If you've never done one before, creating an entire email newsletter
can seem like a daunting task – and more so when you think about putting
one together as a regular thing. But it's not that hard. Here are some
guidelines to follow.
1. Don't expect more than five minutes from your customer. He's busy:
running a business, surfing the Internet, changing diapers, checking out
new ringtones. A newsletter of between 500 and 1000 words per issue is
ideal for most, especially if you include click-throughs for your
website, where they'll find more content.
2. Keep it simple and short. Subdivide that short newsletter into
bite-sized bits, smaller articles of 200-500 words. Use short paragraphs and
lots of bullets.
3. A picture really is worth a thousand words, but only if your
customer accepts HTML. If your customers accept HTML in their inbox, you can
include images of your products in your newsletter. You should always be
ready with a text version, just in case they can't accept HTML.
4. Your newsletter should be supplementary to what's on your website.
Your primary goal for your newsletter is to get your customer to your
website, where they will buy products. Always keep that in mind when
composing your newsletter.
5. To maintain a high level of presence in your customer's mind, you
should send out a newsletter every four weeks. More frequently can get
annoying, and less frequently may cause your sales to drop off. With a
short newsletter, this can be very doable.
6. Content can be anything useful and entertaining. If you run an
online bookstore and want to have short stories and book reviews for your
content, that's fine; if you sell genetic engineering products and want
the latest technology news, that's good too. The key is that it must
captivate your customer and get them to your website.
7. Use email newsletters to communicate information about sales.
Remember, this is a marketing tool. If you have a hot buy, write an article
about it in the newsletter; for instance, if you're trying to get rid of
H-scale train track, write an article about H-scale trains and
advertise after the article that your track is on sale, with a click-through to
8. Use email newsletters to reward your most loyal customers. With good
email newsletter programs, you can subdivide your newsletter so that
you can target your most loyal customers with coupons and discounts just
for them. The corporate marketers do it; you can, too.
9. Use email newsletters to instigate that first sale from new
customers. Have a special newsletter in reserve that introduces new customers
to your site, and include a nice coupon in it to encourage the first
sale. It's much easer to get the second and subsequent, once they're in
the habit of buying from you online.
10. Keep good statistics on your email click-throughs. Again, with good
email newsletter programs, your click-throughs – the times your
customers click on links in the newsletter to go to your website – are
recorded. If you know what customers click on and what they ignore, you can
set up subsequent emails accordingly to maximize click-through.
11. If you can, find out more about your customers. The more you know
about your customers, the better you can target your newsletter. Run
surveys from your site, or simply ask for more, optional information when
your customer signs up for your newsletter.
12. Use your newsletter to sell advertising to your vendors and
affiliates. With a good customer base and proven sales from your newsletter,
you can sell advertising space to related businesses, or even to your
vendors when they want to push a product. Don't overlook the eventual
moneymaking potential of your newsletter!
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