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Using email newsletters to achieve marketing success: 5 tips

Make sure your newsletter strategy is tied to your overall marketing plan

3-minute read

E-newsletters are one of the most effective, time-tested online marketing tactics used by owners of small businesses in Canada.

They can help sell products, boost brand awareness, generate new sales leads and educate a company's target audience.

But while newsletters can be highly-effective, they can also backfire. Without the right content, design and distribution strategy, they could be dismissed as spam by recipients, who are bombarded with emails.

Five tips on creating a successful e-newsletter

Not sure how to incorporate e-newsletters into your online marketing strategy? Use these five tips.

1. Be strategic

Your newsletter strategy should be tied to your overall marketing plan, helping you to achieve your business objectives. That could mean, for example, promoting an in-store sale if you're a retailer. Or it could mean providing insights into how a new product solves a customer problem if you're running a business-to-business company.

Just remember that your newsletter should give much more than it asks for in return. It should include insightful content that's valuable to your customers and be light on messaging that directly promotes your products or services.

2. Build a mailing list

Email addresses are a valuable commodity, so take every opportunity to build yours by asking for emails from existing or potential customers. How? Collect customer contact information at the cash register if you're a retailer, or through other means such as contests, networking events, trade shows or by promoting your newsletter via social media.

3. Don't run afoul of anti-spam laws

See our article on staying on the right side of Canada's anti-spam legislation. The anti-spam law underlines the importance of collecting email addresses and permission to send messages. Remember these two golden rules:

  • email recipients must give consent before receiving messages
  • recipients must have a way to opt out

4. Use a distribution platform and track results

Email distribution services such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact offer cost-effective and robust platforms for sending newsletters to your audience, then allowing you to track open rates (how many recipients open your newsletter) and other key metrics. Whichever platform you choose, use the tools to evaluate your success and tweak your e-newsletter strategy.

Here are some key distribution considerations:

  • Content—Emailing irrelevant content to customers is a sure-fire way to see them opt-out of your emails. Remember to keep your content interesting, short and punchy. And remember, consistency is key; so prepare yourself and your team to follow a strict publishing schedule.
  • Design—Investing in a professional-looking design will encourage your customers to read your newsletter and (hopefully) take a desired action.
  • Timing—Knowing when your target recipients are most likely to read your e-newsletter will help boost open rates. Experiment with different sending times. For example, your audience might be more receptive on laid-back Sunday than busy Monday.
  • Mobile friendliness—People are now more likely than ever to open your emails on the go. That's why it's critical to make sure your e-newsletters are mobile optimized.

5. Take it further

Don't forget that once a relationship is established and you have a contact's email address, you can send a (reasonable) amount of promotional emails and other information, such as eBooks or videos. Just don't bombard them. Remember you're aiming for a long-term committed relationship.

To learn more, download BDC's free guide Attracting and Selling Online: A Marketing Guide for Entrepreneurs.

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