Even your easily bored cat would love to read your email newsletter with the tips contained here 😉
Evaluate: Do You Even Need An Email Newsletter?
Do some research, if in your specific line of business:
- Are there successful email newsletters that people like to subscribe to?
- What’s in them?
- Do you have the resources available to create a successful newsletter?
Evaluate your business’ goals:
- Are you trying to increase the number of leads?
- Better qualify leads before salespeople speak to them?
- Close more deals?
- Retain more customers?
NOTE: If in your line of business your customers are not really interested in email newsletters OR if your goals don’t line up with what a emailed newsletter could accomplish
Your time might be better spent creating something else like great, value add, Blog post content.
Hence, gather some relevant statistics, then create a plan-of-action either for a successful newsletter OR some other customer outreach activity. This approach always delivers the best results.
Figure Out What Kind Of Online Newsletter You Want To Send.
The biggest problem with business newsletters, especially if they are driven / crafted by the business owner who often has no knowledge of Digital Marketing, is that there contents are cluttered and unfocused. The newsletter is trying to deliver way too much info to its recipient.
Product news is adjacent to PR stories
Blog post excerpts not connect to either the product new or the PR stories is thrown in
Random fortnightly events are mentioned in passing
It’s a kind of mess.
Emails always need a common, clearly understood thread in their content, to be meaningful and add value to the customers they are intended for. The very best approach is to keep Email content focused on a single very specific topic.
Newsletter content must be 90% educational & 10% salesy
Email newsletter subscribers just don’t want to hear about products and services 100% of the time, in each newsletter that arrives.
There’s only so much products and services information they will accept before they you tune out.
In email newsletters, get rid of the self-promotion (most of the time) and focus on sending your subscribers educational, relevant, timely information that helps them resolve the myriad problems they have in their day to day lives.
Find tons of creative and engaging ways to add measurable value to your email newsletter recipients (i.e. paying customers) in each and every newsletter. You really do not want your newsletters automatically thrashed or worse encourage the customer to hit Unsubscribe.
Either ways you’ve permanently lost an excellent way to connect with and drive your customers. This is always bad for any business.
Unless you actually have an exciting, big piece of news about your product, service, or company, definitely leave out all blatantly salesy parts.
Set Customer Expectations On Your Subscribe Page
Once you’ve figured out your newsletter’s focus and content balance, make very sure this is communicated to your potential / customer clearly and unambiguously on the subscribe / landing page of your website.
Get brutally specific. Tell potential subscribers exactly what will be in your newsletter, how often they should expect to hear from you AND how your newsletter will add value to them.
Here is a great approach by SmartBrief. On their subscribe / landing page, they clearly say what will be in their newsletter and give potential subscribers a preview link. Check it out:
Subscribers find this really awesome. They can now subscribe with both eyes open, knowing exactly what they will receive, and how often they’ll be receiving it.
As the Digital Marketing specialist, giving such detailed information up front helps diminish your Unsubscribe rate and helps prevent your Emails being flagged as Spam as well.
Get Creative With Email Subject Lines
Even if subscribers sign up for your emails, there’s no guarantee that they will open your emails once they get them in their inbox. You’ve got to be clear that subscribers quickly scan your Email Subject line in their inbox first.
If the subject line captures their attention and intrigues them only them will they click on the email and open it to read.
A great approach is to ensure you use a different, creative, engaging, attention grabbing subject line for each newsletter sent out. One company which does this really well is Thrillist. Here’s a collection of email newsletter subject lines I’ve received recently.
Truthfully, I opened every single one of these emails because of their engaging subject lines. Even though I know that these emails are coming in my inbox every morning, the subject lines is what entices me to click open the email.
Pick One Primary Call-To-Action
Occasionally, (I do not recommend doing this too often though) a newsletter is created having multiple Calls To Action. Perhaps the newsletter is offering multiple Wine Tasting sessions at different venues and you need to figure out who and how many are going exactly where.
What’s needed in this case is to try and have one-main-thing-that-you’d-like-your-subscribers-to-do and prominently focus on this as the newsletters Call To Action.
The rest of the CTAs should be in-case-you-have-the-time type options.
Whether the secondary CTAs are simply to click through to read the latest Blog post or to forward the newsletter to a friend, ensure that its super simple for subscribers to know what you want them to be doing.
Keep Newsletter Design And Copy Minimal
A newsletter can easily feel cluttered because of the copy contained.
The trick email marketers use to make a newsletter look uncluttered involves two things:
1. Concise copy
2. Enough white space in the newsletter design
Well subscribers do not want to spend the whole day reading your newsletter. They do have a life you know even if you’d like to believe otherwise.
Additionally, you really want them to be elsewhere, on your website landing page or a specific Blog post. Concise copy gives subscribers a taste of what will add value to them. Just enough that they are driven to click and learn more
This is key in email newsletters because it helps visually alleviate any cluttered feel. On mobiles and tablets, white space makes it much easier for readers to click the right link.
Make Sure All Newsletter Images Have Alt Text
Visual content (i.e. images) play an incredibly important role in holding the reader’s attention after they open a newsletter. Humans have always been visually driven.
Unfortunately email is a little bit trickier.
Quite often people do not have images enabled in their email client. Hence you’ve got to make sure each image added to your newsletter has one vital component: alt text.
Alt text is really the alternative text that appears in the email content area where the image should be when such images are not loaded and displayed.
This is really really important if all the Call To Actions in the newsletter are images.
The reader can then use the CTA images alt test to click on, even if no the image is displayed because they have disabled the display in images in their email client. Otherwise it’s as though your newsletter has no Call To Actions at all.
Make It Easy For People To Unsubscribe
While this sounds strange, it’s really important you want to maintain an active, engaged subscriber base.
Don’t use weird language like “Alter your communication with us.”
Don’t hide an unsubscribe button behind an image without alt text.
Besides keeping your list healthy, having a clear unsubscribe process helps ensure your email isn’t marked SPAM before it hits your customers inbox.
Test, Test, Test
Never overlook the fact that split or A/B testing the newsletters is very important. Make subtle or in your face changes to the emails subject, structure, copy, images and more.
Then create various goals in your Google analytics account.
Check which newsletter gives you the best results as defined when you started off Email campaign.
Once you’ve identified which newsletter based subject, structure, copy, images and more deliver the very best results, stick with that one.
Experiment with short, funny subject lines
All email subject lines should be short ones. Short subject lines seem to get more newsletters opened and engaged with.
Try infusing a little humor into the subject line and copy?
Anything that can put a smile on your recipients’ faces has the awesome potential to improve your mail open and click through rates. Humor really works.
As an experiment send out Emails with no images in them at all. Remove all images but use seriously great content copy.
Below is a superb example of a plain text email with terrific copy from Maple Jeans.
I especially love the P.S. bits toward the end. They increase the spacing between the different CTAs, making it even easier to click on mobile. They give the whole email a much less promotional feel.
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