To say that email newsletters were popular in 2021 is an understatement. It seems like every website you visit has at least one sign-up form that entices you to get on the email list. Can your startup benefit from email marketing, too?
You bet it could – but getting it right is the name of the game. Below, we’ll explore five ways you can make newsletters work for your startup, so you can avoid the pitfalls and increase ROI.
How an email newsletter can help your startup
Running a startup means juggling with so many things. One of them is making sure you spread the word about your product. Marketing and public relations should be at the top of your list.
With so many digital platforms to promote your business, choosing the right ones can feel overwhelming. In my experience, sticking to a few solid channels is better than trying to be everywhere. One place you should be, though, is your customers’ inboxes.
Email is direct, personal and reaches your audience where it’s most likely to hang out. It helps you nurture your existing customers, build trust with your prospects and increase your conversion rates when you run direct marketing campaigns.
How can you make email newsletters work? Let’s take a look at some of the most effective tactics.
Know what an email newsletter is
Many business owners confuse email newsletters with direct email marketing. While the latter focuses on generating sales through direct offers, the goal of a newsletter is to nurture and prep your prospects for those sales.
How do you do that? By sending informational, educational and inspiring content. You can include blog articles, bite-sized tips and tricks, short videos, bits of press coverage your business gets – anything that would help and inspire your subscribers.
Your email newsletter is a great medium to announce new products and features. However, avoid making every email about your business. Ideally, only 10% to 20% of your messages should be self-promotional.
Keep an eye on your email list hygiene
For your newsletter to be effective, you need a healthy email list. With data decaying fast, it’s critical to check it a few times a year and ensure it’s still fresh. First, because keeping bad data in your list is a waste of money. Most email service providers charge according to the number of contacts you have. So spending money to send newsletters to fictitious and obsolete email addresses is a total loss.
There’s more to using a stale email list, though. All those bad contacts that bounce or result in spam complaints affect your reputation. As your sender reputation gets tarnished, your deliverability goes down. You’ll start seeing lower open rates because your emails will go to people’s spam folders. That’s the last place you want your newsletters to be.
With email verification becoming a standard for senders, it shouldn’t be hard for you to find a cleaning service. Good email verifiers check your list in minutes and allow you to keep only real, valid email addresses. While that means a reduction in size, it’s the best way to go about taking care of your database.
Use double opt-in to confirm your subscribers’ interest
Everybody wants a bigger list. So making it easy for people to subscribe to your email newsletter is understandable. However, if you don’t protect your database, you’re making it easy for bots and fake emails to get on it, too.
A common practice among those who download free lead magnets is to use temporary email addresses. These types of emails are valid when you capture them, but within days, they bounce and hurt your reputation. Apart from that, people can make typos when entering their contacts in your signup form. A misspelled address equals a lost lead.
To avoid such issues, activate the double opt-in method. This requires every new subscriber to confirm their interest in your emails by clicking a link you send automatically when they sign up. While it takes an extra step to add someone to your list, this approach will get you better email deliverability and higher engagement rates.
Final tips: how to make your email newsletter fun to read
The health of your email list and the content you send are equally important in building an active, interested audience. What else could you do for your email newsletter to succeed?
Let’s end with a few short tips you can start using today.
- Pay attention to the format of your newsletter. Long chunks of copy can turn people off right away, so use concise paragraphs. Sometimes, even one-line sentences – especially when you’re trying to drive home an idea.
- Show up regularly. This is key to increasing engagement and creating a sense of closeness with your audience.
- Invite people to write back. Replies count towards your overall engagement and boost your inbox placement. Also, don’t forget to write back whenever someone reaches out.
- Take that extra minute to polish up your subject lines and preview texts. Both should work in tandem to create curiosity and excitement.
Finally, write every email with generosity. Ask yourself: what do I know that people would find helpful? Share that and your newsletters will gain faithful readers.
Author: Corina Leslie is the PR Manager for email validation and deliverability platform ZeroBounce. She loves helping businesses grow and has shared her email and PR tips on platforms such as Money, Zapier, Zoho and Social Media Today.