Tags: newsletter

Organizations: Blueprint of the Ultimate Newsletter Update

Organizations: Blueprint of the Ultimate Newsletter Update

Beyond • September 17, 2015

The Holy Grail of newsletter updates are those that can address your mission, underscore your values and offer updates that members will see as vital pieces of information. If you’re at the helm of your marketing campaign and are charged with the task to create a newsletter that achieves just this – this is how you do that. From top to bottom, you’ll need to have a structure that meets needs and can be replicated weekly to maintain message and campaign consistency. It starts with design. You want to have a clean design with lots of use of white space, using color only as an accent to draw attention to the next sentence and help move the reader along. Since your email newsletter is going to be more content-heavy than other newsletters, it’s important to get the design right. While your creative team is working on the design – which will happen just once for a template and you’ll need to give them about 2-3 weeks to do it – you’re going to move onto drafting content. Underneath the branded banner, you’ll want to offer some insightful quote. It can be about your key issues. It can be from your CEO or someone in leadership. It can be something else. A quote is a great way to hook a reader in and offer them a bite-sized piece of info to grab onto. After the quote, you’ll have to have one or two key announcements. Ask yourself, what’s really going on this week or this month that stands out. What’s something people need to know about right now. Keep in mind that your update should be about 30-70 words long, which is very tight copy. Since your email newsletter update is on the longer side, you’re going to need to keep every messaging tight and effective. If need be, you can link out to a landing page to offer readers more information. Or perhaps, it might even be a good idea to have a link to email the appropriate person for more info. The part that comes next is the “candy bar” content in the middle of your newsletter. This is the strategically placed in the center of the newsletter in order to entice readers to have reached that far – and to break up the content. This section should be on the visual side. Do you have any photos to share? This is the place to do that. Do you have any other key landing pages you want to direct readers to, or perhaps a call to attention? If so, anchor it with a beautiful visual and you’ve got your candy bar. Perhaps your company is really driven by clients or members – if so, this is the place to features some member-generated email marketing content. The last section is news items. You want your newsletter to feature a section that curates top news for your readers in the key categories that you’d like to cover or highlight. Curated news within your newsletter is a great way to create content quickly, but what you curate is also an opportunity to showcase how you as a company are different. What value or perspective do you bring through curated news items and what themes can you stitch together by featuring these items?


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Creating Member-Generated Email Marketing Content

Beyond • September 17, 2015

Even if you’ve already drafted your ultimate organizational newsletter blueprint, it’s a sound idea to generate email newsletter campaigns that break away from the mold by offering something different. Member-generated email marketing content is a great way to do that – and it’s something that can be done by a variety of businesses. The type of organizations that are best-suited for member-generated email marketing content are non-profits, religious institutions, schools, and other types of collective groups. Yet, it can also work really well for companies that are open about their client pool and want to generate value out of it. In this case, your clients might have something of value to share. They might benefit from the trade of thoughts, ideas and experiences – and you’re the company to make that happen, which in turn makes you more valuable to them. However you decide to approach it, member generated content is resource intensive. Sure, you’re not paying for creating content, but you will be investing time in pitching ideas to members, seeing if they’re interested, guiding their hand through the process until they’re comfortable doing it on their own, generating back up contributors because people will always back out, fail to deliver or not be repeat contributors, and editing. Expect lots of editing. That said, with all the drawbacks, the pros still outweigh the cons. Just keep the cons in mind when planning out your member generated content. Make this type of newsletter something you do quarterly and work out 3 months in advance to give yourself enough time to pull it together and to respect other people’s time too. Also, know that the first run will be very awkward – it’ll be about you learning best practices and how to run a smoother operation next time. Once you’re past all the hurdles, you shouldn’t have the same hiccups and drawbacks the next time around. If you’re still interested, the next question is: what type of content would a member or participate generate? There are a few different ways to approach this too and the best way forward is to offer a variety of content types so your newsletter is diversified. One section could host member announcements while another would feature members in the news. It’s also a wonderful idea to include member-written op-eds on top hitting issues that affect and matter to your organization. And you can also connect members to each other professionally by letting them know of their needs or businesses. And of course, there’s always the easy one that just about anyone can do: photo contributions. What sections you decided to include, and how you plan out each section, needs to be something that’s very careful considered before you even approach a member, participant or client. You want to prime yourself for success by managing who will contribute and how. To do that, you have to really think about who you can reach out to based on their strengths and availability. For example, don’t encourage member photos from someone you know either (a) doesn’t have the opportunity to take great photos, and/or (b) doesn’t know how to take one. Likewise, don’t encourage op-eds from individuals who would fail at it or would make it to personal or require far too much hand-holding. Not factoring in personalities and strengths when approaching others for a member-generated newsletter will only work against you.


