Use These 4 Simple Tips For More Newsletter Opt-Ins


how to write a newsletterEmail marketing has been going strong for more than two decades, and it’s not going anywhere despite the critics. But in order for it to be effective, you have to have a solid strategy for increasing newsletter opt-ins. An email marketing company can help your Chicago business develop a comprehensive email marketing strategy, choose a third party email service, and implement a simple plan for increasing opt-ins and building your newsletter lists, fast.

Benefits Of Email Marketing Vs Social Media

The email marketing naysayers are the same ones touting social media marketing as the next best – and only – thing you need. Let’s be clear: both strategies have their pros and cons. Social media excels at engaging users and giving your brand a “face” – when done right, followers feel like they get to know the people behind the brand and you become more credible and trustworthy. Email, on the other hand, provides guaranteed reach, more site visitors, clicks, conversions and ultimately, sales. Most seasoned marketers agree that a blended strategy is ideal, with an emphasis on email marketing.

While building a social media following can be slow going for new brands, building an email list can be fast and painless if you have the right strategies in place.

Tip #1 – Use A Third Party Email Marketing Service

Whether you use WordPress or another platform, it is highly unlikely it will have the built-in and robust features you need for effective email marketing. This is a common pain point among marketers, and the use of a third party email marketing service is the simplest solution

Some are better than others. Some are free. Some are pricey. All will make your life easier with a variety of stock and custom templates, workflow automation and auto-responder options, split test campaigns, and in-depth analytics about the effectiveness of your emails.

Some top picks include:



Constant Contact

Once you have a delivery method in place, it’s time to start increasing opt-in rates:

Tip #2 – Make The Sign Up Process EASY

get users to sign up for a newsletterCollecting a name and email address is usually enough. If your content naturally lends itself to segmentation, a couple extra questions are okay to better personalize your messaging. Be aware that too many questions may annoy visitors and result in them abandoning the sign up process. Alternatively, you might consider putting separate sign up forms (for separate newsletter lists) at different points on your site to capture your target audience where they already are.

Tip #3 – Offer Incentives To Sign Up

Especially if someone is on your site for the first time, they might not be ready to commit to receiving ongoing communication from you. Better to sweeten to deal by offering something valuable upfront in return, such as an eBook, whitepaper, free webinar registration, coupon/discount, etc.

Tip #4 – Careful Placement Of Sign Up Form

This is a hotly debated topic. Some businesses (and consumers) are vehemently against pop-ups of any kind; others swear by them. Many businesses choose a more modest approach by placing the sign up form on the sidebar, as a floating footer bar, or using a less-invasive slide-in or slide-up form at the bottom right corner of the screen.

While any of these will work to some degree, a traditional pop-up displayed at just the right time, can increase signups a hundred times over – and then some. What’s the key? The timing. Pop-ups that are coded with exit-intent technology track mouse movements and display just as the user is making a move to close the window. Combined with a valuable incentive, the easy and timely opt-in process becomes virtually irresistible to your site visitors.

An Email Marketing Company Can Increase Your Newsletter Opt-Ins

Whether your business needs a brand new email marketing strategy, or you’re just looking to streamline your existing strategy, Chicago email marketing company, Design & Promote can help. Give us a call at 630.995.7109 so we can learn more about your business’s email goals and get started on a strategy to build your email lists, fast!

chicago web design agency plugin debateEmail hasn’t changed much in the last twenty years. We might read them on our phones rather than our desktop computers. And they might include images instead of just text. But by and large, not much else has changed.

What has changed is the way people perceive email.

If you want people to read and look forward to your messages, you can’t get away with the tactics you used in 2010. If you’re not adhering to today’s best practices, your email marketing is almost surely rubbing your customers the wrong way.

I’m going to cover the seven deadly sins of email marketing below. In the event you’re guilty of committing any of them, I’ll show you the quickest, simplest path to absolution.


Sin #1: Sending Emails Too Often Or Not Often Enough

Email your audience several times a week and they’ll grow sick of you. Email them once every few months and they’ll forget about you.

Frequency is critical. It’ll play a major role in whether your subscribers feel engaged, pummeled, or neglected.

Absolution: The easiest way to find your audience’s preferred frequency is to ask. If their responses fall across a massive range, let them set their own preferences.


Sin #2: Including Multiple Calls To Action

You want the reader to take some form of action after reading your email. For example, you may want him or her to visit an optimized landing page and download a free ebook. Or you might want him or her will visit a sales page and purchase a product. Or perhaps you want your subscriber to pick up the phone and call your office to schedule a personal demo.

