For a successful newsletter, you not only need a good concept. You also need to make your email marketing stand out in the general oversupply of information. In this article, I'll explain how to get more readers for your emails and how to actually reach them.
When I visit a website these days, I am often confronted with a number of notices and "call to actions" in the first few seconds. There waiting for me is the now well-known cookie banner - sometimes more, sometimes less user-friendly.
Also, the site would love to notify me of new posts directly in the browser. Shortly thereafter, a chat window pops up in case I have any questions. And after that's all clicked away, another pop-up predictably follows: "Subscribe to the newsletter now!" Why I should do this isn't always clear, though. Perhaps I'm being enticed with a coupon code.
Before you simply integrate such a newsletter pop-up, check out the following tips, hints and suggestions. They are divided into two subtopics:
- How to get more readers for your emails
- How to better reach your existing readers
For your email marketing to be successful, you need more than just a stream of new readers. You need to attract the right people, and you need to keep pushing through the information overload.
Attract more readers to your emails
In the previous parts of this article series, we have already dealt with possible formats and areas of application for email marketing, as well as setting up a good concept. So I assume that you already know which people you want to reach with your email marketing and in which way.
For this article, I'm assuming you want to implement and promote a newsletter or email series. You've thought about what might interest your intended audience. And you've set a clear goal for your activities.
If not, you should read that now in the two posts linked above. Because that's the foundation on which you'll build your future email success.
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Important information for more registrations
To get more people to sign up to your mailing list, you need to answer a few important questions in advance, and do so as succinctly as possible.
A very central question is: Why should one register at all?
As mentioned above, I often see a coupon code there as an incentive. There's nothing wrong with that either, but it's more of a short-term measure: once a person has used their code, you need to make sure they stick with it and don't just unsubscribe again. That's why it's so important that you've found a coherent concept that your future clientele will find relevant regardless of such a reward.
An incentive can be special offers that can only be found in the newsletter. But the content itself is also important. Think like a content marketer: What can I do to help my readers the most? What do they find interesting, useful and relevant? So name the benefit that the newsletter offers and describe in advance why it should be read.
You must then make these arguments well to the point when you promote your newsletter. Think about a handful of indents. Maybe you can even put it in a single, crisp sentence. It's important to be as specific as possible here and state exactly what your emails offer.
A helpful element in all of this is the "social proof". This means that you show, for example, how many people have already registered. This creates trust.
An important piece of information is also the frequency: how often do people get an email from you? Make that clear. Ideally, you don't flood your readership with messages, as discussed in more detail in the concept article.
And last but not least, a note that you do not send spam and that you use the email address only for this purpose and do not pass it on (which you do, of course) is helpful. This may seem obvious to you. However, it is a good idea to state this specifically in order to further build trust. It is also helpful to explicitly state how you can unsubscribe at any time.
Ultimately, the aim here is to eliminate any possible concerns. After all, one's own e-mail inbox is a very personal thing and some people are reluctant to enter their e-mail address on a site they hardly know because of bad experiences.
An important note at this point: For now, I'm just talking about the information and details you should include to gain more trust. For legal reasons, you will need to provide more details. These issues will be addressed in a separate post.
A simple registration wins
Apart from this important or legally required information, you should make the registration form for your newsletter or email series as simple as possible. It is sometimes tempting to ask for more data right away, such as the person's name, company, interests, and so on.
For legal reasons alone, you must not make such fields mandatory in your email marketing. But also for reasons of user experience, you should avoid complex queries and forms. Instead, reduce the registration form to the absolutely necessary information that you actually want to use later.
Otherwise, you may find that prospects leave it alone or "put it off until later" because they don't have the time or the spirit to deal with it right now.
So where are you promoting this now?
Once you've done all that, the next question is where and how to promote your email offer.
I already mentioned the typical newsletter pop-ups above. They can be perceived as annoying, accordingly it is important that you design them properly for your email marketing. The basic information mentioned should be quickly apparent. People need to understand within seconds why they should sign up and why they can trust you with their email address.
- Within or at the end of appropriate content in your corporate blog or magazine.
