Email is still the best way to engage with your buyers. BUT it only takes one click to unsubscribe from your email list, and then they typically never come back.
To be effective, your message should depend on whether you're a MAFSI rep or manufacturer, and it should be personalized for the buyer personas actually reading your newsletters. At the end of the day, the goal is to engage your leads and customers and keep YOUR brands/lines “top-of-mind.”
Perhaps you have been sending out email newsletters for some time now. Or perhaps you are thinking about starting one as you continue to collect all those end-user email addresses. Just think about how many email addresses you have collected over the years, if not decades. Are they collecting dust, or are you in constant contact with them?
“Even though e-newsletters are one of the most common types of emails to send, they are actually some of the hardest to do right. It’s hard because it includes a mix of different types of content about different parts of your business, including event reminders, surveys, educational information about your product, service, or industry, and promotions."
- Ginny Soskey of HubSpot
Let’s face it, it’s not easy to achieve results and get your readers to click on a Call-To-Action (CTA), taking them to your website and getting them to tell you where they are in their buyer's journey. But if done right, your readers will be engaged, and you will nurture contacts into becoming qualified leads - maybe even cross-sell and/or upsell.
Here are a few important tips to help you make the most of your email newsletter blasts.
Tips for Creating an E-Newsletter People Actually Read
Email lists: Are you segmenting them?
It can seem like a very daunting task; however, segmenting your list(s) is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do to ensure you get the most out of your email blasts. Segmenting your lists into various types of buyers will help ensure you are creating and sending content that is most relevant – which in turn will increase your open and click-through rates.
Here are some examples of segmented lists:
- National Chains
- Etc. etc. based on your Marketing Categories most relevant to your region and/or product line (there are another 25+ here)
Yes, it will take some time getting them all into Excel spreadsheets at first. If your company uses a CRM, exporting the data could really save some time. Ultimately, this will set your company up for the future when using email packages like Constant Contact, MailChimp and marketing automation/CRM software like HubSpot.
Think about it this way, school directors do not want to see anything about beer systems. Conversely, a brewery will not be interested in a cafeteria serving line equipment. Sending the wrong information will certainly increase the amount of unsubscribes.
Figure out what kind of online newsletter you want to send.
Based on your segmented list(s), now you can determine what content you are going to send. Start with the ‘Why.’ Why are we sending this piece to this market segment?
If you are trying to keep your reps/dealers up to date with various aspects of your business, then a traditional ‘newsletter’ template may work out best. Traditional e-newsletters are typically a lot longer, so this is where it gets tricky. We all have short attention spans. If you have to send out longer emails, be sure your most important CTA is at the top. Your readers typically skim through emails and might not make it down to the 3rd, 4th and 5th CTA.
But if you are sending out an email blast specific about serving wine on tap to your dealers and end-users, you may want to keep it short and sweet with a clear CTA that drives the reader to a blog post on your website (see the example below).
Be consistent with your e-newsletters.
Commit to your newsletters. If sending only one per month, set a date and stick to it. Your readers will start expecting to see emails from you. Being inconsistent will hinder your open and click-through rates.
If sending out multiple monthly emails to various segments of your target buyers, you may want to start an email publishing calendar. Plan for these emails. Create a ‘workflow’ based on the content you are sending to them, which should be based on where they are in the buyer’s journey (or sales funnel).
Personalize your emails.
It is proven that personalizing emails with simply a reader’s first name will increase open rates. And this is just the first step. There is no reason why emails shouldn’t be personalized at the minimum by saying ‘Hello Janet’ these days. Think about it, when you receive emails that are personalized, aren’t you more willing to open and read them?
Taking it to the next level with email software, you can personalize emails using business intel like their company or school name. Or what if you thank them for downloading that How-To Guide you published on your website? Or follow up with a CTA to a case study that helps tell that personalized story relative to their specific business/marketing segment? Or even by their job role or buyer persona? (see Why Lead Generation Starts With Buyer Personas for more info on this)
Imagine the power of email as a sales tool when we take a step back and understand your readers’ needs and wants, and give it to them.