The worst thing you can do is ask your subscriber to do more than one thing in a single email. Given multiple calls to action, most people will choose one or the other, or do nothing at all.

And that’s bad news for your conversion rate.

Absolution: Limit the reader’s choices to one. One email, one call to action.


Sin #3: Too Little Focus On The Reader

It’s not about you. It’s about the customer (or prospect).

A lot of companies send emails that highlight their products and spend no time explaining how those products will benefit their readers. It’s as if their readers’ needs and interests are secondary to the companies’ promotions.

Absolution: Write your emails as if you’re writing to a friend. You wouldn’t ignore your friend’s interests while filibustering him or her with the awesomeness of your products. Nor should you treat your subscribers that way.


Sin #4: “Carnival Barker” Subject Lines

Do you remember visiting carnivals as a kid and walking past carnies standing at the tents’ entrances? They were no strangers to hyperbole. Every mystery positioned behind the curtains was promised to be the “greatest,” most “jaw-dropping” and “eye-opening” thing you’d ever seen.

A lot of emails are sent with subject lines that are like the proclamations of those carnies. They’re all hype with little substance.

There’s no faster way to destroy the trust your subscribers have placed in you than to mislead them with exaggerated rhetoric.

Absolution: Encourage readers to open your emails by promising them a practical benefit. Then, make sure you deliver on your promise.


Sin #5: Lack Of Personality

Boring, lifeless emails. You’ve read them.

Did they make you feel engaged? Probably not.

Were you excited to receive future emails from the sender? No.

Now, think of some of the livelier emails you’ve received. The author’s personality was probably on full display. And every sentence you read made you want to read the one following it.

If you’re not showing your personality in your emails, you’re not connecting with your audience at the level you should be. Forming that connection is essential to gaining their trust.

Absolution: Be willing to put yourself out there by sharing personal details and anecdotes. Be a real person with opinions and a unique voice. Let your site’s web design carry your company’s professional air; allow your personality to shine in your emails.


Sin #6: Not Segmenting Your List

Are you maintaining a single list? If so, you’re sending emails to people who aren’t interested in the material you’re sending them.

How do I know this? Because there’s no way to email your audience with laser-sharp focus unless you segment your list by subscriber interest and intent.

Absolution: Segment your list and engage your subscribers on a deeper, more personalized level.


Sin #7: Executing Without A Plan

Email marketing isn’t just a tool to use whenever you want to connect with your customers. You need to have a strategy.

A strategy gives you focus and consistency. It allows you to hone and execute your ideas according to your goals. Without it, you can’t enjoy the true potential that email marketing offers.

Absolution: Figure out why you want to email your list. What are your goals? Do you want to onboard people to an engagement series focused on a particular product? Do you know how you’ll end the series and where you’ll send readers after they finish it? How will you maximize the customer lifecycle with your emails? Map out a strategy before you hit the send button.

Email marketing isn’t difficult. But it’s important to stick to best practices to leverage its potential. If you’re committing any of the seven sins highlighted above, it’s time to seek absolution.


At Design & Promote, we consider email marketing to be one of the core elements in a comprehensive branding and marketing strategy. Our experts can design a plan that increases the size of your list, engages subscribers, and strengthens your brand. Contact us to find out how  to make email a key part of your overall digital marketing plan.

y for email newsletter designEmail newsletters can be a great way for many businesses to keep in contact with customers and prospects. A great email newsletter design leads to higher click through rates and subscriber retention rates. In this post we are sharing tips on how to use your email newsletter design to reinforce your brand and create a positive experience for your readers.

1. Keep Copy Clear and Concise

Who are you sending this email to and why are you sending your readers an email? Identifying what you’ll be giving them back in return for receiving their email address is very important. The more value you are providing them with through your email newsletter, the more they’ll click through your newsletter and keep subscribed to your list. But, get right to the point with all the updates that the reader needs to know about and leave the rest to your website.

2. Have Multiple Touch Points for Users to Click on your Call to Action

We all scan text. In our distracted environments, we glance at our phones, our laptops, and look all around. Instead of reading your email exactly word-for-word, your readers will scan. So it’s not the best to include your offering at just the bottom of your page. Having multiple touch points in your email newsletter allows readers to access an offering at different points that their eyes hit the newsletter. Plus, there are multiple ways to get your reader to click back to your website. Also be mindful of your mobile readers! Keep links separated enough to avoid readers tapping on the wrong links.

3. Aim for a Consistent Design

Contrary to some promotional practices, which suggest surprising people to keep them guessing, including a level of formality in your email newsletters is actually a good thing. Such things to include in an email newsletter template: company logo, general message layout and visual layout. Beyond the design layout, which can be achieved through creating an awesome email template, you might even consider different content sections for displaying new videos or blog posts.