- Self-promotion, such as in the sidebar of your website.
- In the footer of the site.
- As a pop-up that appears when the mouse pointer moves out of the window (aka "Exit Intent").
- And, of course, through your social media channels.
In other words: If you take email marketing seriously, you promote it like your other products and offers.
To put it in a nutshell: You will gain more subscribers with the right thematic focus, all important information before registration and a registration process that is as simple as possible.
Reach the existing readers
Once you have all this in place, your email list should gradually fill up with new readers. Your next challenge is to actually reach these people. On the one hand, there are technical hurdles in your way. On the other hand, you have to earn their attention over and over again.
The technical hurdles include primarily the various filters and here as the first antispam mechanisms. So you have to make sure that your messages are not considered as unwanted advertisements.
Here there are basic settings to present yourself as a good sender to these systems. Keywords are SPF, DKIM and DMARC. These allow you to prove your authenticity. They also help to make it more difficult for your URL to be misused as a sender for spam.
It is also important to keep your distribution lists up to date. Bounces should be automatically sorted out by your newsletter tool. Ideally, it will recognize whether it is a permanent problem ("hard bounce"), for example if an address no longer exists, or whether it is a temporary problem ("soft bounce"), perhaps because the receiving mail server was temporarily unavailable. Ignoring bounces can have a negative impact on your reputation with Google & Co.
On top of that, make sure that your readers can easily unsubscribe if they are no longer interested. Do not hide this link, otherwise they may mark your mail as spam, which may reduce your deliverability.
Another important element is how you organize the mass sending of your emails. Often you will use an external provider like Mailchimp, Sendinblue, Clever Elements or CleverReach. These services keep a close eye on their delivery rates. In other words, they set strict rules so that email providers like Gmail and others let their messages through. You can also send your emails from a server you set up yourself. But then you have to make sure that your emails are not blocked. And that's not so easy these days.
Other warning signals for spam filters can also be certain words that frequently appear in spam messages or missing information about the sender and how to unsubscribe from the e-mails.
Gmail also pays attention to how often users opens the emails. If they lose interest, this can also lead to your messages being classified as "unwanted". Therefore, it is sometimes recommended to either automatically remove inactive users or to regularly ask them to confirm their interest by clicking on an email. Unfortunately, this will cause you to lose readers on a regular basis. But otherwise your delivery rate may drop, which is much more problematic.
If the spam filter is successful, some providers have added additional functions to sort incoming e-mails by category. Your newsletter may then not appear centrally in the inbox, but under a separate tab such as "Advertising" or "Newsletter". Here it can be a good idea to encourage your readership to change this manually so that your messages are not overlooked.
After all these technical challenges, the next thing you have to do is fight for the attention of your readers. This is where your content concept comes into play again: hopefully you always have something in your emails that is interesting and relevant to your readership. But that's not enough:
- Consider what day and time your readers are most likely to be receptive to your messages. For example, on Monday mornings, email inboxes are already full and your readers are already stressed from the start of the week. On Friday before lunch, they may be more receptive, but not always receptive to complex information.
- Make sure your subject line is appealing and intriguing without triggering spam filters. Avoid superlatives, for example.
- Don't forget that you have space for a "pre-header": This is a text that is displayed below or after the subject, depending on the mail program. If you don't specify it explicitly, the beginning of the email text is simply used, but this is not always useful and helpful.
- Personalize the information to your different target groups. This is where the segmentation of your email distribution list comes into play: You sort all your recipients according to meaningful categories. For example, you distinguish between prospects and existing customers or between active and inactive recipients.
- Last but not least, make sure your email looks good and is usable on all devices. Keep in mind that images in emails don't always display reliably. And just in case, there should always be a link to a web version at the beginning of the email.
Conclusion: More reach through email marketing
Of course, it's nice to see your newsletter list grow. But what use are thousands of recipients in the end if only a few dozen actually become active?
That's why it's important to not only design your email offer well and promote it on an ongoing basis, but to keep earning the attention of your readership.
The real acid test comes when you have a new or special offer for these people: If you do everything right, they should be much more receptive than people you reach through ads.