How often have you sat down to write your next eNewsletter and just stared at the screen twiddling your thumbs? Or even worse... starting opening new tabs on your computer to check out the latest specials at your favourite store, or my ultimate habit... venturing out of the office completely and raiding the baking tins or leftovers in fridge. (Don't get me wrong... a girl needs a snack break but not as a means of procrastination!)
I'm a huge Wix fan and use this platform for my own website as well as my clients. I could do a blog right here right now on why I love it so much but I'll save that for another day. One of Wix's tools though is an email/eNewsletter feature called Wix ShoutOuts - so you will now understand what I'm talking about when I refer to ShoutOuts. They are simply an inbuilt email style newsletters sent to targeted subricribers through the Wix platform where all your contacts and subscribers are stored.
In this blog I'll talk you through a simple focused plan to help you pump out your next eNewsletter efficiently whist maximising the impact it will have on your audience.
So now... grab that piece of cake and a coffee (as this will be productive time) and take 10 minutes to read through these helpful hints. Don't forget to obtain your free printable planner and checklist at the end!
1. PLAN YOUR E-NEWSLETTER
The plan doesn't have to be detailed, just some thoughts, themes, concepts or ideas for the newsletter or ShoutOut. If you use a copy of my Monthly eNewsletter Planner or something along these lines, you will begin accumulating and jotting down ideas as they come to you over the month, so each subsequent one will be easier to gather content from. Depending on how frequently you send your e-newsletter or ShoutOut will probably determine the length.
Have a Goal. Start with a GOAL. Work out what your overall purpose for this ShoutOut is going to be. Is it to promote a particular new product, an update on some news or an event coming up? It is to share your latest blog with your loyal customer and keep them in the loop? Once you have your GOAL it will be easier to figure out the next step.
Determine your Target Audience. It may be that this ShoutOut will go out to everyone on your subscription list or you may want to narrow it down to a specific group. For example, if you sent out an email promoting a new service you have introduced last week you may like to mix it up a bit and resend a new one to just those who did not open the first one as a follow-up. This is valuable for two reasons. Firstly you are potentially going to reach clients who missed it or chose not to open the first time. Secondly you are always learning about your audience and if someone doesn't open two emails in a row it may be that they are not your ideal client down the track. I'm not saying you should go and delete this subscriber immediately but keep an eye on your subscriber activity - it's extremely valuable data.
2. WRITE YOUR E-NEWSLETTER - STAY FOCUSED & CONCISE
Use your plan to help guide you through writing your ShoutOut. Whether it's a larger Shoutout that you send less often or a quick short one, it is important either ways to be focused and concise with the point you are making. You are asking someone to take time out of their valuable day to read your email so make it attractive and make your points - quickly!
3. DON'T GO OVERBOARD WITH IMAGES
Only use images that back up your message or that initially grab attention. Unless you're doing a larger email/ShoutOut and using small thumbnail photos for news articles etc then I would only use one or two. If you are sending out more regular shorter ShoutOuts then you will be most likely just focusing on getting across one main message, and one image should be suffice. Sometimes an image isn't even necessary if you just have one short message as you will still have your logo on there somewhere and hopefully a call to action... which leads to the next two points.
4. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR LOGO CLEARLY PLACED
This one is simple. Don't forget to include your logo. Ideally it should be placed clearly at top or bottom of your email ShoutOut and if you have a website then link your logo to this.
5. INCLUDE AT LEAST ONE CALL TO ACTION
Don't ever let the opportunity go by without at least one call to action or opt in opportunity in the ShoutOut. Whether you're collecting those golden email addresses for a new subscriber list or refreshing your current one, or linking to your online shop this one is rule you don't want to break! If you can offer them something in return like a coupon to use at checkout, or a free download then even better.
6. HAVE AT LEAST TWO LINKS BACK TO YOUR WEBSITE
Driving your readers back to your website to learn more about what you do or have to offer is very important. For this reason I recommend you include at least two links back to your website. As per point 4 above, there will already be one link from your logo. The other may be from a call to action, or a link referring to a blog or information on your website.
7. GIVE YOUR SHOUTOUT A CATCHY HEADING AND SUBJECT
Grab your audience's attention right from the start with a catchy or enticing heading. We all love bullet points or numbered systems as well as timeframes (see this blog!) so a heading like 10 Reasons why... or How to achieve this is 5 Days often works well. Some other starter ideas include:
3 Reasons you need this....
5 Mistakes to avoid when...
A helpful guide to...
10 Useful tips for...
5 Easy ways to...
Things I wish I knew before...
8. PROOF READ - AND THEN PROOF READ AGAIN
I'm not going to lie - this is my least favourite part of, well anything content based. As someone who loves to design and come up with content, checking through the grammar and spelling at the end is a little bit dreaded! BUT - it really can make the difference between a super positive impact and a negative flop of a marketing attempt. Do your best and if it's really not your forte perhaps someone can help with this part (in exchange for cake of course). Having a second set of eyes on your newsletter before sending will be a good opportunity for overall feedback, coming from fresh eyes.
9. ENSURE THE LOOK AND FEEL OF YOUR SHOUTOUT IS IN LINE WITH YOUR BRAND
Although your ShoutOuts don't have to all the look the same, there should be some common ground between them all. They should all be designed around your brand guidelines so that typography, colours, icons, imagery and logos are consistent. You don't want to confuse new and old subscribers with a whole new look and feel which is inconsistent with your brand. This can lose a clients trust or reflect poor quality. A seamless consistent brand shows intention and consideration which in turn builds trust and respect.
10. SEND A TEST EMAIL - CHECK LINKS - SEND!
Always send a test email to yourself first. It's a final chance to check grammar and layout as well as testing any hyperlinks are working. Because you are receiving the email in the same format as a user as opposed to viewing it in the editors dashboard, it's amazing how differently you perceive it. So look at it from a readers perspective. See how the heading grabs you and then ties in with the content to follow. Once you are happy with all the above, go on and send it. Now you get to follow the stats and see how many people are opening, viewing and clicking on your website - a slightly addicting part of the process.
If you'd like to have a go at planning out your next month's ShoutOuts or eNewsletters then feel free to download and print a copy of my Monthly e-Newsletter Planner.
Do you plan out your ShoutOuts in advance and keep ideas? If so I'd love to know how.