Strategies of a Good Email Newsletter

Part of the Kenno's Blog series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, You Can Learn Series
Updated:
November 30, 2007

So you want to send out an email newsletter. What should your email newsletter campaign contain? Do you want new information? Do you want to tell you customer what you have done the last week or month? What format is best for your information, HTML or regular text? Do you include a video or photos? Do you only include information about your company or do you have links in the email to other relevant companies? Do you include an article that is not in your website but is exclusive to your email recipients?

I am going to analyze two emails that I receive on a regular basis. One of the emails I receive is from a recording studio known as Apocalypse Cow authored by Theresa Brooks and the second is from the SEO expert, Jill Whalen, at High Rankings Advisor. It will be an interesting conversation, because Jill sends her emails out just as regular text. Theresa works with many bands doing sound recordings and she sends her emails out as HTML. Which is better regular text or HTML?

Music is Played on Samantha Who

Let's check in with Theresa. She is the marketing guru at Apocalypse Cow. Music that she and her partners, Jeffrey and Dan Brooks, have created have been on American Idol Rewind, DR. 90210 and recently on Samantha Who on ABC. They have a thriving recoding business of bands that come in on a regular basis between writing, scripting, adding music and perfoming their own songs.

Theresa authors a mostly monthly newsletter. She gets a lot of input from the partners and then puts together her latest and greatest. She uses an HTML format, though she could utilize more html. She keeps the html fairly simple with the company logo at the top then simple html for the rest of the newsletter.

What Goes into the Content of the Newsletter

What does the Cow, as they affectionately call themselves, put into the newsletter as content? They will start the newsletter with a headline called News. This is normally news just about the Cow. The happenings in the studio. This is where they tell us about any recent podcasts they have recorded and uploaded to iTunes. Then they have a little sales message about gift certificates as the last newsletter was delivered just before the Christmas shopping season begins.

Next they tell us about all the cool new gear they are placing in the studio. This month they put in BLUE microphones from Blueberry mics. They mention why they purchased the mics and why you should be interested and excited about the recent purchase. This is a very subtle sales message. If you record music, you might want to see the new mics and find out how you will sound singing your latest hit song into these little babies. They also added a Small Fry Burn Unit.

Now you have to understand that Theresa and the Apocalypse Cow doesn't have a huge mailing list. They mostly send it to bands that have recorded with them and then people who have opted in to receiving it. So, the newsletter is going out to bands that might be interested in coming back into the studio. Nothing will fire up a band than knowing who is in the studio this month. What would you think if you knew your friend or even competitor was tuning up for their next release and you hadn't picked up your guitar in over 3 months?

Section Titled, Who's in the Recording Studio

The next section of the emailed letter is Who's in the Recording Studio. For the nonrecording person like me, it is an interesting few lines about who's in the shop and what kind of music is being played. They don't spend a lot of space on this section. Probably on average 4 lines per group. But, think of the benefits. If you are in the studio recording, this will make you feel huge. It gives their current customers a lot of warm fuzzies. Former customers really have to think, "I want to be back in recording." I am guessing that is where the fun and joy of playing music, writing songs and performing really happens. If you aren't live then the studio is the next best place to be.

Each of the bands usually have their own website describing where they are playing and info about their music. Theresa is nice enough to give a link for the band's website in her newsletter. A great touch and again, gives them all a warm fuzzy. If you haven't been in the studio lately with your band you are thinking, hey my songs and website should be in that newsletter. A little motivation to get back into action and finish up that album you haven't completed.

Funny Cow Jokes

Before they give their ending credits, Apocalypse Cow, will tell their funniest cow joke. These are usually pretty corny. The cow joke in this month's issue? "What do you get when you cross a cow with a crown?" Want to know the answer? I am not going to tell you. Check out The Cow website.

To end the newsletter they provide the necessary information to contact the studio. THey tell readers how to get booking information, new sampler CD and further studio contact info. They add the customary wording at the bottom on how to remove your name from the email newsletter.

High Ranking Advisor Newsletter

Another email I receive regularly is the one from Jill Whalen of High Rankings Advisor. Jill's newsletter is not formatted in a fancy html. It is simple text based email. You open it up in your Outlook or email reader and you are ready to read. You don't have to download images. You don't have to wonder what the image you can't see is supposed to look like. It is just text. Personally I am a big fan of this format. You can get the same results with text as you can with HTML.

Now, Jill obviously has a different clientele than Theresa. Jill's customers are business people looking to bring greater traffic to their websites. Jill's company is a Search Engine Marketing firm and her clients want information on how to increase search engine responses. What can they do to get a leg up on their competition? What information can Jill provide them that will give them the critical edge to be in the top ten of a search on Google instead of page 216?

Jill begins the newsletter by giving a little menu. The section is titled, In Today's Advisor. I like this move by Jill because it allows you to scan for articles of interest and then if you are in a hurry you can read the items of importance to you and then finish the rest when you have more time. After that section she will give a little introductory comment.