4. Designing The Look And Feel of Your Email Newsletter

After you have a basic layout, now you can start thinking about color palettes, bullet styles, text colors and all the elements that create the “right look” for your email. Think about encouraging people to click on your links with clickable buttons. Larger buttons help the visual layout on a mobile phone for users to tap and takes up more visual space that just a normal hyperlink. Contrast is super important here as well. The creative look and feel of your email newsletter should create a positive experience for the user and ultimately align with a goal. Designing with a goal in mind might include using custom URLs on buttons or images and placing elements in optimal spots. What works for one business might not work for another.

5. Great Visuals for Designing Your Email Newsletter Design

Whether you have a designer coding a custom email newsletter template, or a MailChimp template, using great visuals are super important. If you’re not that great at making visuals, be sure to check out sites like Canva or PicMonkey as free visual graphic editors. These are great tools that make it easy to turn pictures into awesome visuals without a high learning curve. Also, nobody wants to be labeled as a “spammer” by their readers. While there is certainly more to addressing email spam. Having a well designed email may discourage people from marking the email as spam.

6. Test Your Email On Multiple Devices

If you really want to focus on reaching mobile users, testing your email on multiple devices is going to help you design the best. Responsive design for emails depends on two things: the device that is being used and the application that is running in order to read the device.
According to Litmus, responsive emails are supported by iOS Mail app, Android 4.X Email/OEM app, Windows Phone 7.5 and BlackBerry 0S7 + Z10.
Responsive emails are not supported by: iPhone Gmail app, iPhone Mailbox app, iPhone Yahoo! Mail app, Android Gmail app, Android Yahoo! Mail app, BlackBerry 0S5, Windows Mobile 6.1, Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8. To understand which format you need to focus on, consider looking at an email client usage report. Some newsletter design programs such as MailChimp will show you how your newsletter looks on your client’s browsers and devices. In MailChimp you can run an inbox inspection and check the percentage of users across certain email programs. MailChimp will also provide screenshots of how your campaigns looks in some of the more popular email programs. If using MailChimp, click on “view email client usage” and you’ll get a break down of the percentages of your user’s email clients. Were they using a mobile device? What percentage of them still use Internet Explore? MailChimp can provide that information.

For more help with your email newsletter design, feel free to reach out to us! We’d love to help.

email marketing best practicesToday more and more businesses are using newsletter marketing to keep in touch with their clients. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, “National Client Email Report (2013) 67% of marketers agree that e-newsletters are the top email messages that help them achieve their business goals, up from 45% two years ago. Newsletter marketing is popular because it allows you to keep in touch with customers that are interested in your company, but in a less invasive way.  Typically, customers “opt-in” to receive a newsletter.  The customer is therefore most likely to open it and appreciate the content inside—as long as it is well presented and valuable to the subscriber.

Newsletter Marketing: Tips for Creating A Great Newsletter

After you’ve decided that your company needs a newsletter, the first thing we recommend is to find a newsletter marketing company that can supply you with expert content and design assistance. Look for signs that your chosen firm is indeed an expert:

1) Customized Newsletter Templates.

Most business newsletters, especially those done by the smallest companies, are template newsletters.  Businesses “fill in the blanks” by loading content into the open spaces and mailing it to their customers.  However, the same newsletter template may also be in use by hundreds of other companies. If you use the same template, you miss the opportunity to employ your brand to stand out from the crowd.  A good newsletter marketing company is able to create a customized template for your newsletter, featuring your corporate colors and logo. It should correspond with your brand and look like your website and promotional materials. Your customers should be able to identify your newsletter by its design alone.

2) Content Assistance.

Producing content regularly for a newsletter can be a daunting challenge. While some companies try to do it themselves, it is far easier and usually more cost efficient to outsource the content creation. A good newsletter marketing provider has access to content professionals who can perform the interviews, gather the research and produce the articles that will make your newsletter a stunning value to your readers. They can also provide important newsletter marketing tips born of experience to continuously improve the publication.

3) Email Marketing Companies.

Look for email marketing companies that can help you identify the most appropriate email marketing services for your newsletter. Depending on the client’s needs, at Design and Promote we usually recommend these services: Constant Contact, Mail Chimp and IContact because of their ease of use and reporting features. Which brings us to our final point…

4) Tracking and Reporting.

After you press “publish”, your firm should be able to help you track the progress of your newsletter and analyze the results. If your numbers for “Opens” and “Click-throughs” are not hitting projections, a good email marketing companies will have ideas on how to improve the newsletter’s performance. They should also be able to assist in email list management.

