Sending regular newsletters to your prospective customers is a great way of ramping up your sales numbers. But unless you’ve mastered it, or have lots of free time, you will find the process of creating and dispatching compelling messages quite daunting. You can use free newsletter software and paid versions, each with its pros and cons.
You need newsletters and information that will wow your audience and lead to better open rates, which will ultimately lead to sales.
Enter automated tools that effectively help you do everything in just a few clicks. To that end, you’ve probably heard that the best newsletter software tools are the paid ones. But I’m here to tell you that’s not true, not entirely.
Free automation tools do work, but only if you put in the work as well. So, here are our top 5 tips for getting the most out of yourfree newsletter software:
1. Always Read User Guides
Always read the user guide, or terms and conditions of every software you sign up to, particularly the free ones. Apart from the technical how-to guides, user guides also tell you how scalable the software is (important if you plan to use it for a while), the type of templates and customization features included, and whether there are any hidden fees (you don’t want any pricey surprises).
Try to find out what the competition use, utilize trial periods for paid services also. This will give you further insights into the tools that are available. This will allow you to gauge what you need and if a free or paid tool will work for you.
2. Have Clearly Defined Goals
What exactly do you want to achieve with the newsletter? Do you see it only as a tool to grow revenue or is there a more general objective?
In short, figure out WHY you need the email newsletter, and the subsequent processes will be much simpler. While at it, keep in mind that different types of newsletters will require different designs and content structures and you can’t leave it all up to the software, no matter how good it is.
Ideally, research the type of newsletter you decide to work with and check out a few samples. That way, you’ll be in a better position to select the templates and layouts within the software.
New and smaller businesses using free newsletter software makes sense, using paid tools when starting will cost too much money and the returns will be much less.
By knowing what you want from the tools you use, you can better manage the systems and understand the returns of your efforts.
Having undefined goals will lead your marketing and sales teams on different paths which will ultimately hurt your business.
3. Determine Your Limitations
After determining the WHY, the next step is to determine the WHAT, that is, what type of content to include in your email newsletters.
You can choose to include details on everything you do, covering your entire products range and updates on any business changes. While this approach will work for most small businesses, the content creation aspect may be a bit more difficult for larger enterprises.
Alternatively, you may decide to only cover one product or department of your business. This would create a more focused scope that many people find easy to handle.
By understanding what your business is focusing on and the direction it is taking, more customers and clients are likely to open a newsletter.
Being bombarded with different subjects and products will confuse readers and lead to a reduction of readership.
Develop a marketing strategy that readers will come to know and understand. This does not mean you have to only stick to one subject, large company or those with a lot to say can segment newsletter and other emails bi-weekly or monthly, perhaps once a month a bonus piece will feature new information.
A consistent layout and content structure appeal to readers. Free newsletter software allows you to play around with these ideas until something concrete sticks.
4. Set Your Schedule
While the best free newsletter software will do a great job in designing and sending out your newsletters, they won’t help much when it comes to creating valuable engagement. For this, you would need your attentive involvement.
Having a consistent dispatch routine is arguably the best way to create a lasting connection with your subscribers. Of course, how often you send emails depends on how much content you have or can produce. If, for instance, you have enough new information, a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter would do well. Otherwise, a monthly or quarterly dispatch will suffice.
Quality over quantity is the mantra.
Choosing the day and time is equally as important. Even the best free newsletter software cannot produce every insight that you deem valuable, this is when paid software needs to be used. Many free tools will provide basic insights and you need to test and analyze the information that you have. Without analyzing it may be difficult to know if the quality content your produce is being received at the appropriate time.
5. Include Visuals
While your free newsletter software will probably do a good job on the layout and design aspects, there’s another equally important aspect of great newsletters that automated tools can’t hack – the effective use of visuals to capture reader attention.
The use of visuals doesn’t just mean your company’s logo and branding elements (although they’re still important). It also means, the use of charts and graphs instead of words to put across messages with statistical connotations. Apart from making the emails look longer and more informational, visuals are more effective at putting messages across compared to words.
If your newsletter is more informal include Gifs or caricatures to keep readers entertained and interested in what your newsletter has to say.
Free or paid tools?
As usual with email and newsletter campaigns the content is key, but so too is proper investigation and understanding of why, how, and what you are using these free and paid tools for.
Finding an amazing free newsletter software is the easy part. Using it effectively to achieve your business goals is the hard part. Follow these five tips and you’ll (hopefully) be in a much better place to produce delightful newsletter content.
If your reach a level where free tools no longer have effectiveness or you need to upgrade due to volume or design then there are amazing quality tools that can help you segment, analyses and improve your content and customer understanding.