Cruise Planners December LB 2017

E-Newsletter Best Practices

ArticlesJoanieHeadShot

By Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC

While the buzz in the online world is that social media and blogging are “The Things To Do”, email newsletters can still be very powerful and persuasive and gain you the trust and loyalty your client base.

Since you have already gained their permission to email to you (or have you?), their guard is down and they are typically open to see what you have to share. It is imperative that you follow some basic guidelines and steps to assure you success with your email newsletter campaigns.

Do you have permission?
Seems like a no-brainer, but REALLY…do you have permission to market to the list you send to? Have they opted in to receive your sends and/or have you asked for their “thumbs up” to receive your marketing pieces via email?

If you want to be certain that you have their permission, consider sending something like this?

Dear (Client’s Name),
As you know, I am a small business owner and I want to be sure that my important customers like you have news and information about current travel specials and new travel trends that you may find of interest.  I send out a monthly email newsletter that is full of travel tips, destination information, travel specials, etc. I think you would find it both interesting and useful. Would you mind if I sent you our upcoming newsletter?
If you enjoy it, you will continue to get emails like it from us. If you prefer not to receive it, I will make sure you do not continue to receive them. However, I really do think you will enjoy them.

Can you just let me know if it is okay to send you the next issue. I am pretty sure you will really enjoy it!

Thanks so much,
(Your Name)

Get Personal
My recommendation is that you take the time to personally tailor an email such as the above example to each and every person receiving the email. Certainly it would be easier and less time consuming to send out a blanket message to all, but the results will likely not be what you had hoped for. Just think about how you respond to a personal email versus a “send all” email.

We all feel less than special when we get an email that was obviously sent to many people without any thought, or care to make us feel as if it was being sent to us personally. Adding a personal touch builds on your relationship with each and every subscriber. Relationships are what it is all about! Your clients can shop and buy a cruise online, direct with the cruise line or some other internet giant with no personal interaction, right? The reason your customers want to work with you is because it IS personal. You can make them feel good about their purchase. No auto reply can do that.

Here are some ways to personalize your newsletters to achieve maximum results.
Use methods to insure each email begins with your clients first name or whatever salutation you typically would use when speaking or writing to them. This is really not that hard to do and it is worth the effort.

Target your message to make the email feel more like a conversation instead of a direct solicitation.

Be personal with your messaging
Not every relationship you have with your customers or potential customers will be the same. Trust me, we all know when we are not getting a personalized email. If a good friend of mine sends me an email without something in there that assures me they are TALKING TO ME, I am immediately offended and turned off. It is all about relationships and that is key to the response you hope to receive.

Contact Information is a MUST 
Did you know that including a physical address or P.O. Box for your company is a legal requirement for sending newsletters? It is also simply good etiquette. An address makes you appear far more legitimate than something sent without that basic information. Just think about it. When you visit a company’s website that you are unfamiliar with, don’t you look at the about or contact information. I know that I do. If I do not see enough there to make me feel comfortable about their transparency, I am gone. Be sure to include any and all contact information to make it easy for subscribers to get in touch with you.

The VALUE of the Unsubscribe
While just the fact that anti-spam laws state that an unsubscribe function must be available in every email, that alone is not the only reason it is so important. Email etiquette says that unsubscribe options should be simple and easy to locate in every email. If you respect your subscribers enough to let them go easily and on their own terms, they’ll respect you more for it.

Timing is Everything
If you send too many emails, it is a pretty good bet that you will see unsubscribes increase dramatically. There is a perfect balance and it just take some trial and error to find that. Most company newsletters are quarterly, monthly or weekly. The timing and frequency of your messaging will be a lesson in trial and error. So much depends on your content and how your subscribers feel about the relevancy of that content is to them.

Test various email frequencies for each type of email you send, and the statistics will eventually tell you what your audience wants.

The Science of Subject Lines
Using the wrong words in your email subject lines can prevent your messages from ever reaching your subscribers’ inboxes. There are words that immediately send up a red flag for most email clients and providers. If your subject line contains one of those words, it is likely your client will never see the message as it will filter directly into the spam or junk folder.

Do some research about subject lines and find out what those trigger words might be so that you can be certain not to use them.

Mobile Friendly Messaging
Ensure your email is mobile friendly. More and more people are using tablets and smart phones as their go-to device. Make sure your message will be not only seen but is also readable. Consider always offering a text version option for your email messaging so that you do not miss anyone.

The bottom line
Customers are more likely to trust a business that sends them periodic useful emails than businesses that simply collect emails solely as a means to distribute marketing mailers. When you can build your customers trust, you can win their patronage for life.