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Internal Newsletters: The Underdog of Email Marketing

Internal Newsletters: The Underdog of Email Marketing

Beyond • July 27, 2015

The internal newsletter: let’s be honest, do you think of this as an essential business tool? Or rather something that arrives every so often and is undertaken by someone, you’re not sure who, in the marketing department? This latter outlook on internal emails is all too common. So, how can we transition from a away from wasting of everyone\'s time and treat the internal newsletter what it is: a huge opportunity. Writing awesome internal newsletters Let’s start with asking a key question: what is the ultimate aim of your internal newsletters? For many this may be motivational, for others, it may be informative - regardless of the specific goals your internal newsletters should be considered as a tool for effective companywide communications, and as such, given the time that is deserves. 1. Keep it Simple Email marketing principals aren’t merely restricted to customer email shots, internal emails face the same challenges such as improving open rates, engagement and reader conversions, which should all should act as key metrics in assessing the effectiveness of your internal emails. As a starting point you should focus upon simplicity, maintain content that focuses on being concise, rather than long winded, and writing with a natural tone that flows from one paragraph to the next. A particular area to review in many a company newsletter is that of the CEO intro; these currently serve as a section that generically suffers from being too long and generally boring full of corporate speak, which can mean that readers fail to make it past even this initial section. 2. Engage, empower, enlighten Internal newsletters shouldn’t be regarded as just something that is sent every week or month. Instead they should aim to engage, empower and enlighten. Your readers should genuinely find your content valuable to them and their job role, rather than reader because the boss told them to. So provide colleagues with a reason to read, be useful and create copy that is catchy, engaging and a possibly even a genuine joy read. So, how do you make what may be otherwise relatively standard content engaging? As a starting point you could introduce a little humor, testament to which are amusing email chains that not only engage readers, but that experience super high levels of conversions by way of a forward. Humour is far more flexible a tactic than you may think, and even industry or company news can be enhanced with a few humorous comments or well-placed candid photos. Some self-depreciation can work especially defusing. Be careful to keep it tasteful and respectful - if any internal newsletter would end up on the front page of the newspaper – it should not harm company reputation. A further way in which to engage upon a personal level (as well as instilling motivation and recognition to boot) is to include a regular team or individual staff member commendation section. This section would then include a brief report on what it is the team or individual has achieved. 3. Talking about tone In order to be engaging it’s generally advisable that newsletters employ a tone that is fairly relaxed and casual. Opting for too formal a tone can feel monotone and even appear authoritarian. Given that newsletters benefit from fewer restrictions as compared to official companywide communications, writers have the freedom necessary to use a tone they find effective and content that they deem to be useful and valuable for their readership. 4. Responding to emails increasingly opened via mobile The way in which people read email has changed irrevocably over the past decade and today an increasing number of users access email from an array of devices, from smartphones through to tablets. This change in readership must be responded to through using a responsive email design that adapts to the screen upon which it is accessed. To illustrate just how important this is 82% of people use their mobile phone to check their email and consider that 42% of email subscribers delete emails that fail to display in a mobile friendly manner, and when this is coupled with the traditional open and engagement challenges that you already face your internal emails could be seeing all together rather lowly readership rate.


