Where do you find the email addresses?
You have some good ideas for the content of your newsletter. You have worked out a neat layout. Yet the most important question remains unanswered: Who will be receiving the newsletter and how do I get hold of all their email addresses? Are you even allowed to send advertisement-style emails to people who have not requested them?
Use your existing contacts
You are always permitted to send newsletters to your existing customers. For this reason, you should always take care to note down your customers’ email addresses so as to gradually expand your email address list. You are also permitted to send to legal entities – i.e. companies with which you wish to do business.
Here, though, you need to be careful to avoid annoying anyone.
The best and most natural way to gain new subscribers is to ask for email addresses. Analyse each occasion on which you have had contact with the customer and decide whether you can get their email address from this. Even if, for example, the telephone salesperson asks for a customer’s email address, the circle is not closed until the address has also been registered in the address list of your email application.
Subscription form on the website
It is easy to incorporate a form that asks for email addresses into your website. This should be done on the main page and on the most important sub-pages. The form should allow people both to subscribe and to unsubscribe.
It is important to make registration simple. Do not ask for any more information than is necessary. The more fields there are to fill in, the less inclined people are to register.
Write a few lines next to the form about what subscribers can expect. Write in ‘sales speak’ about the type of information that subscribers will be able to share, and what benefits this can provide. Also state that the addresses will not be misused for other purposes; people will then have the confidence to register without hesitation.
The form should provide an opportunity to update the subscription address (the average lifespan of an email address is three years), in case for example the subscriber has changed job or the company has changed its domain. A function allowing you to tell friends is also valuable.
Tell people about the newsletter in your printed material
If, for example, you publish printed material – such as a brochure, newspaper or annual report – you can add the web address of your subscription form and explain the value of being a subscriber to your newsletter. By all means do this in a prominent, eye-catching place. By showing that you support and are proud of your newsletter, you will also be sending out strong signals to potential readers that it is useful to be a subscriber.
Your email signature – an effective dissemination channel
Perhaps you send out masses of emails to customers, partners or others every day. These people may, in turn, perhaps forward your messages on to others. Here, you have an opportunity to easily set up a link from your email signature to your newsletter: ‘Do you wish to subscribe to our newsletter? Click here.
Make it a policy, too, for all your employees to have links to their email addresses. An employee possibly sends thousands of email messages each year to hundreds of different recipients.
Let your subscribers do the work
By encouraging your subscribers to forward the newsletter – or, even better, to complete the tell-a-friend form in the newsletter – each mailing can have a knock-on effect. However, this is assuming that the content is good.
By holding competitions where existing subscribers are able to propose ‘three new subscribers’, you can increase the number of addresses in one fell swoop, depending on who your recipients are. This is not, however, entirely without its problems, as there is a risk of picking up addresses of people who do not belong to the target group at all. We also recommend cleaning out the suggested addresses in order to eliminate any addresses found that have been sent in solely to take part in the competition.
It is good from an ethical point of view if the person who has been proposed is sent an email message stating who (email address and, ideally, name) sent in the proposal. A link can also be included that needs to be clicked on in order to verify the subscription.
Buying a ready-made register of addresses
Maintaining and refining your address list
One of the biggest benefits of email marketing is the opportunities it gives you to direct the mailing to the various target groups on your address list. When you are collecting your addresses, always ensure that you ‘tag’ them correctly - in other words, put them in the category where they belong.
Try to categorise them based on as many criteria as you possibly can; you never know when you may have cause to use the various categories. The categories can vary widely depending on your target groups or customers. However, some suggestions are as follows:
- Geographical region
- Age category
- Purchasing power
- Different versions to the various target groups
For best results, you should send different versions of your newsletter to the various target groups. Surveys show that you always get a better response by sending to multiple lists with fewer addresses than by sending the same newsletter to a single large list. Segmenting your mailing in this way makes it more personal, and it will therefore be appreciated more. If you take a good look at the subject, you will find that there are a huge number of benefits when carrying out market surveys via email. The low cost, the opportunity to carry out surveys over a wide geographical area and the avoidance of the need to engage interviewers are just some of them.
In the following parts of this training course we will be getting down to the details. We will be looking more closely at how best to design a market survey via the Internet, and the common pitfalls that should be avoided.
Remember when there is a special event
By all means send out mailings in connection with something special that is happening, or with one of your events. For example, if any of the recipients have attended one of your seminars they may appreciate a letter of acknowledgement afterwards that includes the notes, pictures and a summary of the information. Those who did not attend the seminar may perhaps want a longer summary of the day.
When something important happens in your company – for example, when you launch a new product, carry out a merger, perform a buyout or have an extensive recruitment campaign – it can be a good idea to produce individual newsletters for the various target groups affected.
Adjust your mailings on the basis of the open statistics
If you notice that one of your categories is not opening your newsletters to the same extent as the others, you may try various methods to win them back. You may opt to reduce the mailing frequency, or you may pepper the mailings with bigger discounts etc. As long as the subscribers have chosen to stay on the list, the battle is not lost.
Sooner or later, all newsletters suffer a fall in open frequency, particularly if the nature of the newsletter has remained unchanged for a long period of time.
Some companies choose to purge recipients from their address list as they are not generating the desired response. A more appropriate approach is to try to review your content in an attempt to win back your readers.
Even so, it is not totally pointless sending newsletters to recipients who do not appear to gain anything from them. The reason is not necessarily that the recipient is completely uninterested; the recipient group may be particularly busy during a certain period and may return at some later time.
Keep the registration process simple
It should be just as easy to unsubscribe as it is to subscribe. A simple function in the subscription box could be one where the visitor indicates whether their providing an email address means that they wish to subscribe, unsubscribe or notify a change of address.
Remember always to include a link to unsubscribe in each email; not only is this a legal requirement, it is also in your interests. If unsubscribing is difficult – for example, if you have to send a specially formatted message within a certain time and with a specific subject line – the recipient will prefer to block the emails.
This increases the risk of your email messages in future being classed as spam.
It should be enough either to click on a link or reply to the email message. Remember, however, that if your content is good and arouses the interest, you should not be affected by people unsubscribing.