Several years ago I read a book called Do send and it really helped me to clarify why we needed to send out a regular email and what it should contain. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy and it looks like they’re going to be doing a training course soon too.
Like we mentioned in C is for Channel only you know where your potential audience is and if email is the right way for you to be spending your time, but it can be a really powerful tool when used well.
First thing is first. Why are you sending it?
You need to be really clear about this as it will make finding content so much easier. For example, our Snippets email is to educate about design, raise awareness of things we think will be of interest to our audience and show off what we’ve been up to. Our aim is to encourage people to come to us for their design and branding projects.
Remember it must have value for the recipient, it’s not just all about you!
People receive a lot of emails and for yours to be read they have to be interesting and not just selling. A good rule is 3 pieces of useful content for each sales message. For us that’s a link to our blog (educational – hopefully), links to things we love, highlighting the free peer group or other event which might be of interest (both raising awareness) and then a portfolio piece of our recent work which is a gentle sales link.
Don’t give it all away for free.
Your email should drive traffic to your website or event sign up or donation page, whatever your aim is. Include enticing images and engaging descriptive sentences to encourage people to click the links for more info. By reviewing the clicks then you can see over time what your audience if most interested in and give them more of that.
How often should you send it?
To decide what’s best for your organisation it has to be a balance between what works for your audience and what you can commit to. A week comes round VERY fast! My advice is to start cautiously and write the first three before you send one out to give yourself a buffer. Then increase frequency if you’re getting a good open rate and your hitting your deadlines!
Which platform to use?
We use mailchimp and would definitely recommend it. They’ve got a fantastic article here about email marketing strategy and top tips with links to many more useful articles. It’s free for up to 500 people in your mailing list.
Ensure you have a template that is well-designed, on brand and make sure it works on a desktop and on a phone. Design agencies (like us!) can create flexible templates for you that you can then just update with your current content each issue. Sign up to AIM’s newsletter here to see the format we set up for them that they adapt for each mailing brilliantly.
Check, check and check again.
We always send a test email to other people in the office to ensure the grammar and links are checked by someone other than the person who built it each time. We also look at it on a computer and mobile to make sure it’s flowing correctly and the images are still readable (if they contain copy).
I hope that’s been useful. We love working on emails and would be happy to chat to you about yours. We haven’t gone into the nuts and bolts but if you use mailchimp or are thinking about it then Alison recently presented a skills share to our Marketing Peer Support Group which might be useful. Contact Alison for access to the video, we’re happy to share!
Managing Director, JG Creative