How to Leverage Update Emails to Keep Your List Engaged

If you’ve read our guides, you might know that when the emails that you send have a “reason” behind them, this improves everything about your email marketing. And update emails are one of the best ways to leverage this principle. 

Keeping your subscribers in the loop is the perfect excuse to send an email, and it is very easy to implement. And if you want to be sure you’re doing it correctly, just follow the best practices that I’m about to share with you in this guide.

What kind of update emails can you send?

Here’s the best part about product emails: the update can be about almost anything that you can think of. Just to give you some examples, you can send update emails about:

– New features in your product

– Launching a new product or service

– Technical updates to your service or product

– Announcements regarding changes in your support

– Pricing changes and updates

– New pricing tiers, options or add-ons

Now, since some people might get the wrong impression by looking at the examples here, let me make one thing clear. You can utilize update emails in literally any business or business model that you can think of.

Some people assume that update emails are only for when you run a SaaS type business and you’re informing people about software updates. 

The truth is that whatever your product or service, it has “features”. And the odds are that you are constantly refining or updating those features in one way or another. Alternatively, you might be implementing changes in how you do business, the way you render the service, or anything else. All of these things can be the reason to send an update email.

The key takeaway point here is that there is always a way to make update emails work for your business, even if it is a bit more unique or doesn’t fit the most common examples you will see online. If people are subscribed to your list, they do expect brand and service updates at some level.

Understand and get to know your audience

There is a reason I’ve put this here as the first point. If we are talking about best practices, it is crucial to get this one right. In order to send updates that make sense, it helps that you first understand your list, and the intended audience.

This is a part of understanding personalization and engagement overall, and we’ve put up some great guides on the topic. However, let me give you a quick rundown.

Generally, you will want to spend some time figuring out what kind of data you want to collect on your subscribers, and what that data means. For example, are you going to track the kinds of emails they open and click on? Will you go a step further and track what kind of actions they take on your site?

Next, you will want to decide what those actions mean, and utilize this knowledge in order to build customer personas. That is to say, your subscriber list can generally be split into “types” of subscribers, which in marketing we refer to as personas. And in practical terms, the way you leverage this is to build segments matching those personas. 

You can then leverage segments in order to send different emails to different types of subscribers. You can even determine what kind of updates you send to which segments. But more on that in the next point. If you want to learn more about personalization, consider checking out Your Guide To Personalized Email for Higher Conversions.

How many updates can you send, and how often?

One of the first things you might wonder about is whether you can send too many update emails. Should you send an email to your entire subscriber list any time anything happens in your business? Or is it something you only do when major things happen?

Well, the good news is that you can do both, thanks to the personalization and segmentation features that we discussed above. As it turns out, you can define and delineate high-engagement segments, moderately engaged subscribers, and then the low-engagement crowd. Then, you can treat these segments differently.

A lot of this will depend on your specific business model, but let’s take a SaaS business as an example. You could send singular updates to the highly-engaged crowds any time there is a feature update. With the moderate crowd you might batch updates into a single email, once a month, or maybe once every two months. And then with the low-engaged crowd you might send a bigger update email in longer intervals of time, say once every 6 months.

Now, I am only scratching the surface here, as the details will depend on your specific business model. I wish I could get more specific, but this is best suited to a one-on-one conversation. Note that some of our plans include strategy sessions, where we can talk about your specific business and how it can best leverage email marketing. If you want to get a sense for this experience, consider booking a free demo, while I still have time for those.

Be consistent, your reputation depends on it

One of the worst mistakes that we see with email marketers is a lack of consistency. Now, I want to briefly touch on how this affects you in general, before we discuss it in the context of update emails.

You see, a lack of consistency in your email marketing is almost a sure fire way to sabotage all of your email marketing efforts. It will result in decreased deliverability, trust and perhaps even annoy all of your subscribers.

Not to get too high-level here, but this is because people are creatures of habit. Anything that is too unpredictable and sporadic will trigger a sense of discomfort in most people. This is an important key principle in marketing and psychology in general.

Now, when it comes to update emails in particular, you want to get your subscribers accustomed to what they can expect in terms of update emails. Let’s say that you start off with a pattern where you inform them about every feature update or pricing change. 

