email marketing

Email Marketing: Still Yes? Or… Not So Much?

So, with social media being The Thing to Do these days… you may wonder if email marketing, with specific emphasis on a newsletter, is worth pursuing.

The answer is still YES. YES. YES! Why? Short answer to your question: social media is a place to goof off and fall prey to distractions. BUT…

EMAIL is still the place to focus! Where do you go when you want to accomplish a task? Where do you log in when it’s time to work? Communicate? Get the job done? Buy stuff? Email! It’s STILL email.

Think about it, what inspires you to shop online? Email. Email marketing means it’s go-time when you’re looking to drop some bucks on this or that thing that you just simply must have.

Your customers feel this way, too. So if you want them to get to know you, love, you and eventually part with some cash for some of what you sell, show up in email and get them looking, clicking and buying.

Why would I need an email newsletter?

One of my copywriting clients coined a clever phrase for when it’s newsletter time. He says that every time I publish his newsletter, I’m helping him “shake the money tree.” Basically this means that when the newsletter goes out, the orders come in.

Just like in the physical world, most of your website visitors need to get to know you slowly before they feel ready to buy from you. A well-written, attractively designed and informative newsletter works toward that end. Don’t be surprised to hear from clients and prospects just after sending your newsletter. It’s a nice way to keep in touch and remind people you’re out there.

What type of content should I be publishing?

Everybody sells in their newsletter at least a little bit. But for the most part, you want to show people what kind of helpful tips you can offer them. If you run a pet sitting service, you could publish an article on how to avoid kennel cough. Maybe you can even design a few tasteful ads for pet vitamins and add to the sidebar, if that’s something you sell as well. Try to match your feature article with whatever you’re currently promoting.

Keep people interested by varying it up. Announce contests, giveaways and other promotions on a regular basis. Also, decide what your monthly features will be before you have your newsletter professionally designed. You’ll probably want to include basics, like “Company News,” “Feature Article,” “Question Box,” “Tip of the Month” and so forth (but be creative with the titles).

If you’re a coach, you could present “Inspiring Quotes” or “Success Stories.” As your list grows, you may decide to sell classified space to your readers – so plan for that as well.

Is it true that email newsletters can help you get found online?

Yes, that is absolutely true – and something that takes a bit of work, but it’s worth it. First you’ve got to make sure that the newsletter template is designed in HTML by a professional. You want every image to be hosted on your server. You also want every bit of content to keyword-link to various hot points on your website.

Once that’s all set up, you’re ready to begin archiving old newsletters live on your website. Don’t be afraid to give readers a peek at back issues. If they like what they see, they’ll sign up without hesitation.

Why do publishers make me “click to read the rest of the article?” I’d rather just publish the whole article in my newsletter.

Don’t publish the entire article in your newsletter. I’ll tell you why. You want the article to work toward your search engine positioning. The big secret to all this is the links – those titles of your articles. Each article should live on its own page. Each article page should be clickable from a menu of aptly titled article links. The search engines are scanning and cataloging those on the “Master Computer” – the internet!

If you organize your article links right (meaning, by topic category), you stand the best chance of climbing to the top of the search engine results by adding fresh articles over time. But this won’t work if you’re stuffing the same article content in your newsletter. You may even incur the duplicate content penalty and watch your search engine rank plummet.

Recognize that if you archive the newsletters by date, each of the links that lives inside your newsletter issues also points to a live article in your collection, thereby helping you get found in your niche.

Is it okay to send an email newsletter directly from my own email?

No, this is absolutely not okay. Many of your emails can get trapped in spam filters because of the “floating IP address” that gets assigned by your ISP. Many of your readers will become frustrated because you may have put their name on your list without permission, or maybe you “thought you took them off” but somehow an old list of contacts found its way back into your email address book.

I’m on a limited budget. Where can I get low-cost and free stock photography to jazz up my newsletter?

Limited budget means different things to different people. If you have a digital camera, why not start your own collection of still-life shots? Not a shutterbug? Visit a website like where you can find royalty-free and low-cost stock photography. Or, try a membership with Jupiter Images, where you can pay a flat fee and get access to an entire library of high quality professional photos.

How worried should I be about people’s email addresses mistaking my newsletter for spam?

This is definitely a legitimate concern. Even if your newsletter makes it to the Junk Folder, there’s no guarantee it’s going to be found there. You need to set up a series of pages on your website that instruct people on the process of opting in to your list.

First, they’ll need to sign up using a Java or HTML-based form. Your email list manager will supply you with tools to create form code and pop it right onto a web page. Next you need a page that tells them “Thanks for signing up,” and then instructs them to open their email and click a link to confirm their subscription.

You will also want to remind them to add your email address to their “safe list.” Your email newsletter hosting company will have places where you can paste the actual links of these pages so that your signup form can “route” them through this process.

Why don’t more people sign up for my newsletter?

If you answered “no” to most of the below questions, this could be why you’re not seeing as many sign-ups as you’d like:

  • Is there a signup form and call to action located on, or popping up on, every page of your website?
  • Have you indexed your past newsletter issues and invited readers to sign up after reading?
  • Is there a direct link to your sign-up form from the actual newsletters you send out? (Some people receive them as email forwards or find them on your site.)
  • Have you invited people to click a link and instantly sign up at the bottom of the articles you circulate on the web and publish on your website?
  • Do you ask for the newsletter sign-up after each new blog entry?
  • Is there a call to action to sign up at the bottom of every regular email you send out? (This is called your “sig line.”)
  • Is the website content that you publish possibly too salesy, not informative enough?
  • Does the design of your newsletter and/or website need work? (Flashy fonts, dead links and too much bold drive readers away.)

Correct all of the above problems and you will begin to see more newsletter sign-ups.

What if my readers have trouble viewing the newsletter?

If you’ve set everything up properly, you should have an HTML file that hosts the most current issue of your newsletter. Save this link. Then, when you’re getting ready to send a broadcast via your list service, paste it at the top of the broadcast window before you add the rest of the newsletter’s HTML code.

This way, if for some reason your recipients can’t view the images or text when they receive your email, they’ll be able to click a link and view it in a web browser such as whatever Windows is currently calling their browser, or Firefox.

I hope this tutorial will serve as a helpful guide for setting up and managing an email newsletter. Remember, it’s really a huge and necessary way to convert sales.

When you regularly broadcast fresh content in the form of a newsletter, you remind your readers of all the good things you can offer them. When you publish it live on the web (meaning your articles pages and newsletter issues), the seach engines come around to index you. They read and count the new links you’ve added. This helps you to be found by future customers who are searching for what you sell.

Need a recommendation for email marketing software that you can set up a subscriber form on your site, build your list, send out newsletters and other marketing mailings, offer courses, and invite your readers to take email challenges (set up on an autoresponder for automatic delivery?

I recommend for all your email marketing, business communication, and list building needs.

Best of luck with your future email newsletter!