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Marketing Insights: Tasting Notes

Tasting Notes


Most business owners balk at the thought of sending
e-newsletters because they don’t want to clutter their customers’
inboxes with junk.

Most business owners balk at the thought of sending e-newsletters because they don’t want to clutter their customers’ inboxes with junk. The idea that every e-newsletter constitutes junk is old thinking. Internet marketing has grown up and a well-written, relevant e-newsletter can be your most effective marketing tool. It’s targeted, easy to send, easy to respond to and extremely cost effective. To realize all of these benefits, however, there are a few steps to consider before you hit “send.”

Actively develop a permission-based e-mail list
Promote the fact that you will be sending regular newsletters to notify special customers of new menu items and special pricing (only available to subscribers). Put the “sign-up” button front and centre on the homepage of your website.
You can also run a contest in-store to collect e-mail addresses. Offer the winner a free pizza once per month for a year. On the ballot, put a check box for the entrant to expressly indicate that they do want to receive notification of new products and special offers. Leave a line for their e-mail address. Benchmark data indicates about 25 to 30 per cent of entrants will give consent, which will give you a good base.

Create a good title for the subject line
Try not to be too cutesy or hard selling in your subject line. Your e-mail will probably be filtered out or end up in the junk folder. Put the name of your operation and a quick teaser about what’s going on. Words like “free” or “sale” will probably be flags for the filters.

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Make a good first impression
Studies show that if someone doesn’t unsubscribe after the first newsletter, the likelihood that they will continue to receive your newsletter is fairly high. There are several “canned” newsletter templates that are easy for those who aren’t computer savvy to customize and deploy. Companies such as “customer contact” offer e-newsletter services, often with a free trial period.

Make it easy to read
Avoid rambling, run-on sentences or 300 word paragraphs. Pick about three main points you want to get across and then create special sections to feature each offer.

AC Neilson conducted a study on e-newsletter usability and found that users in the study spent 51 seconds on average scanning a newsletter. The study also found that 57 per cent scanned the newsletter and another 11 per cent read it thoroughly. Only 22 per cent didn’t read it, but even those who don’t read it will be reminded of your brand by simply seeing the newsletter in their inbox. Make sure key words are bolded and can be clicked on to take the reader to your website.

Time it properly
Studies have concluded that the best time for people to receive an e-newsletter is 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. If your e-mail program takes a while to deploy then you should factor this into your plan and send it a bit earlier. It’s believed that Tuesdays are the best day because people haven’t really geared up to full speed yet and have the time to read your newsletter.

It’s good to share
Put a button front and centre that says “forward to a friend.” If you’ve got great products and special offers, chances are readers will want to let others know. This is what we mean when we refer to e-marketing as having a “viral effect.”

Make sure you also have an easy link for readers to click on to unsubscribe. Statistically, very few recipients will unsubscribe if they’ve given permission for you to send things to them. You don’t want to create a negative experience if it’s hard for them to rescind the invitation.

Measure, measure, measure
Web-based marketing is so measurable. By utilizing a web statistics package, you can easily see how many people opened the newsletter, what links they clicked on and how many forwarded it to a friend. This will let you truly understand what products and services consumers are most attracted to. If you hire a webmaster to do your newsletter, insist that they include some measurement parameters.

Electronic newsletters allow you to speak directly to your customers and to advise them quickly of special offers. No more waiting for the postcards to be printed and sending through the snail mail. It’s better for the environment too.  No paper to sit in landfills.

Canadians subscribe to an average of nine different newsletters and that number is climbing all the time. Junk e-mails are “old school.” With a permission-based target list, your message will be a welcome guest. •

 E-Newsletter Tips
• Mine for permission-based e-mail addresses
• Don’t send it too frequently
• Best time to send an e-newsletter is Tues., 10 a.m.
• Keep it brief, well-written with key words bolded
• Add a “forward to a friend” button to increase your readership
• Make sure you can measure the results


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