The secret of the internet is that it truly has the potential to interact on a one-to-one level with an unlimited number of people.
So how can YOU gain the benefits? E-newsletters of course! But beware… if too many people hit the Spam button whenever you arrive at their inbox, it can affect your ‘credit rating’ – meaning email providers (hotmail, aol) will automatically shut you out if they think you are an intentional spammer.
Before I give you some anti-spam tips, let’s discuss the best enewsletter package to use, of which there are many. I’ve tried a fair few and all have their pros and cons in terms of price and ease of use. I can now recommend MailChimp as the best in my view.
1. You can set up a free account using the Forever Free Plan – for up to 2,000 subscribers and can send up to 12,000 emails a month – but you are stuck with the Mailchimp logo at the top of all your emails.
2. The Free Plan does allow you to create an online form for your website to capture up to 2,000 subscribers. This gives people a way to express their interest in your services and for you to start building up a database. The Free Plan also provides templates which you can use to create visually enticing emails.
3. If you want to use only your own branding, and the ability to send an unlimited number of emails, the monthly price plans start at about £6.50 for up to 500 subscribers and about £10 for up to 1,000 subscribers. The good news is that there are no hidden fees.
Mailchimp also comes with handy video tutorials and easy-to-use templates.
Now for some antispam tips First of all, using a service such as Mailchimp gives you credibility as far as email providers are concerned. Mailchimp has it’s own ‘credit rating’ and you ride on the back of that. It also provides ‘unsubscribe’ buttons, plus you scan your enewsletter before you send it for content that is likely to be rated as spam. What you can also do:
- Be Expected. If people know they subscribed then they won’t be surprised to hear from you. But don’t over do it, once a week is too often. Think about how often you like to receive one from someone you’ve subscribed to yourself.
- Be Relevant. Split your audience into as many different interest groups as you can; people who inquired via your website, your yoga students, potential leads… This is generally called ‘segmentation’ and it’s vitally important that you can segment your audience in order to keep your enewsletters as relevant as possible.
- Keep it as short as possible. It’s harder than you think!
- Be focussed about what you want to achieve with your enewsletter… this is very important as once you start creating one it’s tempting to keep adding more content. However, each item you include will detract from the overall impact of your main news or promotion.
- Offer things of real value as well as your promotional messages. For example a Health tip for the Day or an inspiring quote or short story.
- Use clear headings so people can quickly scroll down and see different topics easily, you generally have about 2 seconds to convince someone to read it, and most people tend to only scan through anyway.
- Your Call to Action – Keep it simple but prominent, be it a phone number or email address.
- Provide a link for readers to view the Web version. Mailchimp provides an option where people can choose to see a webpage version of the enewsletter, this is handy in case it doesn’t load properly through their email.
- Play safe with Images. There is no guarantee that viewers will be able to see the images. In fact, Microsoft Outlook often won’t display the images until you hit the ‘download images’ icon. Therefore images must be carefully used and only if they are essentially required. Some points to consider while using images are:
- Use Alternative text for all images, so that the viewer sees a name for image while it’s loading or if it fails to load.
- Never ever create an all-image email newsletter, it may be attractive to look at but what if your customers can’t see it
- Don’t use images for headlines.