Tracking - How To Do It and How To Use It

Here is a subject about which every enewsletter publisher should become an expert. If you aren't gathering the right tracking data - and if you aren't acting on it - your campaign isn't going to be as successful as it should be.

What kind of data should you be studying? Certainly open rate, but also click-throughs, link action, hard bounces, soft bounces and return email. A professional analysis of this data can show where the letter has attracted interest and where it has not. It also can provide information that leads to better placement of the elements on the page.

In essence, tracking tells you what you need to know to maximize the effectiveness of the enewsletter. If you aren't doing this, or don't know how to do it, get in touch with an enewsletter professional.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


Delivering Your Message To Your Target Audience Is Key. Delivering It Consecutively is Success.

My wife and I are expecting a second child. “Congratulations” you say? “Thank you. I really didn’t do much, expect the usual.”

Anyway, after the first oby/gyn appointment we were giving a folder named “Healthy Beginnings” and in it was information regarding the hospital check-in instructions, mother fitness classes, family planning, etc… But, buried under all the hospital forms was one of the best placed pieces of direct marketing I’ve ever seen... A special Walt-Mart catalog called named “Baby Connection” it included a baby wish list, advice and, most important, Walt-Mart’s inventory on baby products.

It’s not the catalog that amazes me, it is the fact that it was a perfectly delivered to its target market. A catalog providing baby products, included among important hospital information and placed in the hands of an expecting mother is as the Guinness stout TV commercials would say “Brilliant!”

Every month that we send out an eNewsletter, this is exactly what we as marketers are aiming for. That our message reaches that target audience that is in the need for your services. This should be one of the main goals in any eNewsletter marketing campaign. Whether it is for communication or sales, we should always plan our deliveries and craft our messages so that our eNewsletters are “placed” in the hands of those “expecting” prospects, clients or readers.

The beauty of eNewsletters is that although Walt-Mart did a good job with its one time catalog delivery, an eNewsletter gets to do a great job by delivering its message to its target audience month after month.

Marcos J. Menendez
Loop Consulting Group
Death By A Thousand Pinpricks

Writing enewsletters can be a satisfying exercise up to the point where the copy for the letter is submitted to the client. Then come the problems - not always, by any means, but often enough be a serious concern.

What problems? Mainly the irrestible urge on the part of the client to do "editing". This editing can rightfully be corrections of fact and amendments to repair omissions. No problem with that - there should be a mea culpa on the part of the writer in these cases.

However, there is a prevalence of editing by committee. This is where the piece of writing is sent through the various layers of management for review and each reviewer feels obligated to make changes. Bit by bit, a finely crafted piece of copy gets picked apart until the voice and the flow of the piece is niggled to death.

So, what can be done about it?

The answer is simple. If the client will appoint one person to the responsibility for the newsletters and give him or her the authority of final approval, good work can be protected. That is, assuming that this person has the intestinal fortitude to fend off the would-be copy tinkerers.

Yes, there are organizations out there that operate this way. And they get the good results.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


Long Letters or Short Letters -- Which Is Best?

Marcos and I have had a continuing debate on the merits of long enewsletters vs. short ones. Marcos favors short letters - he doesn't think readers are likely to go very far down on the page. I take the position that there is no such thing as a letter that is too long -- if the content is of use and interesting to the reader.

His reasoning is based on his experience with web site pages. A basic rule there is to reduce the need to scroll down the page.

My reasoning comes from my experience in the direct response business.We knew that direct mailings of letters that ran as long as 7 pages could produce very effective results. However, to be effective the copy could not be self-serving. Copy that brought new, vital information to the readers would be read, regardless of length -- and acted upon.

So, where do enewsletters fit? My position is that they are more like direct mail pieces - and that makes long copy valid.

I'd like to get some comment from our readers on this subject. Why don't you post something up on this subject?

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist.


You Got The Tools. But Do You Have The Time?

A prospect cancelled our presentation meeting today because they said that they had just acquired the tools needed to send out an eNewsletter.

In the past years we’ve learned some things from producing plenty of eNewsletters. We know that having the right tools are just a part of producing a successful eNewsletter program.

If you gave me a hammer, plenty of nails, some wood and a saw I still couldn’t build you a house. First, I’m not a carpenter (although sometimes my wife wished I was) and second I don’t have the time.

Even though my meeting was cancelled, I wanted them to start off in the right step. My advice to them was “Make sure you name a person responsible for producing that eNewsletter month after month and make sure that he/she has the time to do so, otherwise the program will not last long enough to see tangible benefits.”

Keep this in mind if you are thinking of starting your own eNewsletter program.

Marcos J. Menendez
Loop Consulting Group


Why Newsletters Don't Get Done

Over the last ten years I have worked with many advertising agencies across the country, writing newsletters that go out under their masthead. Now you might ask, "Why in the world would ad agencies go to an outside supplier to do this job?". They have copy writers on board. Their leaders certainly should have subject matter ideas.

The answer in most cases is "We tried to do it ourselves but too many things got in the way and our newsletters just weren't getting done." If that is the case with communications professionals, how difficult must it be for other types of business to get out newsletters on a monthly basis?

