even the smallest upgrades that come from focusing on the little things could mean the difference between revolutionizing how you interact with your audience and watching the competition steal your thunder with higher quality content.

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At Elite Email we love helping people. It’s basically our passion.

But, every little while we get to do something that goes above and beyond what we even hoped to achieve.

This leads me to an amazing story about the Village of Brookville in New York.

[You can read the full press release here.]

When Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeastern United States, it left the town without power, phone and internet. There was no way for the town leadership to communicate to residents at all….well, except for Elite Email, of course!

With an intermittent internet connection, the town leadership was able to connect to their Elite Email account to send out important updates to residents and officials about what was going on. It really helped that Elite Email is cloud-based because even without accesses to their offices, all they needed was any computer with an internet connection and they were all set to send out their newsletter.

Here is the exact quote from Winsome Citarella, the Clerk Treasurer:

Elite Email was a life saver for our Village during this recent crisis. After Hurricane Sandy hit the Village of Brookville lost power, phone and internet services leaving us completely out of touch with our residents and officials. Since I was not able to access my usual software to communicate I was saved by my Elite Email account. I was able to access your site from where ever I was able to get internet however intermittently and was able to send out important notifications to the residents which was extremely helpful to all of us. So thanks for providing a great service.

We know the town residents really appreciated these timely and critical newsletters because we were forwarded replies like this:

“The residents of our village are indeed very fortunate to have you as our Mayor. The endless hours you spent in contact with LIPA, personally traveling every street in the village and relaying information to us was truly outstanding.  We appreciate your daily updates and subsequent twice daily emails.”

“Thank you for the valuable update report.”

“Thank you very much for these updates. We are sincerely thankful for all of your hard work and all the Village has done. “

“Thank you so much for all your efforts – for the hours that went into planning and preparation, and for the excellent follow through.  
Your email communication has been invaluable and is much appreciated.
The entire community is in your debt .”

“Hi – I love these emails! Thank you for the daily update. “

“You are a wonderful leader for all of us.  Your emails are reassuring and help us to know that we are being well represented. “

“Just wanted to say thanks for all the hard work and keeping us informed.”

“Thank you for the frequent updates.  Although the news is never great, it’s better than being kept “in the dark”, sorry about the bad pun!  I really appreciate all that you guys are doing! “

WOW, are we glad to have helped make a difference in any way at all!

Remember, there are still many people in need, so please donate to the Red Cross.

 

I love email newsletters. You love email newsletters. We all love email newsletters!

But, how are small businesses actually using email newsletters to help achieve their goals?

To answer that question we conducted a quick flash poll of 250 small business owners and asked the question directly to them.

You can view the full press release online by clicking here.

#1 Build Stronger Relationships To Encourage Repeat Business
This was the top answer as given by 49% of all those surveyed. We all know it’s easier to get repeat business than earn new business and email is an amazing tactic to help keep your brand in front of the consumer. After all, if they forget about you, they cannot buy from you again. But, if they are on your mailing list and get emails from you once a month, then you’re definitely a lot harder to forget. Plus, these constant touch-points help build a stronger relationship between your company and the consumer, especially when you are giving them good useful content.

#2 Special Promotions or Discounts
Everyone loves a good deal, especially when that deal is a special thing just for you (… or all email newsletter subscribers). Putting a special offer directly into your customers hands is an incredibly effective way to drive sales. Since you don’t have to pay any printing fees or flyer distribution fees to your postal system, the ROI you can achieve from this type of tactic is huge. Many businesses are putting a “buy now” or “add to cart” button right in the email to make it really easy for customers to take advantage of the special promotion. We also see a lot of time sensitive discounts where a certain deal is only available today or for the next 24 hours. This encourages immediate purchases so people don’t say “I’ll come back to this later” and then forget about it.

#3 New Product Announcements
It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s the best thing since sliced bread, and with the click of a button you can send an email newsletter to all of your contacts.  Getting the word out about new products or services could have been challenging or costly in the past, but now with one email newsletter blast you can let everyone know right away. We have even seen a lot more businesses building hype for new products in advance of them being released, similar to how a movie trailer gets us excited about that great new flick coming out in a few months. With a well structured email that showcases a picture of the product and highlights the key features or benefits of the product, you can distribute a lot of information quickly, easily and effectively.

Although these were the top 3 results from our recent poll, here in the Elite Email offices we get to see all the different creative ways businesses use their email newsletters as a key tool in their marketing mix. Sometimes a little outside the box thinking can go a long way towards keeping your audience engaged, entertained, and buying your products!

 

This week we have 10 new templates that were put online for all our customers.

They can be found in the categories basic, newsletter, religious or restaurant.

As always, our design team is hard at work creating new templates. Stay tuned for more next week.

>> View More Email Templates

basic221 newsletter345 newsletter346
religious227 religious228 restaurant222
restaurant223 restaurant224 restaurant225
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>> View More Email Templates

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