September 22, 2009

Secrets to a successful e-mail broadcast

Business people with successful websites are usually doing one thing very well: content.

Ensure that the content on your website is not purely sales material, and adds value for the person taking the time to read.

Everyone who owns a business is an expert at something (hopefully). For 1300 Web Pro it is websites, for Aden Lawyers it is law, for The Motor Shoppe it is vehicles, for Between Two Rocks it is wine, and so on and so forth.

If a customer visits our 1300 Web Pro blog on a regular basis, they will both learn from the free expertise we put out every week, and will hopefully feel more comfortable in using and recommending our business since we seem to know a lot about websites. This opportunity exists for any business when writing about whatever it is they are an expert in.

So, we have established that content is important.

Each week when I hit "Publish Post" on my blog, I immediately go out and tell people that there is something new to read. I do this by posting on Facebook, on Twitter, and via an e-mail broadcast. All three of these methods is intended to reach a different target audience. The method I use to target business people is the e-mail broadcast.

A successful e-mail broadcast is a very effective marketing tool. Open your inbox, and you are likely to see examples of this. Whether it be "Daily Dealers" for the shoppers, "Cinebuzz" for the moviegoers, or "Harvard Business Publishing" for me, we all have e-mail broadcasts we receive regularly and pay attention to.

Here are a few tips to keep readership up:
  1. Use a "double opt-in" subscription system. Basically this is a "are you really, really, really sure?" process. Most e-mail broadcast systems will have this. There is no point in sending your message to someone who doesn't want to hear it.
  2. Use a e-mail broadcast system. Don't just send e-mails from Outlook. Subscribe to a service like gCast, MailChimp, CampaignMonitor, Constant Contact, or Attain Response. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps the most important two are to facilitate "opt-outs" (people wanting to leave your list) and so that you don't accidentally CC: your entire customer list to each other. We have had a law firm and (last night) a financial services business do this, which compromises privacy and is unprofessional. These applications also provide statistics, which is useful.
  3. E-mail at a consistent day and time. Whether you send your e-mails daily, weekly, or monthly, keep it consistent.
  4. Ask your subscribers what they want. Incidentally, e-mail me if you have a topic you would like to hear from me about in a future blog post!
  5. Minimise the hard sell. Send information people will enjoy and find useful.
  6. Use images sparingly. Most e-mail programs block images these days, at least until the reader clicks a button to allow them. Make sure that the content is visible even when the images are blocked.
  7. Make it easy for someone who receives the e-mail as a forward to subscribe. It's word of mouth marketing.
  8. Include the information in the e-mail. Don't send a link to your blog, send the actual text.
If you want any more information on e-mail marketing, please give us a ring on 1300 932 776 or send us an e-mail through our website.

James Deck
1300 Web Pro
Twitter: @1300WebPro