Email newsletters are an essential and potentially high-performing tool for marketers. However, what often happens is the newsletter is created, and while it continues to be sent year in and year out, it is not reviewed or measured. Without regular monitoring, newsletters will not perform to their highest potential – and you definitely will not get the ROI that you should.

Why not start 2012 with a quick check of your email newsletter’s performance.

Is your template still delivering?
When was the last time you took a look at your template wireframe? Here are six things to check to see if you’re in need of a re-design.

1. Is the design consistent with company branding, and the look/feel of your website?

2. Is the template still rendering properly on the platforms that matter for your audience?

3. Do you need to take smartphone/handheld viewing into consideration?

4. Is the template designed to look good whether the images are on or off?

5. Is the preview pane space maximised to draw the reader into the rest of the newsletter?

6. Is the design clean and does it make it easy to scan content?

Are your goals up to date?
Setting goals for your mailings means you’ll be able to measure your results and conversions through the metrics that will be available to you. To remind you about goals – these are the results you want from the mailings – and also how you’ll be able to track and measure.

Are your goals to increase sales (e.g. immediate, re-selling, up-selling or cross-selling), drive traffic to the website, customer retention, prospect nurturing, branding, front of mind or learning more about readers to fine tune what you send?

You should plan to review goals frequently, to ensure they’re up to date and in line with your organisation’s overall strategy.

Are you letting publishing deadlines slide?
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of running an email newsletter programme is keeping up with a regular publishing date. It is easy to let the date slip, an issue missed – and suddenly a monthly newsletter is inching towards quarterly. This affects your front-of-mind value and erodes your ROI. Here are 4 ideas to help get back on track.

1. Create a publishing schedule
This can be as simple as an excel file. Set up columns for each of the next six-12 issues of your publication. Then map out content that should appear in each issue.

2. Collate your content sources
Identify and have easy access to all your content sources: websites, blogs, marketing and sales material, any event and conference collateral.

3. Work ahead
Assign articles in advance, and populate future issues with the content as each article is signed off. This will help cut chase time as you approach a specific publication date.

4. Streamline approval
Sign-off for articles or the entire newsletter can cause long delays. Create a process and factor that into your publishing schedule.

Are you thinking beyond the written word?
Content in a newsletter shouldn’t be confined to the written word. Don’t overlook the opportunity to present your other content in your newsletter. Think about using your company’s podcasts, webinars, recordings of events, videos, photos, presentations and social media-generated material. (Don’t embed or attach these, instead make a link in your homepage to either the back page of your newsletter or page on your website.)

Have you integrated your social?
Are you taking advantage of the ability to promote your own social networks in your email? Your template should feature embedded links to them. Also, when you hit ‘send’, also post a link to the new issue on your social networks.

Reach beyond the inbox and let your readers promote your newsletter. Give them the tools to post the entire newsletter online or specific articles that they found interesting to their own network. (Capture these new visitors to your newsletter at every opportunity – feature your subscribe form in your Facebook profile, in your newsletter and on your website.)

Are you using your business intelligence?
One of the major benefits of email is measurability. If you’re only doing a quick check of open rates, you are missing a major part of the power of email.

To get maximum results in your ROI:

Know your key performance indicators (KPIs)
There are a wide variety of metrics available to you from your email marketing campaigns. Select the metrics that allow you to measure your KPI, and use this business intelligence to craft more timely, targeted and relevant emails.

Tie your email marketing in with your CRM and marketing systems, such as Salesforce and Google Analytics, to get a complete integrated view of your marketing results.

So there you are – a quick pit stop check up on your email newsletter before you head into 2012…


Related Topics: Email Marketing