New customer acquisition is expensive—it can cost 5+ times more than keeping an existing customer. As important as gaining new customers is for any business, fostering existing relationships should not be ignored. Reaching this often-overlooked customer base can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. With an email newsletter, your company can instantly reach customers who have expressed interest. Yes, emails can get lost in a cluttered inbox, but for those that break through, it can be an extremely valuable and effective tool. The question is not a matter of should I create an email newsletter for my company but rather, how do I do it.
Launching a new email newsletter can be daunting, but by following these basic steps you can have your newsletter set up and reaching your customers in no time!
Choosing an Email Service Provider
The most important decision you must make throughout this whole process is how you are going to send your emails. If you send them yourself, you run the risk of your emails being flagged as spam and limited by send caps. How do you ensure that your emails will reach your customers? By using an email service provider (ESP). There are many low-cost ESPs available, but with so many to choose from, it can be hard to know what is best for your company. Try using this tool to narrow down your options and find a good fit based on your budget and needs. We have included a few reputable ESPs below for you to take a look at:
When creating the content for your email, always remember to provide relevant and interesting information that customers will want to read instead of solely pushing your product. If you are only promoting product in your emails, your customers may start to tune you out in their inbox since you are not providing any added value. Instead, provide a variation of content so that you stand out amongst the crowd. There is no “one size fits all” for email marketing, but here is a list of content ideas to get you started:
Welcome email: As soon as a customer signs up for your newsletter, send them an email letting them know what you can offer them and what they will gain from signing up for your emails.
New Arrivals: Keep your customers informed and excited about your emails by sending them your newest product offerings. Prove that your business is always adding new product to keep them returning to your store and/or website.
Sales and Promotions: This is often one of the main reasons why customers sign up for an email newsletter so capitalize on their interest— announce sales, host contests, and provide exclusive offers.
What’s New: Customers—especially loyal ones—want to stay in the loop with your company. Keep them informed by sending out company updates and staff blogs to build a community within your business.
Events: Hosting an event at your store? Whether it’s an author signing, kids’ event, or book club meetup, let your customers know! Show them that you have more to offer than just product.
Surveys: Make your customers feel even more valued by giving them the opportunity to provide feedback about their experience with your company. Not only will you gain great insight on how to improve your business directly from those who have shopped at your store, but it will also build loyalty as they feel like they have contributed. Learn more about how to create an effective survey initiative here.
Designing an effective email
Once you decide what type of content you want to send your customers, you need to start the email creation process. For those who love being creative this is a fun step, but for those who are not, ESPs have you covered by offering premade templates. There is no one right way to design an email as long as the content is clear, easy to read, and encourages action. Be sure to include the following elements in each email with your own company flair and branding:
Include your logo at the top of your email to set the stage. If you offer free shipping on your e-commerce site, add it to the header. An average consumer only spends 11 seconds reading an email, so maximize your use of space by placing the most important information as close to the top of the email as possible.
This is the foundation of your email, so be sure to provide meaningful content that adds value for your customers. Don’t just include one item in your email newsletter; appeal to a wide audience by providing multiple pieces of content in each send. Consider adding some of the content below to your weekly emails to provide extra value:
- Industry news
- Staff picks
- Customer reviews
- Event photos
- Fun facts
- Social media contests
Call to Action
Since it’s important for your email to be brief and easily scannable, you’ll need to depend on a strong and specific call to action (CTA) after each piece of content to offer your customers more. Include clear and clickable CTAs to drive traffic to your website. The email should give your viewers a taste of what your company has to offer but leave them eager to learn more. Whatever you do, do not force your customers to seek out information on their own; keep them engaged with your company.
Does your company have social media pages? We sure hope so! What better way to cross promote than adding it to the footer of every email? Getting your brand in front of customers more often and encouraging them to follow your social channels will increase engagement and top-of-mind awareness.
This is an absolute must in your email footer as it is a legal requirement for sending out email messages in North America. The unsubscribe link should be easy to find to allow your customers an out if they are not interested in what you have to offer. If your customers get frustrated when they can’t spot the link, your emails run the risk of being marked as spam. Read all the legal requirements for sending email marketing messages as per CAN-SPAM (US) and CASL (Canada) here.
Subject Line and Pre-header
Even if you create amazing email content, it may not matter if you have a poor subject line. The subject line and pre-header (the secondary subject line) is the first point of contact between you and your customers and works in conjunction to entice them to open the email. Get creative! Use puns, wit, and eye-catching subject lines so that your customers can’t resist opening the email. The subject line is your golden opportunity to stand out in the clutter, so don’t waste it.
- Avoid spam trigger words like free, win, urgent, etc. to minimize the chance that your email lands in a spam folder.
- Edit your email thoroughly. There isn’t an undo button when sending emails—once an email is sent, it’s out there! Make sure it’s right the first time.
- Test mobile rendering. With over 50% of emails now being opened on a mobile device, you need to ensure your emails are displaying as intended. Test by using a site like Litmus to view how emails are displayed on different devices.
- Be reliable. Create an email schedule and stick to it. If your customers are expecting a weekly email, follow through and send them an email every week.
- Track your email sends! You won’t gain much insight and value from your email program if you don’t track and analyze the results. Use this additional information to see what emails procure the highest open rates, which pieces of content customers are clicking on the most, etc. This type of information is invaluable for optimizing your future sends to better reach your audience.
Obtaining email addresses
Now that your newsletter is set up, you need your customers’ email addresses. The easiest way to collect them is at your store’s point of checkout as well as a newsletter opt-in on your website. Encourage your customers to sign up to be the first to know about sales, exclusive offers, and additional newsletter perks. If your newsletter is meeting the needs of your customers and providing extra value, then you will be able to watch your list grow! Not only will your email newsletter become a staple marketing initiative for your company, but your customers will appreciate the additional communication channel.
If you are looking for more ways to increase your store newsletter subscriber list, check out our past blog here.
Stay turned to learn how to take your email newsletter to the next level by adding a personalization element.