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How to Plan Your Campaign Newsletter

How to Plan Your Campaign Newsletter

Beyond • July 24, 2015

Now that you know about why campaign-driven newsletters are a marketing win, it’s time to put pen to paper and plan how you’re going to execute your next newsletter campaign. In the last post, we talked a bit about drip campaigns but we didn’t get into how to actually plan out your drip email marketing campaign. A drip campaign was a series of sales emails that are spaced out in their delivery and their message, but which all serve a common goal. Newsletter Planning: Drip Campaigns You might have seen drip campaigns with organizations that are looking to fundraise or draw attention to an event. You’ll see the same focused message – with the goal of getting a donation or selling a ticket – sent several times in a few different. So, say one email campaign might be announcing an event. A second newsletter in that campaign might feature the host or a speaker with some background on who they are. The goal is still selling that ticket or getting a donation, so you’ll see a couple calls to action. The same calls to action will pop up again in a third newsletter around the same campaign. This time we’re talking about some VIP attendees, or the caterer and the venue. Before an event actually occurs, you might have 5 email campaigns going out about the event, trying to generate both buzz and attendance. Newsletter Planning: Curated Newsletters You may not always have an event going on to center your drip campaigns around. For those of you scrambling to come up with new creative ideas around newsletters, consider curated newsletters. Curated newsletters gives you an automated approach to newsletters. In the middle of all the other amazing things you do that you could be talking about in a newsletter, a curated newsletter lets you think about one less thing while still meeting your marketing goals – which might be to get out some sort of newsletter series or one newsletter a day. The curated newsletter is also about really showing your industry knowledge while also catering completely to the subscriber. These types of creative newsletters aggregate interesting or trending findings on the web. It’s popular or niche content that your subscriber may not have found or had time to find, but which you’re not presenting to them. That ability to cater to your audience needs makes your company or organization that much more worth it to your subscriber. A curated newsletter is a lot like Paper.li, for example. However, in my opinion, it’s better than Paper.li because you’re rewarding your subscribers directly where they are with great content. They don’t need to subscribe to anything else, click anywhere else; they’re getting what they opted in for right where they are…which will also help stimulate them to read the other amazing newsletters you’re going to send in-between your weekly or monthly curated email campaign. Newsletter Planning: Promotional Campaigns Along the same lines of curated email campaigns, promotional campaigns allow you to approach email marketing with a necessary level of automation. Promotional campaigns work best with product related industries, like retail, where businesses can really dig into the product. So rather than sending out another boring self-interested email campaign that pushes a product and rattles an exclusive coupon, the promotional campaign takes one product and tells it story. You can look into how the product is made, where it is sourced from, and really speak to the heart of the product your selling and the business you’ve established. It’s a great way to build a heart-led business, which your business-led mind knows does very well when it comes to sales.


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The Quarterly Newsletter Your Audience Needs

