Looks like my headline has grabbed your attention? There’s a powerful teaching point in that, which I’ll get to in just a sec.
For now, let me get to the point: if you are distributing email newsletters, stop doing them now! Why? Well, I can give you five reasons right now:
1. Attention Span
Think for a moment about the state people are in when they are checking and clearing their emails. You have micro-seconds to grab their attention as they process whether to keep or delete your email newsletter. What normally happens is this: they will open it, scroll down to see how much there is to read and if it looks like too much, they’ll hit delete and move on.
If you can grab their attention with a short piece of enticing copy and offer an attractive reason to click on a link however, they will be magically transported out of email mode – the mode of “how fast can I delete this?” – and into surfing the web. Once this happens, attention spans increase and you have just enough time to draw them into your message and offer.
To prove my point, consider the following. Have you ever been on your email, clicked on a link and then two hours later said to yourself, “What was I doing?” Oh yeah that’s right I was clearing emails.
2. Training Your Customers
If you want to start selling more of your products and services online (and you should), you need to start training your customers to go to your website. Why? Because a person can’t buy directly from a HTML form inside an email newsletter, as it is not a secure environment.
So just like Pavlov’s dogs, if you want to sell products and services online, you need to condition your customers to keep visiting your website. This is where all of the cool stuff and action happens plus, once they are there, it’s only one click to your shopping cart and dollars in your bank.
3. Content for Google
Let’s talk about Google and this wonderful thing called the Google Algorithm. This is the process they use to rank your website against all of the other websites on the Internet. The goal is to get in favour with Google, because the better your rankings are, the more free traffic you get.
When people rely on email newsletters to distribute information, all of this wonderful content gets trapped in the email, not able to be accessed by Google for indexing. So in the same way that ‘today’s news is tomorrow’s chip paper’, once you create an email newsletter, it benefits you that day but does nothing to serve you long term.
Instead of a newsletter, consider using the content to build a blog that will sit on your website. Optimise your ranking by using certain keywords in your article that people in your industry are searching for. Once posted onto your website as a blog, Google can then index these pages. It’s like spreading breadcrumbs across the web, which will lead new people to your website.
4. Boost Your Rankings
To further expand on the point above, factors which are commonly known to positively affect Google’s Algorithm are: having a keyword-rich title tag, an effective meta-description and back links coming from high PageRank websites. Other factors such as the number of pages on your website, the length of time people stay on your site and the amount of return visitors are also taken into account by the Algorithm.
By moving your content out of emails and onto your website, you create more pages on your website, you increase the time that people stay on your site, and you ensure that you have a lot of people coming back to your site on a regular basis.
The net effect of these factors is an increase in the value and importance of your website, ensuring better rankings, more traffic, more enquiries and ultimately, more profits.
5. No Multi-Media Restrictions
With email newsletters you are restricted to what you can say and do. Terms such as: ‘earn extra cash’, ‘compare rates’, ‘incredible deal’ or ‘lowest price’ may unintentionally trigger spam filters and your emails won’t get through.
In addition, you can’t reliably embed videos or audio messages into massive broadcast emails. This is a major issue because videos are an excellent way to connect with and engage your customers. One way you can harness this medium is to start posting videos to your website once a month covering the ‘latest news’ in your industry, or videos called ‘your questions answered’ where you take customer FAQ’s and answer them.
Another medium that is gaining significant momentum now is podcasting. This is where people can subscribe to receive audio messages from you. The benefit of podcasting is that your customers can access your content at times when their bodies are preoccupied but their minds are free. This could be driving in the car, working out in the gym or cleaning the house.
So to sum things up, email newsletters are like a flash in the pan. They give you some immediate benefits but they do nothing for your business in the long term. So what should you do instead?
My advice is to write your emails like a postcard. This means keep them short and unintimidating. As for the content, your job should be to ‘sell the sizzle, not the steak’. In other words, write copy that is intriguing and enticing, but doesn’t give all your secrets away. Share enough to get them interested then include a link that takes them out of their email and onto your website, where you can proudly present your content without restrictions. This method also means you are creating content that will earn you points with Google and provide you benefits for many years to come.