Turning Blank Space Into An eNewsletter (Part 3 of 3)
Pt. 3 of 3 – Sending, Measuring and Evolving Your eNewsletter
You’re almost there! You have successfully targeted your audience, set your goals, gathered your content, organized it in a thoughtful way, and designed it to make to most sense for your readers; all that’s left is getting your first eNewsletter out there!
eNewsletters can be sent in a variety of ways, and the best way is all dependent upon whom your reader is and what they hope to learn from it. When you are sending electronically, your best option is to use a designated site, such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or Robly, that will maintain the database for you and allow you to pre-schedule mailings, as well as track the analytics – open rate, time spent reading, etc., all of which are crucial pieces of information if you want to ensure that you are focused on growing your audience with each eNewsletter. If you are sending to a smaller database, or you just do not have the means to use a designated site, you can always send it out on your own as a last resort, but be cautious. Though some see it as a way to give your audience a more personal touch, others see it as spam mail. You have to make sure to maintain everyone’s privacy by ensuring you use the blind copy feature and ensure all communications are being properly tracked to avoid skipping over, or double sending. The biggest problem with the “send it yourself” method is that it gives you no analytics regarding open rates, time spent reading, and other useful data that the servers provide.
When you are getting ready to send your eNewsletter out, you have to think about a few key items to make sure it does not end up at the bottom of your client’s junk mail bin. As discussed in Part Two, making sure you have a well branded and personalized design is one key step, but before that, getting it into your client’s inbox with a clear sign that it is coming from you and is NOT junk mail is most important. This is done by creating a clear and concise subject line that should both grab your readers attention, and inform beyond a doubt that it is coming from you. (Most sites allow you to send as if it is coming directly from your email address; if not possible, consider adding something to the effect of “on behalf of … ”) Once you are happy with your finished newsletter, you are ready to select the recipients and send away.
Once you have sent your first few, the analytics should give you a good idea about how your audience is reacting to your emails and what, if anything, can be changed and optimized. For example, if your open rate is low, consider changing your subject line to something more engaging or clear. If you have a call-to-action make sure it stands out, and if it doesn’t, think of ways to ensure it, such as incentives like “click here and you will be automatically entered in for a chance to win … ” or simply move its location to a more prominent area.
The tracking and optimizing phase will be an ongoing process that should help you continuously grow your eNewsletter both in content and thought leadership, as well as in audience reach. The goal is to never settle. When you meet your goals, adjust them to aim higher. In today’s world, things can always be improved. As mentioned in part one, a newsletter should not just be something you send out just to do it. Send it with a purpose!
Now you are ready to start your eNewsletter, remember everything discussed in this series and you will be on your way to engaging, informing and communicating with your audience like never before!