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E-mail newsletters still powerful tool

Good marketing plans are relying more and more on the effective use of information technology, ranging in scope from a good company website to taking advantage of social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. But, despite all the current hype for the “hot” social media outlets, the email newsletter remains the most effective way to directly build and maintain relationships with customers and prospects.

Check this out – virtually everyone looks at everything in their inbox, even if it’s limited to the subject line before they hit “delete.” Accordingly, e-mail newsletters are actually booming. Groupon, for example, is flying high primarily on the strength of its e-mail lists, according to the online marketing research firm, Econsultancy (econsultancy.com). But success doesn’t come by chance. Effective email newsletters require planning. Here are some helpful considerations:

The Critical Subject Line: To get the recipient to open your newsletter, it’s all about the subject line. If it doesn’t grab them right away . . . delete! For example, a subject line that says “Gas Discount This Month” is sure to get a better response than “The XYZ Marine Newsletter.”

The Sign Up: Permission to add someone’s name to an e-mail newsletter list is a must. So, if you want them to sign up you should offer some benefits for doing so, i.e. the promise of future discounts; contests and prizes; special insider tips on new equipment; info on cruising or fishing or other benefits. In essence, you’re enticing the subscribers to add you to their incoming e-mail.  

Make It Personal: A good newsletter is personal – it must touch the subscriber’s interests. To do that, you need to know something about them. What kind of boat do they have? What do they like to do most? Any kids, etc? Basic information can be obtained from a short signup form on your website or on the store counter. A tip, however – experts advise to keep the form short and simple. You can learn more about them through surveys, comments and other ways later on.

Get Readers’ Feedback: This is where you learn more. There should be a set up for readers to communicate with you. You can use quick surveys or polls (“Rate these five local on-water restaurants,” for example, or “Rank your favorite boating activities in order?” etc.) Interacting with customers through the newsletter builds stronger relationships.

Vary The Content: Readers want subject matter that’s relevant to them. Content ideas include: Common problems customers encounter and how you or they can solve them; customer profiles, testimonials and success stories with pictures; review products and recommend books/articles relevant to their interests; provide relevant boating industry news, insights and trends that will impact boating activities and enhance enjoyment; use guest expert articles on anything from electronics to recipes, and so on.

Sometimes as fast a things change, some things remain the same. In the past, e-mail newsletters have been excellent vehicles for building customer relationships, and they’re still worth the effort today.

Comments

4 comments on “E-mail newsletters still powerful tool

  1. Chris Kourtakis

    Norm,

    Great Point! I tell all my clients that I news letter is a must have. As a social media manager, I still develop monthly or quarterly newsletters for my clients.

    One thing that everyone needs to keep in mind is that if you commit to a monthly newsletter, you need to do a monthly newsletter. You cannot do one one month and then skip the next. Customers look for consistency and are looking for information on your business. That is why they are on your mailing list and signed up to receive your news letter.

    Great point on varying the content. It cannot be the same format, look, etc and then have the same information every month. Don’t have enough to say each month, every other month is fine or even quarterly.

    As Norm stated, news letters allow you to add a personal touch. Maybe a nautical tip or a definition of a nautical term. It can be anything. This is a great place to spot light your company’s employee of the month.

    News letters are key to your marketing strategy and when used correctly, they are very effective.

  2. rog

    Combine this with the credibility that can only come from print advertising and the combination will certainly help drive business toward those combining the two.

  3. David Tomen

    Norm:

    You nailed it in this article. After enjoying 10 years in Ft. Lauderdale as a yacht broker, I’ve taken on the role of Dir. of Email Marketing for one of the larger and oldest Internet Marketing companies in the world. I only bring that up to validate what you said in the article.

    Social Media marketing is here to stay, and has become a critical and integral part of every company’s marketing strategy. But email is like the “grandfather” of internet marketing, and everyone checks their email. Everyday. Companies that serve the recreational yachting community, and use both in their marketing strategy will get the business. If you don’t – you won’t.

    Thanks,
    David

  4. dave

    as a “customer”…don’t forget that social media marketing for the sake of keeping up with the others, will net you zero. The message still needs to be relevant, honest and complete, else the method of delivery matters not.

    Just talk to a 21-26 year old and see what they “check everyday”….I doubt it is email…at least for my son and his peer group at an engineering college in Hoboken, NJ

    Best of luck to you social media gurus

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