Every business can and should be a web publisher. In fact, websites are among the most important public communication portals for most, if not all, businesses and organisations. But there’s a problem. Regardless of how much you spend on your prose and your website design, you won’t attract audience eye-balls unless you have an effective engagement strategy.

That’s where the good old fashion email newsletter or EDM comes in.  EDMs are a powerful tool to build a dedicated audience for your business, attract people to your website and they deserve investment along with your SEO, social and paid strategies.

There’s a reason the New York Times has no fewer than 50 regular email newsletters and has invested millions of dollars in recruiting 13 million email subscribers across the world.

In an often-cited article titled Inside The New York Times’ newsletter strategy, the Poynter Institute’s Benjamin Mullin writes that back in 2014 the Times shifted its focus from newsletters driven by automatic feeds to ones curated by human journalists.

An effective EDM strategy requires much thought and skill, as well as a human touch. Optimum engagement comes from providing people with content that answers their questions and adds value to their life. There’s a lot more to them than merely telling people why they should buy your product!

Here are nine things to think about:

  1. The size of the email newsletter database is important. But also think about who has subscribed and if it’s the audience you want. Are you reaching the right people?
  2. Invest time in great subject lines. They can make all the difference between open rates and click through or a click to delete. Don’t make subject lines too long. Less is definitely more.
  3. Think about the sender. Email newsletters sent by people often have higher open rates than those sent by brands. Consider using a real person as the sender instead of your company name.
  4. Think about your reader. Is your content easy to read, compelling and engaging? Is the main headline visible at a glance? Don’t forget to make sure it’s optimised for various mobile devices.
  5. Test and learn. Get a feel for which headlines and topics work with your audience. If practical, segment your audience according to personas and do some AB testing.
  6. Encourage sharing. Forwarded emails are a powerful way to boost your database and get your message out there. Often referred to as dark social sharing, over 80% of content is shared by copying links or forwarding content.
  7. Think about spam filters. You don’t want to end up in the junk folder, so watch out for red-flag words.
  8. Don’t forget to write consistently. A sure way to fail at engagement is, well, not to engage. Send at least one email newsletter every month.
  9. Don’t write too often. Unless you have something really important to say or segmented audiences, it is probably unwise to send more than one email newsletter a week.

   EDM, eNewsletter, writing tips
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