How to Write a Great Newsletter

Writing a great newsletter is not for the faint of heart. There are many intricate details that will make or break your subscribers’ attention. Here is a list of must haves that you need to utilize:

1) Craft a hard-to-forget subject line

When you look at an email, what is the first thing you read? The subject line encapsulates the entire content of the newsletter. Draft a line that makes the email impossible not to open.

Here, you can see the use of offers.

2) Balanced content

Trust us, nobody wants to read a newsletter that is just selling business. To avoid people unsubscribing, balance your newsletter content between educational and promotional. Mix in a current event, and explain why your business can offer a product or service to help the current event.

3) Frequency

Create a specific day to be sending your newsletter. Nobody wants to read a newsletter sent twice a week. Choose one day a week or month to include all the information needed. Content is king and consistency is queen.

4) Maintain simplicity

Big blocks of text and long articles are not a sight for sore eye. Use subheadings, a bullet point list, bolded phrases, and shortened a paragraphs to create an easy to read newsletter.

5) Offer freebies

Who doesn’t love free swag? Offering a discount or a prize will catch their attention in this email and the rest of them. They will always be coming back to read your newsletter in case there are more deals on the way.

One of the most influential email marketing thought leaders is Writer, Speaker, and Digital Marketing pioneer Ann Handley. In this article, she discusses 17 short and sweet ideas on what makes for successful emails in 2020.

Sign up for our Net Atlantic newsletter here and receive exclusive tips, industry tricks, and maybe even some freebies!

Keep Marketing in Economic Tough Times

Many businesses have felt the financial impact of the closures and changes in 2020 due to COVID-19. Some companies have made the strategic decision to lessen their marketing budget. However, keeping your marketing consistent and on-track is crucial for the success of your business. Interactive marketing – especially email marketing – offers cost-effective options that can help your company survive and thrive, and be well-positioned for the return of better days.

If you stop advertising and marketing, you may inadvertently give your customers and prospects the impression that you’ve gone away or given up. Don’t set the stage for your competition to move in. Instead, move your dollars to more effective marketing channels that give you maximum return and results. And if your competition is pulling back, all the more reason to seize the opportunity to make your company more visible, and build awareness and relationships for the long term.

Research shows that companies that consistently advertise even during recessions perform better in the long run, according to a Knowledge@Wharton article titled “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Don’t Skimp on Their Ad Budgets.” A McGraw-Hill Research study looking at 600 companies from 1980 to 1985 found that those businesses which chose to maintain or raise their level of advertising expenditures during the 1981 – 1982 recession had significantly higher sales after the economy recovered. Companies that advertised aggressively during the recession had sales 256% higher than those that did not continue to advertise. Check out the article here.

Stopping your marketing efforts can also incur more costs in the future. Regaining your voice and share of the market will be a difficult task if your marketing efforts stop.

Another authority on the subject is veteran copywriter Craig Huey from Creative Direct Marketing Group, an accomplished California marketing company. Craig Huey, President of CDMG, has shared valuable insights on this issue on his website and in webinars. On March 19th, 2020, he wrote “…if you continue your marketing throughout the disruption, you’ll most likely be the one to emerge as the dominant player when normalcy returns to the world”.

Putting your marketing to a halt will only be a detriment to your brand and finances. In times like these, consumers are looking for trust. If you maintain success during troubling times, consumers will view your brand as trustworthy.

Top 10 Best Email Marketing Practices to Implement Now

Do you want to increase engagement, sales, and conversion rates?

Setting goals for your email marketing campaign and deciding how to achieve them is a tough task. By following industry best practices, your company will be positioning yourself to completing said goals. Our 25+ years in this industry has taught us a thing or two about email marketing strategy.

Here, we list our top ten best email marketing practices that your company needs to begin now.

Top 10 Best Email Marketing Practices to Implement Now

1. Build your email campaign with a specific goal in mind – decide what you want to accomplish with this email marketing message, then build the message from there.

2. Engage your busy reader immediately with a powerful subject line. The email subject header is your first and best chance to catch the reader’s attention, so be bold, not bland.

3. Keep the email subject line short and sweet. Get your message across in 30 characters or less (including spaces between words).

4. The first line of your email message – what your readers see as snippet text or a pre-header in their email “In” box – must get right to the point and reinforce the headline message included in the subject line.

5. Include a strong, specific call to action in the email – and do it at or near the top of the message. If you ask the reader to visit your web site, provide a clickable link to the relevant landing page(s).

6. Make your message concise and relevant. Send information or an offer that your customer needs and wants, based on past purchasing behavior or other actions.

7. Personalize your message, and match the right offer to the right person. Don’t send the same promotional message to previous buyers as you do to prospects.

8. Limit your use of images, and don’t use audio, video or Flash unless you’re sure they will work or display properly in the email programs your recipients use. A safer bet is to simply include in the email a clickable link to rich media content on your web site.

