8 Ways to Raise Your Email Newsletter From the Dead

8 Ways to Raise Your Email Newsletter From the Dead

Email newsletters aren’t dead, but there are some that may just bore you to death. Today, we may be more accepting about receiving email communication from a brand or service provider on a more frequent basis, say even weekly or daily. But the way we digest the content we receive is different.

Thanks to a convenient mobile lifestyle, we search and view content almost exclusively on our smart phones and tablets – reading and processing nuggets of info on the go. Email newsletters can survive this faster, friendlier mobile world but they need to be more strategic and savvy to succeed.

Every email does not need to be a sales pitch, and newsletters will have you working harder to understand your customers’ needs. The payoff is a closer, more trusted relationship. Follow these tips to make your email newsletter stand out and get read, not killed, in your customer’s inbox.

1. Link to a blog and include a teaser

Emails featuring your blog posts are great for building buzz on your blog and increasing readership. inBLOOM sends weekly emails to our contacts highlighting our latest posts. We give a brief overview of the post (about one to two of the best lines), include the main image hyperlinked to the post, and provide a call to action such as “read it here.” In Constant Contact, we keep track of our open and click-through rates and also take note of which blog topics attract the most interest. Continuing to write about a topic that falls flat is a waste of your valuable time.

2. Include images

The images you include in your email newsletters should be high resolution and relate to the content. Use photos taken at events or on-site. They should showcase your latest and greatest news and happenings. Avoid stock photos when possible – people want to see you!

3. Speak casually

Striking the right tone is essential if you want to reach and connect with your audience. By speaking casually, you come off as personable, friendly and trustworthy. Casual is just a bit more formal than conversational. When using this tone, you may want to fall back on sanctioned grammar and punctuation rules and rely more on word choice to keep the communication light.

4. Get real

Give some insight to your team and process –show people you’re “real.” You may want to include recent announcements or interesting facts about employees/volunteers in your email newsletters.

inBLOOM recently sent out a creative Mother’s Day email, showing our realness. We included a greeting and then our photos with quotes about why we love being moms. It was a fun way to show people a more personal side of who we are.

Another great way to get more personable is to include your photo as a signature at the bottom of your emails. This is particularly ideal if you are your brand – for example if you’re a psychiatrist, book author, personal trainer or veterinarian.

5. Keep it clean, modern and optimized for mobile

Don’t overwhelm the eyes with the design or too much copy. Your email should be visually appealing, with a clean and modern look. It should also be optimized for mobile. Mobile email will account for 15 to 70% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product and email type. (eMailmonday)

You may want to keep a consistent look and feel to all your email newsletters so that people easily recognize the email is from you business. The best way to do this is to customize a template in your email marketing software and keep using that same template. We’re fans of Constant Contact for small businesses and nonprofits.

Be creative when choosing the right font, color scheme, images, header, and footer. The ideal size for a header image is 600 pixels wide and no more than 200 pixels tall. We recommend your header include your logo with your company tagline and services. It’s a good idea to hyperlink your website with your header.

6. Give people the option for more

Don’t stuff your email with too much information – less is more! People aren’t going to spend too much time with your email open. Instead, give people the option to read more about a certain topic. Link to content on your website that gives this information. Also use your email as an opportunity to link to recent third-party blogs and articles in the media that mention your company. It’s great PR and elevates your reputation.

7. Use an enticing subject line

Use a subject line that entices people to open your email, but one that won’t cause it to end up in spam. Similar to a blog post or news article, the headline needs to be good or else it’s less likely to be read.

So, how do you write an enticing subject line that will get the recipient to open your email? The length of your subject line matters – keep it short, simple and descriptive. We recommend no more than 5-8 words or 40 characters. Many email providers will cut off subject lines with greater than 60 characters.

8. Release insider info

Who doesn’t want to be the first to know something? Give your audience insider news about an event, promotion, expansion/renovation or new product/service. It’s as simple as that. If your readership feels valued, you’ll see better results.

To get started sending emails that get better results, sign up for Constant Contact here. Have questions along the way, comment on this blog and we’ll be in touch.

