As an entrepreneur, you likely rely on email every day. You send transactional messages and make sure your customers have everything they need to navigate your products or services successfully. But beyond that, are you using email marketing, like a startup newsletter, to grow your business?
If you don’t have a newsletter and you aren’t sending out any marketing emails, you’re missing out on tremendous opportunities. Not sure where to start or how to improve your results? Keep reading for some easy tactics to get more eyes on your startup newsletter, boost brand awareness and increase sales.
Does your startup need a newsletter?
More than half of the world’s population uses email. By the end of 2024, no less than 4.4. billion people will have an email address. What’s more: 99% of people check their inbox every single day, with some refreshing it up to 20 times a day.
In such a competitive environment, it’s not easy to:
- Come up with engaging, exciting content for your audience
- Make sure that content reaches people in their inboxes
- Build a solid and consistent strategy that yields results on repeat
But then again, most things worth doing aren’t easy!
It took us more than six months to start getting results from our newsletter at ZeroBounce. After more than three years of sending our newsletter every week, there’s one thing I can tell you: Once you figure out your strategy, tone of voice and ideal sending frequency, things become a lot more manageable. Apart from that, you’ll start seeing engagement, which will provide the motivation you need to continue improving your efforts.
How an email newsletter can help your business boost awareness and sales
Before we get into some helpful tactics to make your startup newsletter a success, let’s take a quick look at why having one is worth the effort in the first place.
In a nutshell, a newsletter helps you:
- Turn your company into a brand by allowing you to build trust and authority in your niche
- Increase brand awareness and foster a sense of familiarity among your prospects
- Get to know the people on your list better, so you can then target them with more relevant campaigns
Ready to dive into more practical aspects of the process, including how to make it happen?
Here are four of the most effective ways to drive engagement with email marketing:
Build your email list the right way
If you’re starting from scratch, launching a newsletter may sound intimidating, especially since you may not have an email list yet. What you do have, though, is a tremendous advantage: You can build your list the right way from the start!
That means collecting only valid email addresses that belong to real people who want to engage with you. Buying an email list is always a bad idea, so think about the ways you can grow your list organically.
First and foremost, find a trustworthy email service provider. Many of them allow you to start for free, so take advantage of that. Once you set up your account, it’s easy to begin collecting email addresses.
Apart from placing newsletter signup forms on your website and blog, reach out to your closest circle of friends, business partners and collaborators. Use social media and any PR opportunity that comes your way to promote your company’s newsletter. Also, as soon as you get your first subscribers, start sending emails. Don’t let your small list discourage you. It will grow as your business grows.
Again, being new to email marketing can be an advantage. Many companies that have been around a while haven’t grown their databases correctly. Some of them bought contacts or have added people to their lists without permission. They’ve ignored email marketing best practices, and their reputation has suffered. You can learn from these mistakes and form good habits from day one.
Keep your email list clean
If you want to have an effective startup newsletter, you need a solid foundation. Whether you’re just beginning to build your list or you have an existing one, ensuring it’s accurate will save you many headaches down the road.
Bot addresses and invalid emails that end up bouncing are not just dead ends. Having them on your list tarnishes your sender reputation — a score inbox providers use to determine where your emails belong. Once your score starts to decrease, your inbox placement will, too. You may start noticing low open rates because your newsletter is going to people’s spam folders.
Inaccurate email addresses are not the only ones that can cause you trouble. Spam complaints tell inbox providers your content isn’t legitimate. Also, you could have temporary emails on your list, and those will bounce, as well.
Detecting these risky contacts is impossible to do manually. The easiest and fastest way to prune them is by using an email verification service. You have so many to choose from, and most of them offer free trials, so you can give them a try before you make a purchase. Once you’ve found the one you trust, use it regularly to ensure your list stays healthy and your newsletters make their way to the inbox.
Define your content strategy
What kind of content should I include in my startup newsletter?
It’s a question many business owners and marketers ask, and it’s legitimate. Once you’ve taken all the steps to be in a user’s inbox, your content is what makes — or breaks — your emails’ success.
While defining your content strategy may seem daunting, a good place to start is the very definition of the email newsletter.
As opposed to direct marketing campaigns, the goal of a newsletter is to:
- Allow your audience to discover and learn more about your startup
- Nurture subscribers with useful and entertaining topics
- Keep them engaged so you can generate better responses to your campaigns
Now, let’s see what kind of content could help you accomplish this goal.
Begin by looking in your own inbox: Of the newsletters you subscribe to, which seem to offer exactly what you’re looking for? Most likely, those companies spent time learning more about their subscribers. They either ran surveys, listened to their social media followers or monitored industry groups and other platforms. Follow their example.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of direct conversations with your customers and prospects. They can be your best source of inspiration, so ask away! Save this customer feedback, and refer to it whenever you feel like you’re running out of ideas.
Most importantly, allow yourself time to fine-tune your content and find your tone of voice. These are things that come with consistent practice, so be confident. You’ll get there!
Be there for the people on your list
Speaking of consistent practice, how often do you send your newsletter? Whether it’s weekly or once a month, setting and following a schedule pays off.
At ZeroBounce, we write and send a newsletter every week. Our newsletter goes out every Thursday morning, like clockwork. Sometimes, we have too much content to share and have to figure out a way to prioritize what matters most. Other times, we feel like the content isn’t worthy of an email, so we struggle to find exciting topics. But we’ve always shown up for the people on our list — once a week, every single week over the past three-and-a-half years.
Sending your newsletter regularly has several benefits:
- It fosters healthy engagement and keeps your metrics up. Open and click rates, forwards and replies all improve your sender reputation and inbox placement
- It encourages sales. When it’s time to send an offer, you’ll be addressing a “warm” audience instead of trying to sell to people who may not even remember you
- It also helps lower spam complaints. If your subscribers see you in their inbox regularly, they’re less likely to hit the “Mark as spam” button
- What’s more: you’re not just keeping your audience warm but also your sending IP. As spammers can send large numbers of emails erratically, inbox providers tend to trust senders with predictable sending behaviors
- Finally, it allows you to test various types of content and observe your metrics. Thus, you’ll get a chance to improve your content and your overall approach to email marketing
So, are you ready to send your best newsletter yet? Use the tips above to nurture and delight your audience, and the results will be your greatest reward.