Email seems like a left-over and forgotten communication tool in the era of Instagram and Facebook. But, email marketing is probably the best way to reach out to your customers. In fact, more than 80% of small and medium-sized retailers in the US believe it drives the best customer acquisition and retention. It also commands an excellent return on investment with marketers making $40 for every $1 they spend on the email marketing.
Although it’s highly effective, most marketers fail to realize the full potential of email marketing. Sending email newsletters for the sake of sending them is unlikely to convert your prospects into buyers. If anything, it may make them feel downright irritated. Plus, you’re competing with 100 others in their inbox. That’s why you need to make sure your newsletter is the best.
The following four tips will help improve your newsletters by a mile.
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1. Figure out the need
The first thing that should come to your mind is… Why are you writing this newsletter? If you don’t know the answer to this question, how can your newsletter make an impact on the readers? So go figure out who your target audience is, and what action you would want them to take after reading the newsletter.
Some common objectives could be:
- Generate new leads
- Get prospects to download free material such as an e-book or whitepaper
- Promote a new product, seasonal sale, or latest offerings
- Offer a solution to a particular issue in your niche
- Build and enhance your online reputation
Here’s a familiar example. A lot of us in the digital media industry use Trello for task management. In essence, Trello helps boost productivity and makes time management simpler. Recently, their newsletter covered the topic “Productive morning routine” which falls right into their niche, and a problem most users are probably struggling with. The newsletter provides links to curated articles that provide in-depth information about the topic. It boasts a well-crafted message with a clear-cut call to action (CTA) at the end.
Just like this, you also need to focus on the needs of your users. Make your goal clear in the headline itself (in this case, it is to tell people how to have productive mornings). Don’t get into too many details right away. Just provide one or two types of information (here, there are resources for further reading) and a well-defined CTA.
2. Get creative
With a short attention span and an inbox overflowing with newsletters, you might be forgiven for thinking that the chances your newsletter will get the complete attention of a prospect are very slim. Well, here’s a pleasant surprise for you: the average time people spend reading emails has actually increased by more than one second!
That said, if your newsletter lacks creativity, it will probably end up in Trash, irrespective of how valuable the content is.
Fortunately, there are several ways to bring creativity into your newsletters.
- Words can have a powerful impact. Use subject lines and headlines that resonate with your target audience. They should make an emotional promise or create a curiosity gap. You can use headline analyzers such as ShareThrough to determine the empathetic value of your headline or CTA.
- You should also optimize and personalize your subject lines for better open rates. Subject lines opening with the subscriber’s name in the subject line have an open rate of 46% and a conversion rate of 3.71%.
- Another way to improve your subject line or CTA is to create a sense of urgency or importance. Using words such as breaking news, urgent, hurry, and limited time offer can increase opening rates substantially. In the same vein, avoid using a lot of content because that will convey a sense of a lot of available time.
In this newsletter, Freelancer.com has used compelling words and graphics to capture the attention of the readers. The headline successfully builds curiosity, while there is a sense of urgency in the second subject line. The rest of the content is simple, straightforward, and to-the-point.
3. Unleash the power of visual content but don’t go overboard
Visuals such as images, animation, and graphics can make or break your newsletter. They can help showcase your brand in the best way possible. Here are some elements you should pay extra attention to:
Headers: You can use graphics-based headers to capture the attention of readers as soon as the email loads. DIY tools such as Stencil or Pixlr are a great place to start. Make sure you use the same fonts and logo layouts everywhere including your website, social media, and email newsletters.
Layout: Structure the layout so that users can see the most significant information first. Keep in mind the visual hierarchy of your content. Usually, it is prioritized from top to bottom. Keep your CTA or core message on the top to keep the readers interested. Use alt text on every image or graphics to make sure people can view your message if the visuals fail to load. Don’t go overboard with the graphics, though. Make sure to leave plenty of white space as it improves readability.
Gamification via animation: You can also include a creative CTA through gamification or virtual scratch cards or using animations. Maybe you can add a virtual scratch card, discount coupon, or use an interactive CTA to attract readers.
Here’s an example:
4. Make it for your users, not for your company
Your newsletter won’t be able to draw and sustain a consistent and engaged readership if it keeps going on and on about your brand. You need to share relevant information that your audience can use. The newsletter is about them, not about you.
Include Third Party Content: Incorporating third-party content from your partners, industry experts, and influencers can be a great way to align your newsletter with your target audience. You can also cross-promote your newsletter with vendors, friendly local brands, or other businesses that cater to the same target audience.
Include User Generated Content: Another way to add value to your newsletter is to include user-generated content. It involves sharing content created by your consumers, fans, and even your employees. You can use some real-life examples or client stories or answer a few queries about your product or service through user-generated content. It will add a personal touch to your newsletter, which in turn, will attract more readers.
Share Trending Topics: Lastly, you can use the newsletter as a platform to share trending news in your niche. People like it if their favorite brand keeps them in the know about the latest happenings that interest them. However, don’t confuse being consistent with providing slam-dunk content. Always try to provide something your users can’t find anywhere else.
This newsletter from Austin Kleon is one of the best examples of how to use third-party content to make your newsletter more educational and less promotional. He uses content curated from all over the web and maintains an overall informal tone as if talking to people in real time.
Over to you
Having a high-performing newsletter can work wonders for your overall digital marketing. With these four strategies, you will be able to improve your newsletter quality substantially. Over time, you will enjoy a broader and more dedicated readership in your niche. Hopefully, the examples shared here will inspire you to come up with something unique and original!
Guest author: Jaydip Parikh is the founder of Tej SolPro – a leading SEO agency which provides white hat SEO services to clients across the globe. Jaydip has more than 15 years of experience in the field of sales and digital marketing. He has taken lectures on various topics of digital marketing at numerous renowned institutes. He regularly speaks at various conferences and events, both online and offline. He is known as Jaydip Baba in the digital marketing industry.