The Quarterly Newsletter Your Audience Needs

Beyond • February 20, 2015

When it comes to marketing, nothing beats good old-fashioned get-in-you-hands, print. At least, nothing beats print when two things are happening. The first is that your audience is having their attention increasingly fought for in repeat attempts across multiple platforms. The second is that an older demographic still responds favorably to print; a younger demographic responds well to visually stimulating content, especially in print. This is not to say that print replaces digital newsletters or that the two are in any way equal. The statistics for increased mobile usage shows that the opposite is true. However, if you’re wanting to completely saturate the market, you’re going to need to go all the way – and that means including a quarterly newsletter into your content arsenal. 6 Reasons You Need a Quarterly Newsletter Consultant Michael Stamo delivers a winning blog post on his personal website, titled “6 Reasons Why Print Newsletters Will Help Your Business Prosper.” Sharing only the top 3 here (you’ll have to go to his site for the rest), these reasons offer clear and concise calls to action for any business debating how to grow their business and wondering why print would be a viable option. According to Stamo, print newsletters (1) build stronger relationships with customers, (2) they get a longer lasting marketing moment and (3) they dominate the mailbox in light of the fact that no one’s really sending print marketing materials anymore. How to Plan Your Quarterly Newsletter Cost becomes a factor when you’re planning a quarterly newsletter. For starters, it’s expensive to print and there’s a lot more involved logistically and a higher margin for error, which is why a slowly curated quarterly approach is best. You can curate content by looking at what’s already going into your blog content, email campaigns, along with any creative visuals you might be working on like infographics. Choose cream of the crop posts and pair it with a “culture” piece discussing either your company culture, philanthropic achievements, or local information that highlights a collaboration with another organization. You can also take your press releases and redraft them into newsletter articles. And of course, take this opportunity to discuss any upcoming events and give people a clear opportunity to get involved. Second, you want to have a strategy. Ask yourself why you’re wanting to have this quarterly newsletter; each industry is likely to have its own agenda, and that’s completely acceptable. Understanding that you need an agenda then helps you plan how to organize, design, and distribute your newsletter. Perhaps you want to start with a specific segment, run an A/B test, increase traffic of conversion – whatever it is, your end goal will determine your strategy. After your content strategy is determined, the next step is going over the newsletter design. The most cost-effective layout is a fold up that readers can open up into one full page. The fold-up can be either in 2, 4 or 6 equal parts; having it in three parts will just make it look like a brochure. Later on, once you’ve established your audience and can guarantee readership, it would be worthwhile to create a thin booklet that offers more in-depth content, with either editorial content, informative articles and/or rich visuals. At this point you’ll also have to shift past curating content and into developing fresh original content for your quarterly newsletter – though, of course, you should always offer a summary and even teaser copy of your best content pieces in the previous quarter. Once you’ve developed a strategy for planning and creating your print newsletter, the next step is to market it. Market your newsletter through a sign-up landing page, and announce it in a press release, an email blast and on social media. Discuss why you’re branching out into quarterly print newsletters and what this offers your audience. As a final step, cross promote your print newsletter in your existing email strategy. Your email campaigns, for example, should include some verbiage that links to a landing page to sign up for quarterly newsletters.


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Get More Mileage from Your Email Newsletters

Get More Mileage from Your Email Newsletters

Beyond • May 4, 2013

You can extend the life of your email newsletters with our easy-to-use and free ARCHIVE feature. With a few clicks, you can create a webpage that becomes a central location for past email campaigns. This makes it easy to share your past newsletters with your contacts and encourage new subscriptions. You can even tweet the url or add it to your facebook account Here\'s how it works. Under the Emails tab, select Archive at the far right. You will select a url that will become the address for your Archive Home Page. It will look something like this: Select which newsletters you want to include in your archive by clicking on the Page icon under the Tools column. Next, you can create a header and introduction for your Archive Home page and add your logo. You can set fonts and colors and add a sign up box for new subscribers. The last step, which is optional, allows you to create a \"View our Archive\" button to place on your website or in your newsletters.The Archive feature is a great way to share your past newsletters with new subscribers. And it can be done with just a few clicks. No technical expertise is needed. And best of all, it’s a free feature which is already included in your Benchmark Email account.


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10 Ways to Build an Opt-In Email List

Beyond • November 14, 2009

As an email marketer, your first job is to build an opt-in email list. Without this list there is no way to send out your email newsletters. If you are building an opt-in list for the first time, don’t worry. Take a look at some great tips to help you compile a fantastic opt-in list! 1. Create a website Creating a website is a pretty simple thing to do. It can even be done for free. Once you create your website you can request visitors to register with you and thus get them to sign up. 2. Prominent Opt-ins Place prominent opt-in forms where ever you think potentials may see it. People do not have to time to hunt for your sign in forms. Place these forms in easy to see locations. 3. Write an E-book or E-report An E-book or E-report is a great way to get potential customers to visit your website. In this way they will be motivated to sign up for your newsletter. 4. Guest-write blogs A lot of blogs permit guest writers to place articles on their blogs along with a link leading to their website. This technique is excellent for gaining publicity. 5. Use ezine directories Get yourself listed in ezine directories. The best part is, this option requires no subscribers and is usually a free service! So make the most of it and get listed now! 6. Give out freebies Give out free stuff to your potential clients. Give away free screensavers, games, ebooks and more on your website. Place a sign up box on your website so that people checking out your freebies know they can register for your newsletters. 7. Submit your writing Make use of online magazines that accept your writing and if possible place a link leading to more information. You can also publish an online newsletter. There are lots of services that help you do this. 8. Provide quality information Your newsletters should contain interesting and well written quality content. Good content is the best motivator for getting people to sign up. 9. Provide quick opt-out Provide a simple and quick process for opting out. This encourages people to take a chance on signing up. 10. Find a partner It could be beneficial if you found a partner with similar interests to build an opt-in list with. This could lead to shared expenses, sharing of the list and better profits. Can you think of any more tips to build an opt-in email list? Tell us about them!


