Okay, I admit it. That’s a shocking headline. Some may call it clickbait. I prefer to call it hyperbole.
The real point here is to stop thinking of your email marketing in terms of newsletters. It’s a matter of semantics, really. But it’s also a mindset shift—an important one.
On Your Site’s Subscription Forms
Stop asking customers and website visitors to “SIGN UP TO GET OUR NEWSLETTERS.”
Ick. Just ick. Why would someone want your newsletters? Homeschool mom Amy* doesn’t want to hear your news. Amy wants answers to her problems, solutions to her worries, and deals! (Homeschool parents love to feel they are getting a bargain and saving money.)
So right off the bat, when you are creating your opt-in forms, lead generation forms, and subscriber forms, stop using the term newsletter. It’s not appealing. Offer your reader a reason to subscribe—one that appeals to her needs and desires (not your own desire to broadcast news).
What is a Newsletter?
In your own head or on your to do list, you can call your emails newsletters; it’s hard to change our vocabulary overnight. But stop creating emails that serve the purpose of a newsletter.
What’s a newsletter? It’s a digital newspaper—a group of informational articles, ads, sales messages, calls to action, images, etc. It’s a busy, crowded, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to communication. You save up all your tidbits over the course of a month and put it all into one very long monthly email:
- testimonials and user feedback
- new products for sale
- your own personal updates
- freebies for subscribers
- all your blog posts
- your convention schedule
- your new catalog
- your Facebook group and other social media accounts
Here’s a secret. Although it’s good to have regular email contact with your subscribers, you don’t have to send a single email every 2nd Thursday of the month. You can mix it up! You can send several emails in a month! (Don’t go longer than 6 weeks without sending something, though. When you do, you run the risk of letting your list grow cold. Then when you do send again, your subscribers are confused: “Who is this person? Why is she emailing me? Did I sign up for this?”)
No more newsletters. Sadly, people aren’t reading newspapers much anymore. (Remember that newsletters are the digital equivalent of a newspaper.) What are they reading? Tidbits of information, bitesize articles, images, tweets, and image captions. You can bemoan the downfall of civilization and insist on your word-heavy newsletters. Or you can observe the current state of affairs as a pragmatist and use it to your advantage.
If Not Newsletters, Then What?
Instead of newsletters, think of your emails as marketing or informational messages.
KEY IDEA: Each email needs a single purpose and a corresponding call to action.
No more emails with dozens of different ideas. If you really and truly have that many things to tell your audience, you need to send more frequent emails and/or put some of that information into an autoresponder campaign. When we do our Marketing Assessments for email, this is one of the most common mistakes we see: too many different main ideas in a single email.
Lots of clients are worried about bothering their subscribers; they don’t want to send too many emails. So they save up everything for one doozy of a monthly newsletter. This strategy backfires. The email is too long to digest in 30 seconds. It has way too many words. There are too many possible actions to take. Homeschool mom Amy is already busy and doesn’t want to have to evaluate all the different possibilities. So she closes or deletes your email. You paralyzed her with too many options.
No more newsletters. Instead send a helpful email with a single idea/message/call to action.
The subject line, preview area, email image, and headlines should drive home that single idea in different ways. There should be one obvious button that tells Amy what to do (usually visiting your site).
What if They Don’t Read the Email?
Now that we aren’t sending a newsletter anymore but are sending email messages, what about people who don’t open the emails? Well, what would you do if you sent an email to a friend or peer and she didn’t reply in a few days’ time? Wouldn’t you email her again and say something like, “Hey, I didn’t hear back from you. Did you get my message?” Or maybe you’d message her on Facebook or send a text message or even pickup the phone and call.
While we aren’t suggesting you call your subscribers who ignore your emails (ha!), you can follow up with them. Resend your email to those people who never opened the first one. You will grab another 10-25% of your list on this second try. And then for the people who don’t do email—we all have friends like that, right?—use a different medium to reach them. Post your same single message/call to action on Facebook and on Instagram to reach the followers who don’t read emails.
Don’t assume that just because homeschool mom Amy follows you on Facebook and Instagram and is on your email list, she will see all three of those messages. Odds are she won’t see even one of them. That’s exactly why you have to offer your message multiple times in different ways.
Help With Email Marketing
If you need help applying these principles to your own situation, start here with our marketing assessment. Then move to our email automation service. It’s one of the most efficient ways to reach your customers with the information they want to read. Of course, you will still send monthly (or more frequent) emails, but you can streamline your email marketing by setting up focused email series which keep working for you month after month and year after year.
*homeschool mom Amy is a customer avatar. Amy is such a common name, that it’s perfect for representing our typical homeschool mom.