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How to take your newsletter marketing activities to the next level

How to take your newsletter marketing activities to the next level

We’ve all been there – innocently browsing online, then bam! – a pop-up message forcing you to sign up to yet another digital newsletter appears. Too weak to fight it, you give in. You think nothing of it at first. Then comes weeks and months of emails plaguing your inbox, irrelevant information you have no interest in, until you finally resolve to unsubscribe. Only then will you feel a weight off your shoulders – until the next time.

Sound familiar?

It doesn’t have to be. A lot of businesses do get newsletter marketing wrong, but there are many others which implement simple, best-practice steps to great success.

The Content Marketing Institute’s ‘Content Marketing in Australia 2018’ report found that nearly half of marketers use monthly newsletters for content promotion purposes. This shows the popularity of the humble email as a marketing tactic, whether to bring consumers news about the brand or offering business partners access to exclusive content. Further, Australia and New Zealand have the highest average clickthrough rate of any geographical region worldwide, according to IBM’s ‘Marketing Benchmark Report 2018.’

Newsletter marketing can be done properly. But only if your messaging targets specific users with information relevant to them personally and offers value in exchange for reading time.

Here’s how you take your current email newsletter marketing activities to the next level.

The basics of newsletter marketing

Business newsletters can be an effective way of reaching a large contact database, from customers considering purchasing from your enterprise to organisational partners. Successful campaigns will:

  • Convince recipients to engage with your business.
  • Encourage readers to take a desired action.
  • Drive higher quality leads and sales opportunities.

How to take your newsletter marketing activities to the next levelWhen setting up your newsletter marketing strategy, you should ask these questions:

What are my goals?

Every marketing campaign should have clear objectives in mind. These goals should be aligned to your wider business aims and regularly updated to ensure users only see relevant content.

  • Are your goals financial; to increase business sales?
  • Educational; to raise awareness about industry issues and guide readers to your content?
  • Or promotional; to discuss our enterprise value?

You can have several distinct goals – each one needs a unique newsletter marketing plan, though.

Who are my audience?

Consider the different groups in your wider audience, and think about the information they want to see. This might mean that you need to try different campaigns for different types of individuals.

For example, if your goal is to increase eCommerce purchases, first identify website visitors that don’t complete transactions and target them with different messaging than those who buy regularly. If not, the latter users will stop reading your emails as they will be irrelevant to them.

How will I measure ROI?

ROI can be difficult to measure, especially if your aims are not financial. However, there are some ways of tracking ROI outside of increased sales revenue. For example, a higher number of warm leads indicates that people are engaging with your business more deeply than before.

Higher website traffic, increased time on page or spikes in unique visits from new demographic groups also shows your newsletter marketing is hitting the right notes.

IBM research shows that improving your unsubscribe rate by just 0.1 per cent could save, on average, 10 subscribers from a database of 10,000 people. These are three mistakes that businesses make which cause readers to leave your newsletter unopened or unsubscribe from your email list:

1) Failing to tailor newsletter information to different readers

You risk losing user focus off the bat if you don’t adapt your messaging to different audience groups. Most people opening their inbox have one thing in mind – to have all emails resolved as quickly as possible. That means if your content doesn’t speak to each person specifically and offer a value takeaway, readers will mark your email as read or bin it.

Think about your tone of voice when writing for different audiences, and craft your messaging in a way that will speak to them personally. You should also consider the kinds of content readers would want to devote time to – what will keep them reading your newsletter?

2) Not including a value proposition or call to action

Self-promotional emails and exclusive deals are now aligned with spam, which individuals glaze over and delete. The best way to get around this is to ensure your newsletter offers genuine value. Whether that’s access to exclusive content or the chance for social media engagement, each message should give your readers something in exchange for the time.

Additionally, your newsletter needs to give individuals the chance to take action. A link to your blog, website pages or a contact form ensures readers can continue engaging with your business.

3) Sending emails at the wrong time or to the wrong account

It may seem unusual, but the time you send your newsletter impacts reader engagement. It’s  generally accepted that sending business emails during the working week improves the chances of your content being read. Further to this, MailChimp research shows that Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to send messages.

Additionally, businesses need to make sure that all contact email addresses are up-to-date and correct through regular database management. Otherwise, bounced messages will contribute to fewer readers engaging with your newsletter content.

How to take your newsletter marketing activities to the next levelThe elements your newsletter needs to go next-level

Think of your audience, write engaging copy. These are the basics of newsletter marketing. Here are some elements many fail to take advantage of that will help you build out your email list and improve content readability:

Use newsletter marketing for lead nurturing

Lead nurturing improves the quality of sales leads by developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel. Your newsletter becomes integral to this process when you begin developing different newsletter content to target different users across their buying journey.

Email lead nurturing is also an effective way of filtering customers ready to buy from those who need more time. However, it’s a strategy only used by 30 per cent of Australian marketers (CMI). Get started and get ahead of the crowd!

Ensure your messaging has a purpose

It’s one of the most common mistakes made in creating a newsletter marketing plan – but not giving your content a clear transactional purpose can greatly compromise engagement rates. Transactional emails had nearly double the unique open rate of non-transactional messages, according to IBM. If you offer your readers the opportunity to take action, such as signing up for further content access or to confirm membership details, they are more likely to check your email.

Track user behaviour with email analysis

A website tracking snippet allows you to track users’ patterns of behaviour when they follow links from an email. Google Analytics offers detailed data tracking and reporting features that help you make sense of user data which you can then use to improve content personalisation.

As you work through the figures, keep an eye on how the data is contributing to your wider campaign goals. Look at metrics like open rate, click-through, and conversion ratios. This information will give you an idea of what’s working and how you can improve what isn’t.

Average unique open rates for emails in Australia and New Zealand are just over 36 per cent (IBM) – meaning nearly two in three emails sent are never read. Make your digital newsletter something recipients actually want to read, and you’re a step closer to taking your business to the next level.

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Ciaran Bruder
Ciaran Bruder About the author