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6 Ideas for Great B2B Email Newsletter Content

Beyond • October 26, 2009

When it comes to your B2B email newsletter, you need to ensure that you provide your readers with content that keeps them on their toes! Take a look at some excellent ideas that you can incorporate in your newsletter content! 1. Note down interesting ideas and create a topic bank You could come across an interesting subject or topic to write on just about anywhere. Make a note of a subject that has grabbed your attention and write it down in your list of topic ideas. Some great topics to write about are: Common problems and ways to solve them How-to-do articles that explain how to carry out certain tasks A list of tips pertaining to a particular activity A subjective opinion on a chosen topic, industry, event etc An article that discusses how you feel a particular sector or industry will do in the long run, followed by an article on whether you were right or wrong Problems faced by people in their business and how they were overcome A case study with relevant figures and details relating to your products/services Write reviews on interesting and useful products and services that are available in the market Discuss educational content Inform people of upcoming events Direct people towards helpful resources like useful websites, online tools etc Answer questions sent in by your readers Conduct interviews and write about them Report statistics and news Create a fun, interactive quiz (this can even relate to your products or services) 2. Don’t place entire stories in your email The purpose of an email is to provide simple and brief information that gets your point across. Grab the attention of your readers by giving them a glimpse of the story to come. Pique their interest and then provide them with a link to the whole story. If you have successfully raised their curiosity they are sure to click on the link to read more. 3. Tell subscribers what to do Inform subscribers as to what you want them to do. Give them clear instructions regarding the call to action. Tell them if you want them to buy your ebook or enter a giveaway contest. It is also very important that you tell them what they will get by following your call to action. 4. Use exciting and relevant subject lines You can create your subject line after you have finished writing your email. This way you can be sure that your subject line accurately portrays the content in your email. Good subject lines contain commonly faced questions, mentions the recipient’s name and focuses on benefits. When faced with creating an effective subject line, be creative, sensible and practical. Keep testing out subject lines and see which one works best for you. 5. Give your audience what they are looking for Your content must cater to the needs of your audience. If you have promised to deliver content relating to a particular subject, stick to that. Avoid promoting your products and services and be reliable in terms of your emailing frequency. If you send your newsletters in an HTML format then make sure it includes a text only version as well. Always proofread your newsletter before sending it out and ensure that all unsubscription requests are dealt with immediately. 6. Make use of table of contents, sidebar boxes and columns If your newsletter contains information on two or more topics, it would be a good idea to provide your readers with a table of contents. This will help them get a good idea of what your newsletter contains and will prevent them from getting confused. You can even provide a link to each different topic in the table of contents to make it easy for your readers to go straight to the relevant area. Using sidebar boxes and columns is also a great way to help your readers directly reach the information they are most interested in reading about. Can you think of any more tips to improve your newsletter content? Tell us about it!


