Have you ever subscribed to a company’s newsletter and as soon as the first couple of emails hit your inbox, you knew you made a terrible mistake?
We’ve all been on the receiving end of an email subscription that we thought we wanted, but quickly regretted signing up for. Maybe the content was too sales-y. Maybe the emails were too lengthy or too frequent. Or perhaps the content just wasn’t what you thought it was going to be. As a marketer, you may have been so scarred by this experience that you vowed never to be “that company” and have since avoided creating your own trade newsletter.
We understand this feeling! But for fresh produce growers and service providers, a trade newsletter can be a very effective way to provide your customers with added value—and keep your company top of mind (and top of inbox!) on a regular basis. So how do you master the art of creating a newsletter that doesn’t result in your customers blacklisting your email sends?
Here are 5 pro-tips to that will get you there:
Pro-Tip #1: Focus on Helpful, Educational Content
If you’re a grower, your trade newsletter likely focuses on crop updates and availability information. While this is a key piece of helpful information you can include, consider taking your helpfulness to the next level to keep your customers from deleting those emails. Why not also offer educational content in your newsletter, like a featured growing region, varietal or trending topic that relates to your product or service? How about a spotlight on a sales team member? Value-added content like this will make your customers feel more personally connected to your company, and therefore more likely to come back for repeat business.
If you’re a service provider in the produce industry, your newsletter content can focus on educational information that will help your customers improve their business. If you subscribe to The Core, you’ve seen this “helpful first” mantra in action. Our content is all about helping produce marketers sharpen their skills and advance demand for fresh produce. This builds trust with our readers over time, and you can do the same!
Pro-Tip #2: Make Your Subject Lines Fun
We see many companies using the date or the name of the newsletter as the subject line each time they send. While this adds a sense of familiarity, there’s something lacking with this formula: an exciting incentive or call to action that makes the recipient actually want to open the email—right now! Playing with fun, creative copy in your subject line adds personality to your communications and could significantly improve open rates. For example, according to Campaign Monitor, companies that use emojis in their subjects lines see 56% higher unique open rates.
Take a look at this article from Campaign Monitor that provides a list of subject line formulas and words to include and avoid in your email subject lines.
Pro-Tip #3: Test, Test, and Test Again
While we’re certainly big proponents of following marketing best practices, the truth is that sometimes, what works for one company isn’t what will work for another. That’s where the importance of testing comes in. To determine the optimal time and frequency for your newsletter, we recommend testing a few different send times and comparing open and click rates. You may also find it valuable to test different email layouts over time. For example, do your newsletters receive more clicks when you get right into the content, or do your customers prefer you to include an introductory paragraph to sum up the email to start? Many email service providers provide the ability to A/B test – meaning that you can split your subscription list in half in order to test two different emails and see which performs best.
Pro-Tip #4: Optimize For Multiple Viewing Devices
According to Adestra, emails that display incorrectly on mobile phones may be deleted within three seconds. People spend so much time emailing on our phones these days that marketers cannot afford to have newsletters that aren’t optimized to be responsive on multiple screens and device types.
Alternate photo text and meta descriptions aren’t just for your website, either. If you have photos in your newsletters, you should also check to ensure that alt text is added to your images. Why? Despite marketers’ best efforts, many email clients will block images from displaying correctly. The alt text will offer the recipient a quick description of what the image is, so even if their email provider refuses to display it, they’re still informed.
Pro-Tip #5: Consider a Familiar Sender Name
It’s often easy to default to your company name as the sender name, or who the email is “from,” but this isn’t always the most effective way to increase your open rates. Your customers are more likely to open an email from a person they trust or regularly do business with, so consider using the appropriate salesperson’s name instead. For some companies, this works best when you create multiple send lists, one for each sales person, and send the newsletter out with a different “sender” to each list. This added specialization and personalization serves as an additional touchpoint for your sales team.
At the end of the day, the formula is simple: your trade newsletter will be successful if it gives more than it takes, meaning you are giving your customers helpful content rather than only focusing on selling your products or services. This is one of the best pro-tips we can provide for email marketing—or any other type of marketing you are focused on for that matter.
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