There’s a big debate among Internet marketers: Is email dying? Let me quickly address that question with a couple of key stats:
The average email open rate for 2012 was up 2.6 percentage points over 2010, and the click through rate (CTR) was up 1.1 percentage points over the same time period. (Direct Marketing Association)
Email opens on smartphones and tablets have increased 80% over the last six months. (Litmus)=
These stats show email remains extremely effective. People still use email on a daily basis. Sure, social media has taken away some communication from email but email is still widely used by professionals and everyday people. More significantly, with the world “going mobile”, more and more people now have access to email on their mobile devices.
Having an e-newsletter that is done well can be very effective because people are constantly on their phones. They check their email on the go – while they’re waiting on a lunch appointment or getting an oil change. This makes email an incredibly valuable tool if you can use it effectively.
Here are three ways you can increase readership and subscribers to your e-newsletter:
#1 Provide valuable and concise content
The email newsletter is not a place for you to babble on and provide long and lengthy paragraphs for people to read. Again, you have to keep mind that people are most likely reading your email newsletter on a mobile device.
You want to make sure you keep it very short, valuable and concise.
This can be done with content, design and layout. With the design, you don’t want to be too graphic-heavy because it will be difficult to load on a mobile phone.
With the content, the e-newsletter is a platform for sharing information about events, serving opportunities and similar news. While you want your content to reflect the uniqueness and DNA of your church, this isn’t necessarily the time to communicate who you are, what you do and why it matters. The people receiving this newsletter are already engaged and should have been taught that at a different time in their entry into the church.
The most important thing to remember with your content is to always lead with why. A big mistake communication leaders often make is leading with the what, when or how of the event. They explain what the event is, when it will be taking place and how people can get involved without first gripping the hearts of people. That’s what the “why” does, and that’s why it needs to come first. Tell people:
Why should I go to this is event?
Why will it change my life?
Why will it add value for me?
You always want to lead with why.
#2 Provide people ways to connect beyond the e-newsletter
You want to connect people to your church’s entire Web experience, not just the e-newsletter. Remember leaders, the e-newsletter is a piece in the larger strategy for developing a memorable web experience.
You want to make sure that your content is not only good, but it leads people beyond the e-newsletter to find more information and more ways to connect and interact with the church. You want to take people to Facebook and Twitter, your website, your blog, your YouTube page. You want to take them outside your e-newsletter so you can capture them beyond the newsletter.
#3 Provide regular design changes in style and color
If your provide the same format, design and content over and over again, people are going to see the subject line of the email in their inbox and they’re not going to open it anymore. You have to give them a reason to constantly open the e-newsletter.
Two additional tips:
Church leaders are always asking me, “How do you capture email addresses? I usually respond by asking, “When do you have their attention the most?” It’s on Sunday morning when they’re sitting inside a pew or chair in a worship service. This is an appropriate time for you to:
(1) Have the senior pastor emphasize the importance of this communication tool; and
(2) Place a card in the seats that says “Name” and “Email Address”, or tell them to text their email address to the church text-in number.
You’ve got them captured on a Sunday morning. You’ve got them right there. You’ve got their attention. It’s a simple action: write your name and provide your email address. But the senior pastor must also emphasize why they should sign up for this email and receive it on an ongoing basis.