An email newsletter is a great way to generate leads and get TOMA. Remember that top of mind awareness (TOMA) means that your prospective customers will think of your brand and offering first when the day arrives and they are ready to buy.
Here are six steps to creating an effective email newsletter supported by a blog:
Step 1: Agree on the objective, choose a theme and decide on a name.
Be sure to align both the name and the theme with your audience-facing mission statement. The newsletter name should be meaningful and memorable. The objective should be aligned with your business goals. If you're using the new way to market for manufacturing, your objective should be TOMA and subscribers.
Step 2: Select the tools and template.
Procure the necessary email service provider or choose a marketing automation platform that can deliver the email with best practices for deliverability and reporting capabilities. Design a template that is in line with your branding requirements. Any template should include an ad strip along the side or at the bottom of the email template. The template must connect the value offering with the brand and allow a reader to quickly contact the proper people in the company should they be ready to request more information about the offering.
Step 3: Create a schedule.
Build a production schedule you can meet on a regular basis for an extended length of time. This decision usually requires an assessment of resources that will be needed; i.e., can you get it done with internal resources or will you need to outsource the production and distribution? It is critically important to send your email on a regular and consistent cadence. If the distribution is erratic, your audience will not receive the email as well as if they know when to expect it. Agree on an editorial calendar that specifies the asset and the topic at least six months in advance.
Step 4: Create a subscription and promotion plan.
Make a launch plan and a promotion plan for the email enewsletter. I strongly recommend making your email opt-in only. Do not automatically subscribe everyone or even large portions of your database to the enewsletter. By making the enewsletter opt-in or subscription based, you will gain much stronger engagement, supporting the three tenets of the new way strategy: TOMA, credibility, and reciprocity. Invite the people in your target audience to subscribe. Use outbound promotion, inbound tactics, and promote it on your website. It is okay to send an email blast to your database inviting people to subscribe but do not automatically sign up the entire database. Use the tools at your disposal such as your website, outbound promotions, sales team, email signatures, etc. A subscription center landing page is a good idea, especially if you plan to expand with more than one enewsletter.
Step 5: Create a blog.
Aligning a blog with the enewsletter is a great way to complement the enewsletter. Some people may prefer to subscribe to a blog via RSS feed, and others may prefer to get the newsletter via their email inbox. Offering both is a great idea if you have the resources to support it. I do not recommend starting a blog alone without an email enewsletter. The reason goes back to Chapter 19, where we discuss best chance tactics. A blog is slow to catch on, and it is difficult to track participant numbers on a blog. A blog that re-purposes the enewsletter content is good for onsite search engine optimization too.
Step 6: Measure and report the results.
Measure your email results on a similar cadence to your email send frequency. Make a note of standard email metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, click-to-open rate, delivery rate, and unsubscribe rate. Pay particular attention to trends. In most cases, if you choose your topic well, you will see a very strong opening with a declining trend over the first few months. This is natural, and the trend should level out and begin to improve after six months or so. Pay particular attention to the unsubscribe rate. An increasing trend in unsubscribes means your subscribers are not seeing the value or their expectations are not aligned with the email you are delivering.