Questions from Readers

The High Rankings Advisor newsletter will then usually have a question from a reader or fan of the website. The question is of a serious nature and can sometimes be a tough call for a novice to answer and they want the answer of an expert. After the question Jill will spend quite a few paragraphs answering that question. It is always an in depth answer and you never feel like your time was wasted by reading through the newsletter.

Sometimes Jill will just comment on industry news or tell you what to watch out for in the markteplace. I have quoted Jill before on this site because she is such an industry insider. Jill will allow some web masters to actually post the question and answer on their own websites. THis is great for Jill because it gives her more credibility in the marketplace and some good link juice.

Do You Allow Advertising in Your Newsletter

The next section Jill handles quite well. She allows advertising on her newsletter. This is definitely a win / win situation. The advertiser benefits because Jill writes engaging articles. Since she uses a plain text format it is hard to tell where the article ends and the ads begin. Plus, this is very important. The ads are highly relevant to the newsletter. The ads you see are perfectly suited to the audience receiving the news.

There always seems to be a guest writer of some kind. This particular newsletter has another staff member at High Rankings, Jesse DaCosta giving feedback on a new product that is well suited for the SEO community.

Then Jill might have another ad and she will give us her, High Rankings Forum Thread of the Week. This is an opportunity for Jill to drive some direct traffic to her forum. She will place an engaging question on the newsletter and then will ask you for your opinion. She is very good at giving a little personal information each newsletter. Not so much that you feel overwhemed, but enough so you see her as a friend.

With a comment or two about the latest convention she is speaking at and then she will close with all the business end of a newsletter. How to reach her. What you can expect if you email her and how to get off the list.

Develop a Friendship with Your Readers

Here is a quick analysis of emails and how to handle them so you get repeat traffic. You keep former visitors interested in your company and interested in you. You develop a friendship with these people and they become lifelong friends. And isn't that really the best way to do business as a friend?

What is the best strategy to use, HTML or plain text? You know it doesn't matter. Your initial setup for an HTML will cost you in time. Some email programs will not open the images when the letter is first viewed. This will cause the letter to look bad. If the user is on dial up, this can be frustrating for the user because then they have to log back into the internet to get the images. When all the information is there, the letter will look great and you can do some exciting things with HTML formatting. If you set it up as plain text it won't take long to write it and format it. There won't be images to download. But, you won't have as much flexibility to do fun formatting and make it look exciting to read. If you are selling clothes, books or lawn mowers, I would recommend using HTML otherwise feel free to plain text.

Should you have advertising from other companies on your newsletter? I think it is okay if you make sure it is very relevant to your customers and business industry. Otherwise it becomes distracting and you may lose readership.

What is the best strategy for videos? I would recommend you just place a hyperlink in your newsletter that will take the user to your website page where you can then show your video.

When you create your newsletter, depending on your industry, you might want to include content that is not on your website. That way your customers feel like they have an advantage over just regular visitors to the website. At least give your subscriber list a week to enjoy and use the information before placing the information on your website. Exclusivity can increase subscribers to your newsletter.

OK, I have to go write my next newsletter.

Success is Achieved by doing the fundamentals - Are you happy with the results. Did we get the number of visitors we wished for? Did our visitors click on revenue producing links and ads? Were our page views up for the year or down? Did users visit more than one page? Did they make it to the order form and then abandon or did they continue and purchase our products?

Latest You Can Learn Series Blog Articles:

We Arrive in Santiago de Compestela Spain

We walked for Thirty Three days straight

We have arrived in Santiago. We walked for 33 straight days. Some days were 12 milers and as many as 18 miles or more in one day. We reached our destination. We decided not to rush to reach the city. Mary had accidentally banged her knee on the table at the restaurant the night before and it was a little tender.


Day 31 Palas de Rei to Ribadiso

We have walked 31 days to Santiago de Compostela

Today we started early because we had reserved a room at an albergue and we had to get there by 2pm or we lost the reservation. Mary set a blistering pace in the dark morning mist. Sunrise is at 8 am but this morning we had clouds and fog so it was darker than yesterday. The path through the city was okay but then leaving the city it became more difficult.


Three days of walking left in our Camino

We only have 66 kilometers to Santiago

We have walked for 30 days with only 3 days till we reach our destination of Santiago de Compostela. It has been an amazing journey. We are in the Galicia region of Spain known for the rain it receives. Well we are extremely lucky because the weather has been beautiful for walking. It starts out cool in the high 40s but then warms up to the low to mid 70s. With plenty of sunshine.


We arrived in Sarria

Five walking days to Santiago

Today we started late at 8 am. We were almost the last people out of Triacastela walking the Camino.


Ocebreiro to Triacastela

Only 6 days remaining on the Camino de Santiago

We are sitting in a restaurant in the little village of Triacastela on day 27 having tapas. It was a short 12 miles that were mostly down. Tomorrow we hope to go to Sarria.


Views from Astorga Spain

From Leon to Astorga on the Camino de Santiago

We visited Leon, Spain yesterday and then we walked 35Km today. Leon was wonderful. Today we walked in rain for the first time. We went 35 KM yesterday for no other reason than we could.