Best Email Marketing Practices to Get More Subscribers

To get more subscribers, you must develop a quality product.  Here are some ways to do it:

1) Start with a goal and establish your standards. 

There are many qualities that make a great newsletter, beginning with a focused, definitive goal for the publication.  What is your number one objective?  Educate the customer? Drive website traffic? Position yourself as a leader in the industry? Offer coupons and promotions? Introduce new products? Keep customers updated on the industry?  Even though you may answer “yes” to all of the above, if you set one goal above all others, it will help drive the content forward initially and build your audience by fulfilling their expectations. Write an editorial mission for your newsletter and include what percent of the newsletter will be informative (news about your business, industry news and trends, products, staff changes, etc.) and how much will be educational.  The most effective newsletters are those that offer true content VALUE to the recipient.  An 85% educational – 15% promotional mix is usually effective.  Also, give your newsletter a name. This gives the newsletter prominence and helps build the relationship with the mailing list.

2) Stay true to your mission.

If you’ve decided the mission of your newsletter is to educate your customer about industry trends, don’t do an about face in the second issue and fill the page with ads about your products.  Likewise, if your newsletter is for promotion and new ideas to use your product, don’t fill the next issue with statistics and long- winded copy about industry trends.

3) To get more subscribes, give them what they want.

Get into the heads of the people on your list.  What do they want to know about your company? If you could get all your customers in a room for five minutes, how would you answer their questions?  This is the content you should put in your newsletter. Become their trusted source on what is happening in the industry and how it affects their business.  Give them valuable content that will leave them looking forward to the next issue. Become a trusted source and they will trust you with their business.

4) Lead with a great subject line.

Without a good subject line, the recipient will not open your newsletter. Many companies ask…what’s a better subject line? Something catchy or something straightforward?  For example, let’s suppose the lead story in “The Latest Coat” newsletter from Wexford Stain Co.  gives tips on how to stain a deck. What would be the best subject line to entice the customer to open and read the email?  Here’s some options:

  1. This Month’s Latest Coat from Wexford Stain Co. Winter Issue
  2. Jump Ahead Into Spring Home Improvement.  Latest Coat from Wexford Stain’s Winter Issue
  3. When’s It Time to Give Your Deck the Brush? Latest Coat from Wexford Stain’s Winter Issue

All three are written to get the reader to open the email, but with different approaches. Obviously the first is straightforward. The second is meant to motivate them by evoking an emotion of urgency with the change of season. The third is written to mildly amuse, and tease them into opening the file. Which one is the best? According to the websites of some email marketing companies, the best subject line “describes what’s in the email.” However, we believe the best subject line is the one in a style that appeals most to your particular customer.  To find out, we often help clients test different subject lines to help them create more successful ones in the future. The results can be surprising!

5) Be Personal.

Make the newsletter easy for the reader to read. Speak to them in language they understand. Don’t use jargon.

6) Design the Page Well. 

Your newsletter should be inviting, not daunting.  Use images, bullet points and other devices to break up large portions of text so that it is easy to read. Link to your website for longer articles and postings.

7) Get More Subscribers Through Social Media.

If you want more subscribers, spread the word that you have a newsletter. Ask readers to tell others about your newsletter. Link an article or two to your social media sites. Be sure to offer an opt-in form to receive the newsletter on your website for people visiting.  If you can, post issues of your newsletter on your website so they can be accessed by site visitors. Keep your list pure and populated.

Complying with CAN-SPAM Laws

Any company with an email newsletter needs to comply with CAN-SPAM laws. The CAN-SPAM law of 2003 was signed to do just what the name implies: to “can spam”. The full actual name of the law is the “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing”. According to the full description of the CAN-SPAM law , fines can be up to $16,000 per each piece of email!  So before you send out that enewsletter, ask yourself these questions. If your answers are all “yes”, you are most likely CAN-SPAM compliant.

  • Does the subject line truthfully express what is in the email?
  • Have you accurately identified the sender of the email in the header information?
  • Have you accurately identified the “reply to” address within the email?
  • Have you included a physical address in the email?
  • Do you offer a clear and obvious way to opt-out in your newsletter, free of any additional effort required by the recipient?
  • Do you “unsubscribe” people within 10 days?
  • Are you sure that your newsletter marketing company is following the CAN-SPAM regulations?

Since you are legally liable whether or not your company is doing the actual mailing, it is important to find a company that is well versed in the CAN-SPAM laws. Disclaimer: While we like to share information on email marketing best practices, the advice on this website is not a substitute for legal advice. It always important to consult with your own legal counsel. If you are interested in newsletter marketing for your company, Design and Promote has years of experience doing it right with exciting design, engaging content and efficient mailing and reporting. Contact us today.

