I was clearing out my inbox over the weekend, and realized there were many e-news deliveries I had not reviewed and ended up deleting, although if you asked me I would have said I had read most of what came in. In thinking about it, I read most of what was easy to read, contained interesting content, and had valuable links, and that was it. So as someone who is both the publisher and the recipient, I came up with a few helpful tips to help you get your e-newsletter read.
1. Use a catchy subject line. There is nothing more boring about describing your newsletter as "monthly news," although many of us have been guilty of this, myself included! Try and think of a hook in the subject line that will attract readers, whether it has to do with saving time or money, a newsworthy event, or something urgent. For example, I just signed up for Marketing Sherpa's weekly wrap up newsletter, and there subject line topic read: "Best Viral Efforts of 08," as well as a webinar invite. I was somewhat puzzled, as 08 is not over yet (is it?!), but I got the idea and it was a good attention grabber.
2. Don't use your computer's e-mail program, ie. Outlook, etc. ! This is a major no-no, and I'm really surprised how many e-mails I get this way. For one thing, if you don't do it as a BCC, with the main message to yourself and the other readers CC'd, your readers are basically getting everyone else's e-mail addresses which violates their privacy, and really annoys people. Most e-mail programs have a limit as the number of people you can send to, usually only around 50, and they probably won't receive it anyway to due spam filters and other blockers. Also, there is no tracking software, therefore there is no way to measure your success. Spend the money on a good e-mail program. I like Constant Contact - they have easy to use templates, and I have been using them for about 2 years. Note: there are some free e-news software programs, but I spent about a month last year researching these and found most of them confusing and not user-friendly.
3. Don't e-mail too often and try to offer valuable information rather then just marketing your business. Last year, I signed up for someone's coaching e-news, and I was really looking forward to receiving valuable info. It turned out to be just a repeat promotion for a book she had just published, with barely any new information from one issue to the next, so I unsubscribed. Another newsletter I received published every day - way too often for me to absorb it all, so I deleted that one too. I think once a week is often enough.
4. Plan when to send your e-mail for it to be most effective. Most marketing gurus agree that Mondays and Fridays are to be avoided, but that Wednesdays midday at the most likely time to get read.
5. Take opt-ins seriously. Do not add people to your list that didn't ask to be on it. Many e-news providers will actually cancel your account if they discover you are doing this. Not only that, but it is unprofessional. If you are unsure, e-mail the person first and ask if they'd like to be on your list, I have found this to work quite mail.
Good luck on your e-mail campaigns, and let me know if you have an e-news program you like, as I am always interested in learning about new ones! If you need more tips, dmnews.com, (direct marketing news) has some excellent articles in their archives.