How are you using electronic communications to reinforce your story to customers and prospects? The first thing you can safely assume is that everyone is inundated with email communications. You have literally a glance of a second to capture your targeted reader’s attention. The key to successful eZines, eBlasts and eCommunications is interest, relevancy, consistency, interactivity and authentic inclusion.
1. Generating Interest: One of the first mistakes I see in most eZines, eBlasts or eCommunications of any kind is the subject line. If the subject line doesn’t offer interest to the viewer and grab their attention, the communication will not be opened and viewed. Period. Don’t just state the name of the communication, your company or date, state its main topic or ask a compelling question. Let them know, even in the subject line, that you are bringing them something of value and worth their time to read.
2. Having Relevancy: The answer to relevancy is targeting, targeting, targeting. This is what makes it relevant and eventually valued to who is receiving the communication. First define who is receiving the communication and why. Then, determine the key issues, problems, challenges, or concerns that they would seek your insights or information to address. Your goal with relevancy is that your eCommunication will become so valuable that recipients will be sharing with others and referring others to opt in.
3. Being Consistent: Both in format and frequency, consistency is essential to success. Format your communications and segment content in a manner that over time recipients will know where to focus for the information they most want to gain insight. Make sure the communication is timed to be received at a frequency that is most appealing to your customers. While unexpected communications to your entire database to announce a special recognition or time-sensitive topic can be a strategic means of inciting an immediate call-to action, make sure your eCommunications is part of an overall plan of ongoing delivery so those receiving look forward to it versus wondering when the next one will hit their inbox.
4. Being Interactive: I almost made this point “being concise,” but decided being interactive would drive the point home more. Surprisingly, too many eCommunications, and especially eZines, don’t take advantage of the interaction aspect of the Internet. Make sure you are leveraging the Internet in your communications with links to your website or resources that further reinforce your value or the points you are trying to make in your content. You could also consider including a short survey, or downloadable report or PDF that offers added value.
5. Authentic Inclusion: Cold calling is ineffective on the phone, and cold contact emailing is not only frowned upon, but could get your email or IP address blacklisted on entire email server systems. Make sure you are not sending to contacts that have not been authentically qualified as interested in receiving your communications. Make sure it is easy for someone interested to sign up to receive as well as opt out.
Always remember, that just as the reader is glancing at subject lines, they are glancing at content areas and subheadings to determine value. The more value you can bring to what you are sending in the mind of the recipient, the more opportunity you have to create preference and bottom-line results for your business.
Sherré DeMao is author of the nationally acclaimed books, 50 Marketing Secrets of Growth Companies in Down Economic Times, www.50marketingsecrets.com, and Me, Myself & Inc., www.memyselfandinc.com, Her column seeks to help business owners build and grow sustainable enterprises and businesses with economic value and preference in the marketplace.