Walked 17 Miles Today

Today we walked 17 miles on the Camino

Today we are sitting at the albergue in Terradillos de las Templarios. We are at the halfway point in our journey. We have walked over 250 miles or 400 kilometers. I truly didn't think we would be able to do this. Mary has been a real trouper walking through bad knees and the pain of shin splints.


Finished a Third of our Camino Experience

We have walked a Third of the way to Santiago

Today finds us in Ages, Spain only 14 miles from Burgos. We are quite excited that we have managed this distance. We hoped we could but we had doubts especially those first few days where we hurt so much.


The Path to Najera Spain

Eight Days of Walking

We have been walking for 8 days now. It has been interesting, tiring, painful, fun and a real learning experience.


Walking Through the Pyrenees

Walking Through the Pyrenees

Mary and I started our journey to Santiago Spain. The first day we started in Saint Jean Pied de Port in France. The goal was to arrive in Roncevalle, Spain before nightfall.




Home| About Us | NewsLetters | Contact Us |

Copyright © 2004-2014 You Can Learn Series

You Can Learn Series Home Page You Can Learn Series
You Can Learn Series Home Page Home            About the creators of YouCanLearnSeriesAbout Us      Contact YouCanLearnSeriesContact Us      Site map of YouCanLearnSeriesSite Map      Privacy Policy of You Can Learn SeriesPrivacy Policy       Terms of Use of You Can Learn Series web siteTerms of Use       YouCanLearnSeries RSS feed for Kenno's Blog     
C# and ASP.Net Programming TipsC# and ASP.Net     SQL Tutorial, tips and tricks for DBA'sSQL      Landscaping Tips for Home GardenersLandscaping      WeightLifting Tips for the Young and OldWeightLifting      Ken Speaks OutBlog      Good health TipsGoodHealth      Learn about Great Travel DestinationsTravel      Web Business TipsWeb Business          Great Items from You Can Learn SeriesStore


You Can Learn C# and ASP.Net Series C# and ASP.Net
You Can Learn SQL Series Learn SQL
You Can Learn Landscaping and Gardening Series Landscape Tips
You Can Learn WeightLifting Series WeightLift Tips

Kenno's Blog PageBlog
  Articles 2014 Blog Articles 2014 Blog
  Articles 2012 Blog Articles 2012 Blog
  Articles 2011 Blog Articles 2011 Blog
  January 2008 Blog January 2008 Blog
  February 2008 Blog February 2008 Blog
  March 2008 Blog March 2008 Blog
  April 2008 Blog April 2008 Blog
  July 2008 Blog July 2008 Blog
  Bluff Spring Fen an Illinois Nature Preserve is a wonderful place of quiet, trees, flowers, underground springs, creek and birds. Bluff Spring Fen Nature Preserve
  Set your goals for 2008. Seven Steps to Reaching Your 2008 Goals
  Win 10,000 Entrecard Credits from AdToll. Save On Advertising With AdToll
  Learning the fundamentals will take you to success in Internet blogging. Success Is Achieved By Doing The Fundamentals
  Traffic numbers for the You Can Learn Series for 2007. Over 470,000 Page Views in 2007
  A Christmas poem for bloggers, SEO specialists and internet junkies. Twas The Night Before Christmas For Bloggers
  Thoughts on commenting on other blogs to drive traffic to your web site. Drive By Commenting is for Manipulators
  A commentary on banner ads, surveys and flashing gifs. There is So Much Noise I Can't Hear You
  A way for you to get additional traffic to your website. Free Advertising And More Traffic
  Some tips on gaining greater productivity with your writing. Writing Secrets For Greater Productivity
  How Often Should You Blog How Often Should You Blog
  Page Rank Paid Links Smack Down Update PageRank Paid Links Smack Down Update
  Protecting Your Copyrighted Articles Protecting Your CopyRighted Articles
  Strategies of a Great Email Newsletter Strategies of a Good Email Newsletter
  Four things that will help make your blog excellent Four Things You Must Do to Make Your Blog Excellent
  Identify Your Customer and Build a Web Page Just for Her Know Your Customer - Make a Lot of Money
  A way to maximize your Adsense RevenuesDo You Use Adsense Channel Settings Profitably?
  Interesting article on these popular pluginsFeedBurner, StumbleUpon, Surveys and Comments
  Making your email campaign generate revenueMake Your Email Campaign Profitable
  How to succeed in a business of your ownDon't Quit Your Day Job
  Converting images for your websiteConverting Images
  How to drive traffic to your website or blogDriving Traffic to Your Website or Blog
  Spanked by Google over Paid text link adsSpanked by Google
  Weapons of InfluenceInfluence

You Can Learn Good Health Series Good Health Tips
You Can Learn Series Newsletters Newsletters
Learn about Great Travel DestinationsTravel
You Can Learn Series Web Business TipsWeb Business Tips

Bill Welter - The Prepared Mind of a Leader




Americas Public Schools