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20 New HTML Email Templates

20 New HTML Email Templates

Beyond • August 14, 2009

At Benchmark, we do not believe in staying idle. Constantly creating, improving and adding to our already vast range of HTML Email Templates is our mission. When it comes to existing templates we continuously re-design and improve on them. At the same time we strive to create new and innovative templates that satisfy your growing requirements! So take a look at our latest range of HTML Email Templates! Here are a few samples from our latest batch: Email Newsletters: Our Email Newsletters have been specially designed to fulfill all your marketing needs! Take a look at our innovative templates such as Wavy, Customer Win-Back, Webinar and Vibrant. View all Newsletter Templates Seasonal Email Templates: At Benchmark we are proud to say that we have a template for every season! Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter - we have the perfect Seasonal Email Template to satisfy your requirements! View all Seasonal Email Templates Travel Newsletters: Are you looking for templates specially created with travel in mind? Are you interested in newsletters that cater to tour promotions and more? Try out our Travel Newsletters! They are sure to be a perfect fit for your travel needs! View all Travel Newsletters Templates In keeping with the Benchmark mission, our highly skilled design team will be devoting all its time and efforts towards a full fledged effort to update our templates on a frequent basis. Don’t miss out on our latest templates – stay tuned to the gallery template to find out what’s new! If you have any particular template requirement do let us know! We welcome any suggestion for future templates – just contact us at support@benchmarkemail.com.


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Email Marketing Frequency: Sending on a Regular Basis

Email Marketing Frequency: Sending on a Regular Basis

Beyond • June 11, 2009

Most email marketing experts warn you against sending too frequently or even too infrequently. But few address the basic concept of consistency in your email marketing campaigns. In other words,  not sending on a regular basis is the same as sending too frequently or infrequently. Imagine email marketing to be like a new relationship. If you see the other person on a regular basis, you get some steam going. You build trust. Things feel more natural and normal. But if you show up twice in one week, but not for the next two months, things are going to be weird. And it\'s exactly the same with your email marketing recipients. So, how do you do it? How do you create a plan that makes certain you send your emails on a regular basis? We\'ve got some tips for you, so keep reading: 1. Create an editorial calendar Editorial calendars are what magazine editors and writers use to keep track of what they\'re doing months or weeks ahead. As an email marketer, you should create the same kind of calendar.  Mark the days that you plan on sending your emails. Now, try to figure out what you\'ll focus on during those days. For instance, suppose you run a stationary shop. You don\'t know for certain what you\'ll be doing six months from now, but you can guess that you\'ll probably be gearing up for wedding season, Easter, and even college graduation. Ballpark it and mark your calendar and you\'ll always know how much time you\'ll need to get your specific emails together. 2. Appoint a newsletter guardian Running a business takes lots of time, which is why many business owners and managers tend to shuffle their company email and newsletter campaigns to whoever seems to have a light moment. But by not giving your email or newsletter to the same person every time, you\'re not only putting out a different product each time, but you\'re increasing your chances that your email will be sent out irregularly. To combat this scenario, make your email the job of only one responsible person. Let that person shepherd it from start to finish. Not only will this person make sure it goes out on time, but they\'ll be there to make sure everyone turns in what they need (artwork, shipping schedules, product schematics) long before the email campaign is finally sent. 3. Bank Evergreen copy Start putting together copy for your newsletter that can be used at any time. This copy might include  tips on how to use a product, or even a how-to list that helps recipients save time and money. The key to this copy is to have it ready to drop in when you\'re short on time and need to fill space in your email campaign or company newsletter. So, how do you create this copy? Every day, create a task for yourself. Come up with one tip on how to save money, one “do you know?” factlet about your realm of business, or even just one way customers can use your products or services that they might not have known about previously. Add these things up and in a month, you should have at least three or four articles or tip sheets you can use in a pinch. 4. Create custom email or newsletter departments Break your newsletter or email down into sections. What do you write about each time? New features? General industry news? Tips? Once you have a good idea of what you\'ve been doing every time, you can adjust your template accordingly so that all you need to do is drop in the appropriate section-focused text or images every single time. The key to this exercise is not to reinvent the wheel, but rather come up with a system that helps you easily stick with a schedule. As an email marketer, you want a routine that you can stick to all the time, even during the busiest parts of the year. By putting these measures into place, you\'ll know well ahead of time how much time you\'ll need to dedicate to every single newsletter, and exactly what\'s needed both text and art-wise to keep your campaigns on schedule.


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