Did you see the title of this post and chuckle? Are you thinking “email marketing is so two-thousand and five!”? Believe it or not, the good old fashioned email newsletter still holds weight in this time of condensed, character-count marketing. And if you are someone who is still in love with using the newsletter as a viable form of marketing, this will validate that your love is worthwhile. This post will give you email marketing best practice tips on how to adjust your email newsletter campaign for the here and now.
The idea for this blog post came from a very thorough report on email marketing that was issued by Digital Rivers’ Bluehornet. It piqued my interest because I am still a fan of the newsletter, from a marketing viewpoint and from a personal standpoint. I enjoy writing a newsletter that is full of juicy information about exciting new services and/or products and I also enjoy reading a well-written newsletter that gives me more in-depth information about whatever the company may be advertising (and, yes, I love it more if it comes with a coupon code for my next purchase. Guilty! My shopping addiction is revealed!).
You may be surprised to find that I am not alone in reading, purchasing, and gaining information from newsletters despite the fact that people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter from navigating between one sentence tweets, to two lines on Facebook posts to Instagram images. The Bluehornet report surveyed over 1,800 consumers (ages 18-64) in the US and stated that almost “60% of consumers acknowledge that email marketing campaigns influence their purchase decisions” and “78% of consumers surveyed make a purchase at least once a month as a result of an email campaign”. 78%! That is a phenomenal conversion rate.
So if you are interested in firing up a newsletter, here are some best practices for email marketing in 2015:
Mobile-Friendly Email Newsletter Best Practices
People check their email multiple times a day (33% check actively all day long) and they are logging in from multiple platforms – laptops, desktops, phones, and tablets. The younger users (ages 18-24) tend to read their email more on smart devices than computers. What does this mean? This means that it is a good idea to make your newsletter mobile-friendly. If you do not use a program that does this intuitively, than instill the following best practices for mobile marketing to captivate your audience:
- Big Font: Make sure your audience can read your newsletter on their phone. Suggested size: 14 point or 16 point for content and 24 point for titles.
- Use Buttons: Make links easily clickable by using buttons with a call-to-action. “Learn more” or “Buy now”.
- Think Thin: While your template make look fantastic on a desktop, your mobile readers may be irritated with text cutting off at the right. If you really want to keep it mobile-friendly, consider a template that is between 300 to 500 pixels wide.
Best Time to Send an Email Newsletter
Now that you’ve got your mobile-friendly newsletter squared away, the next question is when is the “right” time to send the newsletter? Well, with some people checking their email multiple times per day, you may be thinking, “Anytime.” That may work for you, but employing a bit of strategy may work even better!
- Business Hours: Repeated studies have shown that emails get the most response during morning business hours. Any time between 9-11am is optimum. If you can, separate out your list by time zone and stick with 9-11am. An email arriving in someone’s inbox at 3am may go unnoticed amongst all the other mail.
- Business Days: Research has also shown that people pay greater attention to emails on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday than on Mondays and Fridays. Weekends are either too busy or people choose to unplug and your email may get buried under other messages.
These are strategies that are used by many, but if other times and days work better for you – or if you feel like being the rebel newsletter that arrives on Sunday at 3pm – go for it! You never know what the response will be until you try.
Email Newsletter Frequency
You’ve got your mobile-friendly newsletter scheduled to send on Wednesday at 10:30am and you’ve decide that writing a newsletter and promoting your latest and greatest is actually a lot of fun! Maybe you even want to do it again . . . and again! Now you want to know how often you can send a newsletter. The answer will vary, depending upon your business, but here are some guidelines for email newsletter frequency, based on Bluehornet’s report:
- Weekly: 44% of the people polled don’t mind a weekly communication from companies of their choice (opt-in newsletters).
- More Frequent vs Less Frequent: 18% of the people prefer to hear from companies on a monthly basis, 14% every few months, 24% prefer several times a week or daily.
The best guideline for how often to send out your email newsletter is to use your common sense. Do you have something relevant and worthwhile to say everyday? Maybe if you are offering flash sales or short-term deals. The answer is very dependent on your business and what you need to say to your subscribers. Don’t be afraid to test the waters – but don’t do it blindly. Review your stats and let them help you figure out what you frequency works best.
Practicing Mindfulness with Newsletters
Most email services offer in-depth analysis about how many people opened your newsletter, how many people clicked on your link(s) within the newsletter, how many people forwarded your newsletter, how many people unsubscribed from your newsletter, what device your newsletter was read on and so on. It is truly amazing how much analytical information is now at your fingertips after you send a newsletter. Here is my last email marketing best practice: Use your email service’s analytical information to better understand your subscribers. In doing so, you will establish email newsletter best practices that are pertinent specifically to your business. Find out what works for you and work it!
Parting thoughts: Our digital world moves fast, but will slow down for some juicy news. If you’ve got some news, let the world wide web know!
(Stay tuned for a blog post on common email newsletter mistakes to avoid . . . )