9. Test – so you know what works and what doesn’t. This allows you to improve response rates in future email campaigns.

10. Get permission to send email to clients and prospects alike. Don’t sabotage the goodwill you’ve built by failing to ask recipients to opt-in.

Is There Life Beyond Google? Alternative Search Tools to Try

Privacy could be a thing of the past.

Governments, companies, advertisers, and other entities are constantly collecting information from you. Social media, websites, emails, and more take your information and share it with others daily. By inserting cookies and storing your searches, your information is surely not kept private.

Most people are aware of incognito mode in their Google browser. The public was under the impression that this browser was 100% private, and did not collect information like regular browsers. To the public’s dismay, this was not entirely the truth.

The major tech giant was introduced with a $5 billion lawsuit this past month. Google allegedly broke privacy laws by allowing Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, and website plug-ins to collect data during incognito mode. They continued to track all searches on this mode, whether they be personal, intimate, or potentially embarrassing.

Google is currently sitting on $117 billion in liquid reserves, so unfortunately this lawsuit payout could just be a mere slap on the wrist. Fortunately, you have a choice as to who earns your business (and searches) online.

With this news of this privacy breach, Net Atlantic has put together a list of alternative search engine recommendations that you can safely browse on.

  1. Startpage. This search alternative emphasizes privacy. They do not collect, share, or save any personal information, set cookies, or store IP addresses and searches. Try it out here: https://www.startpage.com/
  2. DuckDuckGo. There are no data searches collected or stored. You also do not receive ads based on your searches. Use this link: https://duckduckgo.com/
  3. OneSearch. Verizon’s search platform does not track your personal or search data or share it with advertisers. There are also no cookies. Click this: https://www.onesearch.com/
  4. Swisscows. Their privacy policy reads “We do not collect any of our visitors’ personal information. None whatsoever.” Check it out: https://swisscows.com/
  5. Bing. This engine does not share any personally identifying information publicly or with third-parties. Check it out: www.bing.com

Do you know of any other safe search engines? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Avoid a Negative Tone in Emails

Mostly every person works in an environment where communication is completed through email. Often times, an email is the first impression of a person or business. This article could have been named, “Stop Using These Words in Emails”, but what message does that give? You want to give the best first impression of yourself or your business always, so here are some strategies to avoid using negative verbiage.

negative-emotions-negative-words

Strong Subject Line

This is the most important part of an email to not include a negative tone. This is the first part of the email that is read and sets the reader’s attitude toward reading the email in it’s entirety or not reading it at all. Do not include words that can bring negative emotions, but words that makes a reader excited to dive into your email.

Negative Replies

When replying to an email, there are many responses to be avoided. “Fine”, “hopefully”, “unfortunately”, “sorry”, and “no” are just a few examples. Put yourself in the shoes of the reader; would you enjoy receiving responses like this?

“Sorry”

…should never be used in an email. If a situation is truly worth an apology, it should be expressed over the phone or in person. For everyone’s benefit, express solutions to the situation and what actions you will complete to fix it.

Do Not “Cancel” a Meeting

If you find yourself cancelling a meeting or event, do not use the word “cancel”. This word has a disappointing and defeated tone. Instead, use “postpone” or “reschedule”. Even though the effect is the same, this lets your reader down easier.

Capital Letters

DON’T USE ALL CAPS! It appears to the reader that you are “screaming a message” at them. It appears aggressive and users do not respond to that.

Read the Email Out Loud

Speaking your emails out loud or to a friend will help you understand how your reader will interpret it. The negative words will pop out and you will know exactly what to edit. Plus, a good proofread never killed anybody.

 

Read about subject lines that get results here:

https://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/how-to/useful-lists-short-words-strong

https://blog.netatlantic.com/2013/06/28/first-impressions-subject-lines-that-get-results/

 

Have you ever had a major blunder because of email tone? Share your story below.

 

 

View Time Optimization (VTO) Coming to Verizon Media

by Andrew Lutts, Founder & CEO

The nice thing about free webmail accounts like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo! and others is that they are free, portable, easy, convenient, and universal.

The bad thing about them is their complete lack of privacy.

Know that virtually EVERYTHING you do on those free platforms is tracked, measured, compared, analyzed, and lots more. In fact, these free account providers do way more than just read your email and serve up targeted advertising to you. But hey, it’s free, right?

Here’s some information on Verizon Media’s new View Time Optimization (VTO) offering.

View Time Optimization (VTO)

Perhaps you have heard of Send Time Optimization, where an email marketing program intelligently figures out the most likely time you will read an email (because it knows this information having tracked your behavior and previous interaction with your email) and sends your email to you at that optimum time.

View Time Optimization is when a mailbox provider, in this case Verizon (Verizon, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo!), takes your emails that you have subscribed to, holds them for a while, and then delivers them to you when you are “actively engaging with your email inbox.”