So, this is our role. Get the letters out ... month after month after month. Because it is our living, you had better believe that we are relentless in getting the job done.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist
Taking Permission For Granted and Then Passing It On To Your Friends

Because I purchased a ticket from Ticketmaster, this should not imply that I want to continue on receiving information from Ticketmaster or that I allow them to give my email address to their partners.

Ticketmaster should not shield themselves from doing this by entailing that if ‘I purchase I must agree’ with your Privacy Policy that states that “by submitting an email address to us, you agree that Ticketmaster (on behalf of itself or on behalf of others) may send promotional emails…”

Folks, taking liberties with your client’s permission and email is not the way to build a long relationship. Always ask them to subscribe, never subscribe them as part of your policy.

Extracted from Ticketmaster’s email “ticketalert”

“As a Ticketmaster user, you agreed that Ticketmaster may contact you by email or other means and use and disclose the information you submit, as described in the Ticketmaster
Privacy Policy. If you would like to opt-out of receiving a particular type of email at this email address then please visit My Account and indicate your preferences. Please note that you may still receive emails from those who provide events (e.g., venues, teams, artists, promoters and leagues) to whom Ticketmaster provides your email address as described in the Ticketmaster Privacy Policy.”

Marcos J. Meenendez
Loop Consulting Group


It's Not All About YOU

Too often, those who start to do enewsletters want the letters to be all about them. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Well, it isn't because there is a problem here. Those who want to talk solely about their wonderful products, their smart management, their high tech plant are most likely going to a turn off their readers.

It is basic to direct marketing success that the letter should be directed to the reader's interests. Letters that bring the reader useful information and advice get read - and such letters leave the impression that the writer of the letter knows his or her business. That is a big step toward winning them over to your propostion.

Prescott "Pete" Lustig
Senior Marketing Analyst


Archiving eNewsletters Helps Your Search Engine Placement

One of the best ways to ensure that your website places high in search engine rankings is to add new content to your site. Archiving your eNewsletter in your website will do just that.

Search engine placement tips http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/article.php/2168021

Marcos J. Menendez
Loop Consulting Group
Loop Consulting Group


Managing “Voice” in eNewsletters

So you have it in your head that you are going to write an enewsletter. Does this mean you are going to write a business letter? If you want these communications to succeed, you had better not. The most effective of these communications are not those that speak at people, as most business letters do. The most effective are those that speak with people.

You surely want to get on a level of communication that is more like a conversation. You know, personal in nature.

This take us to the subject of creating the right “voice” for your letters.

Perhaps, if your objective is to simply convey technical facts or financial data via an enewsletter, your voice can be formal, impersonal and personality neutral. But in most other cases you will do well to be conversational – to use the language and idiom of the audience to whom you are communicating.

Would you talk to a college student the same way you would talk to a prospect for a retirement home ? Would you talk to an entertainment events promoter the way you would a financial consultant? We would hope not. Your letters should project a personality that is compatible with those being addressed.

By using a voice that makes readers comfortable – a voice that is familiar to them, you become more than a vendor of products and services. You become a friendly connection. And that is the way to persuade.

Prescott “Pete” Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist


Keep Your Focus. Relationship First, Then Sales.

Even though eNewsletters share many of the aspects of its first cousin the direct email campaign, such as method of delivery (email), tracking and instant response, the primary objective of any eNewsletter campaign should be establishing and growing the relationship with the potential buyers. From their on, sales will come about as the prospect gains confidence in you and your product/service.

eNewsletter have to be measured in the short term for their “relationship building” aspect and calculated for the ROI in the long term. Sometimes in the attempt to please our clients and our egos we loose track of this objective (I speak for myself). Keep your overall focus in mind, relationship first then ultimately sales.

Marcos J. Menendez
Loop Consulting Group.

Loop Consulting Group


Looking For the Break-Even Point

There is only one underlying reason for anyone to be engaged in the publishing and distribution of enewsletters. They must help the publisher to achieve its goals.

The primary goal is usually making sales of services or products. But it goes beyond that – the sales must produce results that exceed the cost. Forgive this overly simplistic statement, I only state it because I have seen too many communicators who fail to start their enewsletter program with a return-on-investment objective.

Far too often, the process of getting into an enewsletter program starts with the budget. The “How much will it cost and can we afford it?” question is paramount.

Instead, the first question should be “How much sales volume must we achieve to cover the cost of the enewsletters?”

The cost of the enewsletters is the baseline. The projected sales volume will initially have to be an educated estimate. But if the program costs $10,000 a year, there has be a judgment that it is possible to sell ten of their $1,000 units as a result of leads from the enewsletter program.

This is the break-even point. Each additional unit above that becomes profit.

Now the focus has changed from “How much of our capital resources will it drain?”, to “How much profit is it likely to generate?”

This is proactive marketing. It is also marketing based on accountability. With proper tracking the marketer will know what has happened as a direct result of the program.

Prescott “Pete” Lustig
Senior Marketing Strategist

Loop Consulting Group


The Objective Of This Blog

As with everything I do in life, the first thing I set for myself before I take on anything new is a clear understanding of the objective (seven years of military school taught me this and how to spit shine). This blog's purpose will be to provide eNewsletter Marketers, Manager and Publishers with useful, relevant and sincere advice on to how to improve their Email Newsletters.

Optimistically, I hope to learn many things from this.

This is the start.

Welcome to Loop Consulting Group's eNewsletter Marketing Spot

Loop Consulting Group