For some other reads on email marketing, check out inBLOOM’s posts on:

Know the 6 Types of Emails That Deliver Success

4 Ways to Get Better Results with Email

Tips and Tools for Using Constant Contact To Promote Your Events

 

For my fellow Bansky and art fans, this cover photo is by stencil artist Bandit.

Photo cred: flickr: Bruno Girin 

 

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The Machines Are Rising Say SEO Experts. Are You Ready?

The Machines Are Rising Say SEO Experts. Are You Ready?

Digital marketer, professor and SEO expert Marcus Tandler believes we are entering an age where links will no longer be a part of online SEO ranking formulas. In fact, he thinks Google may be already working on leveraging the power of machine learning to separate itself from old school ranking factors, becoming more independent in the SEO game.

At this year’s YoastCon, a Netherlands conference dedicated to website optimization, Marcus will discuss the changing world of SEO and the next evolutionary steps in search engine rankings. He’ll talk about the approach of Russian search engine Yandex, and how at the end of 2015 its announcement to stop counting links as a ranking factor for commercial queries stunned the SEO community. And the Russians aren’t the only ones annoyed by linkspam. Google has taken measures to tackle the problem and Marcus expects OnPage SEO to become more important in years to come.

What is OnPage SEO?

It refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural / organic search results. There are marketing agencies like inBLOOM available to help you improve your website’s SEO by focusing on usability, content, tools, and quality, instead of trying to cheat search engines with keyword stuffing and spam links.

So how does a search engine like Yandex now assess the importance or authority of a website without the help of links?

Yandex looks at over 800 factors, including those that are internal (content of the website and its structure) and external. They collect all data about the website they can collect while complying with users’ privacy policy.

What does all this tech talk mean to your digital marketing efforts? You should spend less time and money on paid links and more on SEM (search engine marketing). Instead, start focusing on your site’s design, content, and visitor behavior. Offer value and search engines like Google will take notice.

Here are some general things to know about SEO optimization according to Marcus:

  • Over 5 billion searches are done on Google every day
  • Search is the most visited website on mobile phones and Google has become a mobile-first company
  • Search, search behavior, search needs, search expectations have evolved, and search engines have no choice but to respond
  • You need to learn who is clicking in order to know what is providing value
  • It’s not just about finding what you’re searching for; it’s finding answers to your questions and needs as quickly as possible
  • Search must become more personalized, moving from a web search to a contextualized search that answers people’ questions

So how does Google rank content if there aren’t a lot of links to a post?

It reverts to the way search engines were before links – judging based on the text on the page. The way Google works is that it says the first time we see the word on the page, count up a little bit more. The next time, ok a little more but not a ton more, but after a while they say we’ve seen this word a few times maybe this page is about the topic. However, it doesn’t help you to keep repeating that keyword over and over again. And at some point, Google might view that as keyword stuffing and the page would not do as well as it would with just a moderate mention of a keyword.

Page rank doesn’t just focus on backlinks. There are several ways Google accesses the quality of content, such as determining if the page sits on a domain that seems reputable. But typically, if a user is typing a rare phrase and there are no other pages on the web that have that particular phrase, even if there aren’t that many links, the page can be returned because Google thinks it might be relevant to what the user is looking for. The search engine is looking at the quality of the content that is on the page, rather than looking for links.

Getting external links was once the single most important objective for attaining high rankings. This stems from the idea that external links are one of the hardest metrics to manipulate and thus, one of the best ways for search engines to determine the popularity of a given web page. This idea was first used by the early search engine Alta Vista and later improved upon by Google.

Google first made its mark by introducing the Stanford community to PageRank (an algorithm developed by Google co-founder Larry Page). This algorithm counted hyperlinks as votes for popularity. The pages that had the most links pointing at them were considered the most popular. When they were deemed relevant for a particular query, the most popular and relevant pages would become the first pages listed in Google’s results. Although this algorithm is much more complex today, it still likely includes the notion of external links as votes.

So now that you have the prediction for what’s up Google’s search engine sleeves in the coming years, it’s important that you gear up for the change. Start providing your website visitors with engaging, helpful experiences from the start and you will be rewarded.

Cover photo: Martin Gommel

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