Creepy? Perhaps. A good idea? For who?

Why are they doing this? Apparently, in their words, to give their email mailbox customers a better experience. In effect, they are trying to give some of your email more favorable handling over other email.

In reviewing the Verizon Postmaster blog post, it seems innocent enough. But is it that simple?

At Verizon Media, they say they believe that tracking email users is wrong. And yet, aren’t they tracking you to determine when you are actively engaging with your email?

And don’t they track your opens and clicks in your webmail account to determine which emails are being engaged with, and thus should be handled with preference, compared to other emails that less people are engaging with, and are treated less favorably?

Further speculation can be made into why a mailbox provider would hold your email before delivering it to you. If you get an email at 2 AM that talks about alternative health, controversial political views, vaccination theories, a video recently taken down from YouTube, a link to an alternative Twitter post, or “fake news,” do you think you will get that email delivered to you at 8 AM when you check your email?

We simply don’t know, yet. If other Verizon users on the network seem to have an issue with the content of a certain email, as exhibited by their handling of the email message, should you still get the email and decide for yourself?

Mailbox providers like Verizon, Yahoo, Outlook, and Gmail know an awful lot of information about you. And honestly they are trying their best to provide you with a superior end user experience. But in that quest, they are making some difficult decisions around what you get, see, and read every day. Some of those choices may or may not be the same choices you would make yourself.

Read Verizon’s take on it at their Postmaster Blog.

Inbox Tabs coming to Outlook

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Gmail should be flattered. Outlook will soon be copying and implementing their inbox tabbed email reading capability.

Gmail first introduced tabs in their email reader a lifetime ago (seven years ago) in 2013. Now Outlook is finally catching up.

Are tabs in email a good thing? In a recent poll among users in our office the verdict was mixed. Some people don’t want anyone messing with their email messages, and filtering them automatically for them. Hands off my email!

Other employees like the convenience and intelligence around the tabbed email capability. After all, do I really want to see and read all those social media updates sent by email? No.

A Google Consumer Survey fielded by Return Path found that two-thirds of Gmail users currently use tabs to sort their email. We would expect that same kind of adoption in Outlook (assuming the Outlook user has an option to turn tabs on or off).

In Gmail, 68.4% of all incoming messages are classified and put into their Promotions Tab. 22.1% of all incoming messages are classified as Updates, such as a purchase confirmation. (Source: Marketing Charts)

Of course there’s lots of competition for the inbox. We all do so much with email every day. It’s a critically important business and personal tool.

What’s really happening here is that Microsoft and Google are applying powerful, intelligent deployments of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help us all be more efficient and productive with our time spent online. For the most part, this is a very good thing, and a huge productivity booster.

Read more:

https://iterable.com/blog/microsoft-inbox-tabs-for-outlook-hotmail-coming-soon/

Email Subject Lines That Work

Following are some musings on email marketing best practices, straight outta the Net Atlantic Compliance Corner. Everybody puts Steve in the corner – but that’s where I like to be, so it’s okay!

Today I’m going to talk about best (and worst) practices for subject lines. 

Database Synchronization, Automation, and API Integration

One of the biggest challenges in email marketing is choosing and using an appropriate database for proper management of your client and lead base.

After all, if your company already has a robust in-house database solution, why create another one outside the company?

In fact, high levels of efficiency and automation can be gained by connecting your in-house database with an outsourced Email Service Provider (ESP) that offers database connectivity.

Gone are the days of manually updating and refreshing your data just before every email send. With a database connection, the data synchronization is automatic and seamless, and runs at predetermined scheduled intervals (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.).

The challenge: IT Managers want to manage and oversee their in-house database, and they should. Yet Marketing Managers want to use external ESP marketing tools to create and deliver effective email campaigns to the freshest list of clients and prospects that the company has. The synchronized automated import and export of database to ESP accomplishes just that.

This data synch can occur using API (application programming interface) integration, where the ESP pushes your data out to you, the way you want it. It can be done through ODBC (open database connectivity) where your database member information (name, email address, etc.) gets imported into the ESP platform and synchronized automatically. And other tasks can be accomplished with custom reporting, giving you exactly the kind of highly detailed and relevant information you need when you need it.

ESP database synchronization saves a tremendous amount of time over manual methods, increases accuracy, and allows the marketing team to proceed whenever ready with important email communications, knowing that the subscriber data is always up to date. All the marketing team needs to do is create and send their campaigns. The rest is automatic.

If you need help running your email operations more efficiently by adding automation to your enterprise, contact Sales at Net Atlantic to speak directly with an engineer who can help solve your database marketing and connectivity challenges. Net Atlantic flagship products ListManager and StrongView both offer powerful and extensive database synchronization, automation and API capability.

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