Constant Contact Business Partner Program

Constant Contact Business Partner Program

We recently added Constant Contact’s Business Partner Program to our list of effective and affordable tools to help clients build strong, lasting customer relationships. This program enables our clients to use effective E-mail Marketing and online survey products.

We are also offering a value added service to help businesses that want to send out monthly newsletters but need a little help getting started. We will work with you to design a newsletter template that matches your website or brand and send out your first marketing piece while coaching you along the way, all for the low price of $500.

“E-mail marketing and online surveys are proven tools that help small businesses connect with their customers and build successful customer relationships,” said Len Bruskiewitz, senior director, Partner Programs, Constant Contact.

As a Constant Contact Business Partner, we are able to provide our clients e-mail marketing and online survey capabilities. With SpeakUp! E-mail Marketing, Constant Contact’s e-mail marketing product, our clients can create professional-looking e-mails, manage contact e-mail lists, measure e-mail campaign results from clicks to open rates, and review who joins e-mail lists.

With ListenUp! Survey, Constant Contact’s online survey product, our clients have a tool to gain insight that will help them meet customer needs, generate new ideas, and grow their businesses or organizations. ListenUp! Survey also helps our clients analyze responses quickly; create targeted e-mail lists based on survey responses, take action, and follow-up with relevant e-mail communications.

“Our customers are always looking for effective ways to grow their businesses,” Stacy Jones, president of Design & Promote, said in a news release. “Constant Contact’s customer communication tools give our clients a valuable addition to our core services of web design and search engine optimization. Constant Contact’s ease-of-use and affordability made the partner program a great solution to meet our clients’ email marketing needs.”

You can get more information, view a live demo or sign up for a 60 day trial at our Constant Contact business partner portal below.
Design & Promote Newsletter Marketing

the-power-of-newsletter-marketingNewsletters are growing increasingly popular as a marketing tool for any business these days. A marketing newsletter is a document that notifies, reminds, advises, communicates and advertises about a business to its target audience and customer base. If used effectively, a newsletter can create immense interest and awareness about an organization and its business activities. That is why it is quite judicious to make effective use of a newsletter to promote a business.

In comparison to other PR tools like targeted sales calls or television advertisements, newsletter are quite cost effective. Since Marketing newsletters don’t require any heavy duty investment, unlike affiliate marketing or television advertisements, even a small-scale business owner can try out his or her hand at writing effectual marketing newsletters. You can simply send these new letters to your existing and prospective client base through e-mails in order to delineate the key details about your products and business. These marketing newsletters would thus help you to increase public visibility and enhance the customer base for your business, just as product advertisement would do.

However, if you want to use a newsletter to promote your business or product, you must keep in mind certain key things.  When you send newsletters to your customer, you should remember that newsletters are intrinsically different from advertisements. Advertisements can contain fabricated words or too much self appreciation. However, newsletters should always have a factual basis. Even if the aim of a newsletter is to entice the customer about your products or services it should always be grounded in reality and be quite informational. Thus, the content of a good marketing newsletter, apart from being attractive for the target audience, should always be factual and impartial, otherwise it would lose its credibility towards the customers.

A perfectly written newsletter should always aspire to lure more and more people in to glean more information about the organization. If you send regular newsletters to your existing customer base depicting the details about your latest products and services this would help familiarize them with your business activities. This can, in turn, help to build an allegiance or brand loyalty towards your business. That is why an ideal marketing newsletter should always harp on your USP or unique selling point or your business. In this phase of global economic depression when everyone is clamoring after low hanging fruit, a well written newsletter can help you to achieve that golden target, and without much of an investment.

There are many online newsletter program out there from iContact, Aweber, Subscribermail and many more.  The leader we feel after using all of the above and more is Constant Contact.

They are not the cheapest but the way their templates are set up is very nice, can be modified easily and can get you out of the gate with a nice looking personalized looking newsletter in the quickest time we feel.

Design & Promote is a business partner with Constant Contact and have developed dozens of newsletters and currently manage clients with email lists larger than 25,000.

Sign up for a free 60 day trial with Constant Contact and see how you like it, just click here.

If you would like some help in getting your first newsletter program off the ground we can design a great template that reflets your brand, import your initial list of names and train you on all aspects of newsletter marketing, Prices start at $500. Contact Us for more details

Category Archives: Newsletter Marketing

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Use These 4 Simple Tips For More Newsletter Opt-Ins

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