E-newsletter advertising is a popular and effective tactic for connecting with your target audience. Forty-four percent of technical professionals use e-newsletters as an information source for work-related purposes, and they subscribe to an average of 5.8 digital publications (compared to an average of only 1.8 printed publications).
But as with any other marketing tactic, you can do it right or you can do it wrong. You can pay attention to the details or you can be lazy and slap something together. As a marketer, you know which path you need to follow, because a strong ad will grab your audience’s attention and motivate them to take action.
Here are the eight components of the perfect e-newsletter ad:
It all starts here. The headline draws your audience in by promising something special: a benefit, an innovation, a solution to a problem. Example: “New Solar Cells Overcome Efficiency Barrier.” Or your headline could offer valuable information: “White Paper Explains New Thermal Control Process.” The headline is often the most challenging component of the ad to write because you only have a few words to work with and so every word is important. Remember, however, that the main purpose of the headline is to interest your audience to read more. You may have to write many versions before you get the headline right.
The old link standards Click here or Learn more are so overused as to be practically invisible to readers. There’s nothing interesting about them, nothing that reinforces the key concepts of your ad. Instead, to get your message to resonate and catch the eye of your audience, try linking relevant words in your ad copy: acoustic simulation software or new loudspeaker technologies, for example. Also, if you’re using an image in your ad (which you should), add a link to the image as well.
Speaking of images…Clichés become clichés because they represent universal truths: a picture is worth a thousand words. Use an image in your ad and use it wisely. Along with your headline, an image can draw your audience into your ad. If you’re promoting a product, show the product. If you’re offering a white paper, show an image of its cover (if visually appealing) or an image related to the topic. Cute or funny images may work to attract a reader’s attention but make sure it’s working in concert with your headline and copy and doesn’t cheapen your brand. The image should appear crisp and clear at the size it will be used in the ad. A pixelated image or one that’s too small to identify what it is makes your ad look unprofessional and will lessen its effectiveness. Unless you are promoting a major, well-known brand in your industry, don’t use your logo as an image. Readers will skip past unfamiliar logos.
4. Landing page
Where do the links in the ad take the prospects? They should go to a landing page that’s designed specifically to play off the ad. The simpler and more direct you make the landing page, and the more it’s focused on what you want your prospect to do (download a paper, register for webinar, watch the video, etc.), the higher your chances of conversion. It’s important to create cohesion between the ad and the landing page so that prospects know they’ve come to the right place. You can do this by sharing imagery, colors, or copy elements between the ad and the landing page.
Keep it short. Keep it focused. Keep it relevant. These three commands apply to both the ad copy and your landing page copy. Remember that the purpose of the headline copy is to get prospects to pause and read your ad. The purpose of the ad copy is to get them to click on your link. The purpose of the landing page copy is to get them to convert. Write copy that serves these purposes—nothing more, nothing less. Also, make the copy easy to scan, especially on your landing page where you have more room. Use short sentences and paragraphs, bullet points or numbered lists, and subheads to divide blocks of copy.
6. Type of newsletter
Choose the right type of newsletter to achieve your goals. The more targeted the newsletter is to your audience, the better. For example, if you’re trying to break into a new market, go for an industry-specific newsletter. If you’re announcing a new product, look for a newsletter that focuses on that type of product line. If you’re building brand awareness, advertise in a more general or editorial-focused newsletter that will reach the technical professional you are targeting. Newsletters that concentrate on editorial coverage such as articles and industry news are a good place to advertise educational content like white papers or webinars. Your audience craves this type of information.
7. Audience need
Your newsletter ad will be more effective if it’s focused on an audience need. This means you must first identify that need and then create an ad that plays to it. The need could be products, services, or information. A solution to a problem. A trend that’s important to them. Always review the demographic and readership data of a newsletter to make sure you will be reaching the audience you want to target and that your message will connect to a need or challenge they face.
One of the benefits of e-newsletter advertising is that it offers metrics to help you measure performance. The newsletter publisher should be able to give you access to key metrics including newsletter delivery rate, how many people viewed your ad, and how many clicked on the links. If the ad links to a landing page on your own website, you’ll be responsible for tracking conversions.
Make sure you’re tagging your links with the appropriate campaign info. This can include the name of the newsletter, campaign and month the ad ran. Google Analytics, for example, will attribute website traffic to the last referrer. For e-newsletters, unless the referring link in the e-mail is tagged, the recipient’s email service provider will show up as the referrer and not the e-newsletter publisher. As a result, without link tracking, the advertiser could have a difficult time determining the traffic linking from the ad.
There you have it. Eight components to the perfect e-newsletter ad. For more insights, download Best Practices for More Effective E-Newsletter Advertising.
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How do you assemble the perfect e-newsletter advertisement? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.