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You’ve Got (e)Mail!

September 27, 2010

Email - the new snail mail?Email Blasts & E-Newsletters

Social Networking and Online marketing is based on word of mouth. Your job is make it ridiculously easy for your audience to find you, then to create wonderfully ‘sticky’ content for them when they do, and then make it almost impossible for them not to spread the word.  Email Newsletters (or email blasts as they are sometimes referred to) can be a great way to  keep those already within your community informed, as well as act virally and help you connect with new people. Let’s take a look at what an e-newsletter is, and what makes them successful.

WTF?

WTF?

Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé…In 2009, Boston College stopped distributing e-mail addresses to incoming freshmen.

National Canned Spam Act, MarketingSherpa

The average open (for marketing emails) rate for the year (2009) across all sectors was 11.8%.

MailerMailer (http://www.mailermailer.com/resources/metrics/open-rates.rwp)

WTF?

As you can see, the stats aren’t positive for the future of email marketing campaigns, in fact for emailing in general.  As technology advances, so does the pace of our lives, and email is starting to be considered the new snail mail by some.

Don’t dismiss it altogether just yet. There will still be a decent percentage of your audience who prefers to receive a weekly/monthly email update from you, as opposed to following your blogs in a reader, or your Twitter or Facebook updates.

Email blasting is the process of sending an email newsletter or message to a mass number of people.  These emails are most commonly HTML coded so that the images, video or audio content is embedded within the email, not as attachments as these will often get caught by spam filters.

Do I need it?

E-newsletters can be a great way to keep you audience up to date, and many casting directors and agents appreciate a monthly update in this format. The system of creating and managing email lists can be handled easily and quickly via a third party company. There are many to choose from, so in next week’s blog I’ll summarize some of the most popular.

The Low Down:

Frequency: The frequency of your mailings should be dependent on the amount of news you have to announce.  No one likes to hear that same story over and over again, and frankly recycling the same content repeatedly sends the opposite message to the one you want to be sending: ‘there’s nothing going on in my career’. For most people, an action-packed newsletter once a month is perfect.

Content: Your content should be a combination of your blogs (or an edited summary of them if they’re too long), your latest success’ (castings, great reviews in the media, etc) you’re upcoming shows, and highlighting any new updates or additions to your social networking platforms. Keep your e-newsletters short but with a high density of remarkable content. Cut out all self-indulging, filler fluff as your audience wants a quick easily digestible update – not a moment-by-moment recounting of your past week.

The title of your e-newsletter should include your (stage) name (so people recognize you’re not spam), and a really irresistible call to attention (so they open it!).

Add photos (recent events, on set or theater stills, new headshots, etc), and music or video where relevant too.  Always include easily identifiable links to your website, blog and other social network profiles, use the standard icons whenever possible.

Subscribers/Contact list: Organize your contact list so you can better provide each group really wants to see.  You should have separate groups for your casting directors, directors and agents, and for your fans and fellow actors. Your general monthly updates should be written for, and be sent to everyone on your list.  Don’t forget birthdays!  Add birth-date as a field in your sign-up process, so you can send personalized congratulations.

Make it easy for people to subscribe to your emails. The ‘subscribe to this newsletter’ link should be prominent in your site/blog design as well as the newsletter design, as emails are often forwarded to peeps not on your list.

No Spam is Good Spam: Unsolicited emailing is a no-no. The same rules of general online etiquette apply to e-newsletters; don’t thrust your email into the inboxes of those who have not asked for it.  No matter how pretty your email design, or how professional and entertaining your writing or video is, if the receiver didn’t specifically request to subscribe to it – it’s spam.

You should also include at the end of your email a very easy, preferably one-click, unsubscribe button, or better yet a ‘reply to’ email address.  Many recipients are fearful of using the standard unsubscribe function as it has sometimes been used by spammers to verify address’.

To avoid the spam police as much as possible make sure your emails adhere to the following:

  1. Don’t use excessive punctuation???!!!!!
  2. Avoid spammy words such as credit card, sex, free or guarantee
  3. Resist using all capital letters, not only is it like shouting, spam filters are alert to it ‘FREE VIAGRA – CLICK HERE!!!’
  4. Include a ‘From’ address and never send with a blank subject line.


Thanks for reading, next week I’ll give you a short-list of the most popular ENewsletter hosting sites, so you can choose the best fit for your needs and get started. In the meantime, if you’re super proud of your newsletter format and have had success with it, please feel free to post links and tell us your top tips in the comments section below.

Until then – keep sharing!

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Image by Biscarotte via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

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