And then because you don’t feel like doing email marketing the next quarter, you go silent for months, despite having many pricing changes and major launches. This is a pattern that guarantees your deliverability and user trust is wrecked.

The solution is simple

When it comes to producing and scheduling content in marketing, calendars are always a good idea. And this is something that you should implement in your email marketing in general. However, I want to also mention it in the context of update emails, because being consistent can be especially important in terms of setting expectations.

Based on the examples we talked about previously, it might make sense for you send a “monthly updates” newsletter to the “warm leads” segment. And then a quarterly update email to your “colder leads” segment.

It is always a good idea to actually put this in your calendar, and actually have a recurring task (or event) that says “quarterly update for cold leads” and so forth. But this is usually not enough. You will generally also want to schedule the work that you will do on these update emails, otherwise you might end up crafting the emails at the last minute. 

So you might want to put the brainstorming or writing sessions maybe a week before the emails need to go out. However, this will of course depend on your specific business. Just make sure to plan for things in order to achieve the required consistency.

Combine with other channels when it makes sense

Nowadays you will see marketers talking about “cross-channel marketing” quite a lot, and if it looks like a bit of hype, you’re right. Whilst it pays to be present on multiple channels, obsessing about building “omni-channel marketing campaigns” and such is generally a bad idea.

This is because a small business has limited resources, and generally you want to pick 1 or 2 things to focus on. Considering the fact that email marketing provides the highest return on investment, it makes sense to focus on doing your campaigns through email. And then perhaps utilize the other types of marketing as ways to funnel new leads into your email list.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t, and that you shouldn’t post updates on other channels. This is the one case where “omni channel” or “cross-channel” makes sense even for small and medium sized businesses. 

In fact, for small and medium sized businesses I would say that things like social media and other channels are best used for two things. First, you want to use them to post content that leads people to signing up for your email list. Secondly, you can use them to publish business updates that are tied to your update emails.

What I mean by this is that sometimes your update will require giving the subscriber more information, so it might make sense to record a video that you reference in your emails.

Additionally, when I talk about tying things together, I also mean that whenever you post update-type content on these channels, you want to advertise your email newsletter. For example, if you post an update video, inside of it you will want to remind people to sign up for your email list.

Work on your subject lines

Subject lines are important in email marketing in general, and update emails are a good place to practice crafting more intriguing subject lines. This is because update emails can often easily lend themselves to intrigue or excitement, and hence it can be easy to come up with such subject lines. 

While subject lines are a topic of their own, let me give you the quick gist here. When it comes to subject lines you want to do one or more of the following:

– Make it fun, without going overboard. Avoid it looking like hype or spam

– Make it clear what’s in it for the subscriber, lead with the value proposition

– Be direct and spell out the the topic of the email

– Trigger a sense of curiosity, urgency or wonder

– Utilize personalization in the subject line

To get you going, here are some example subject lines. Feel free to use them as inspiration.

– Did you hear the news? We just launched the {product, pricing tier, feature}

– We’ve been busy since you last gave us a chance {first name}

– [NEW] {Benefits of new feature or product}

– The new way to {solve some problem, or achieve some goal}

– The New & Improved {feature or product} is here!

– It’s official, the {new features} have launched

– {First Name}, try these new features today

– Say hello to the new {Product or Feature}

– {Product or feature} just got even better!

– A whole new {feature or product} experience

– What’s new at {brand or company}

– {Product or brand} winter updates

– Your latest {product} updates inside

Get A Strategic Partner On Your Side

There’s no need to go at this alone. While we do put out a lot of free content to help you, nothing beats a one-on-one conversation. In these articles we try to help clarify things as best as possible. However, every business is different, so we have to generalize.

If you want to understand better how to implement email marketing in your specific business, let’s have a chat. At the moment I am still able to do some free demos, so be sure to book one while I can still do these.

I would love to hear about your specific needs, challenges and any confusion you might have about email marketing strategies. And then, help you see how you can use Emercury to improve your bottom-line.

Alternatively, or in addition to booking a free demo, you can also grab a username for our forever-free-plan while we still have it. It’s probably the most generous email marketing automation plan on the planet. We include almost every feature in this plan, with very few restrictions.

Remember, you get to keep this plan for life, for free… Provided that you grab a username while registrations are still open. Be warned, we might decide to pull this way-too-generous offering at any point. So click that link to check if we still allow registrations.


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