E-commerce Link: Having an Email Vision

Better Homes and Gardens publishes an organized e-newsletter broken down into topics such as shade gardening secrets and outdoor living tips, then provides highly relevant articles for readers to click through to the website to read.

Email deliverability services provider Return Path follows the best practices for e-newsletter design, as well as content, giving subscribers plenty of content in the e-newsletter to want to click through to the website for more.

The keys to developing a successful e-newsletter

Many direct marketers rely on a regular e-newsletter to communicate with their customers. These communications are different from promotional emails in that the main focus is content or relationship building, and not on an immediate action such as making a purchase—though this is not unheard of if the e-newsletter also contains paid advertising, making it a revenue generator. E-newsletters are informational in nature, providing relevant content such as news or articles. But they can also include information about the marketer’s products, services and offers.

Some marketers who primarily send promotional emails will mix up the communication stream and send a monthly e-newsletter. The value-
added content can be a way to enhance and deepen the relationship.

Here are some considerations to help make your e-newsletter a standout winner:

The primary goal of promotional emails is to sell—and to sell now. On the other hand, e-newsletters support the brand, build loyalty and provide useful information. They may still sell; but it is a soft sell to keep the company in the consideration cycle. For example, a bookseller might send reviews on latest releases, an office supplies company might email tips on how to streamline business communications, or a financial services company might cover the latest trends for reducing carrying costs. E-newsletters like these nurture customer relationships.

Good e-newsletters have valuable, well-presented content. Recipients want to be “in the know” on a particular topic, market, industry or interest. This information can be developed in-house or aggregated from other sources, and can present a unique point of view.

One decision marketers must make about the content they choose to present in e-newsletters is whether to present one feature or multiple content clips. Both models work well ,and the right solution depends on the nature of your business.

Most marketers include more than one story, but a good example of a single-article e-newsletter is “The Marketing Minute” by Marcia Yudkin. I continue to read this e-newsletter regularly because the promise is that it will only take one minute to read, and Yudkin delivers on that promise.

Regina (Reggie) Brady is president of her own e-marketing and direct marketing consultancy, Reggie Brady Marketing Solutions. She is a leading authority on Internet direct marketing and has held executive positions in Internet marketing at FloNetwork Inc. (subsequently acquired by DoubleClick), Acxiom/Direct Media and CompuServe.
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