Newsletters via e-mail are a powerhouse in marketing for both solo entrepreneurs and larger companies.
Both types of companies need to work hard at creating and sending newsletters that work for their audience and their brand.
How do you make a newsletter that you know works? > Well written. Good design. Good analysis.
In this post, we go through six things you should consider to make a newsletter that not only looks good, but persuades people to click and convert, whether it’s getting them to your site, donating to a cause or buy a product.
Six basics for newsletters that convert
1. Design a newsletter that people would like to read.
When designing a newsletter, you should not just choose the first one that looks appealing. Think about what people expect from your brand.
If you’ve planning communications from a top-class global financial brand known for its long history and industry expertise, your audience probably does not expect edgy and daring newsletters filled with GIFs and downloadable files.
They might expect HTML emails, but more on the formal side, certainly aligned with your brand and with your logo to indicate that it is from your organization.
If you are running a startup, your followers might expect something more original, innovative and personal.
If you are a solo freelancer, followers may have a much greater understanding of less formality, but place more emphasis on authenticity.
Take the Wishpond marketing platform newsletter gallery, which shows the many different forms a newsletter can take, especially when optimized for industry and purposes:
2. Your copy is part of your design.
Your design> also means your copy and tone – both of which must be consistent across your newsletters.
Is your copy strictly informative? Legend? Irreverent?
Imagine your reader in your mind and what you want them to feel. Use words and designs to get them there.
Take a look at content pro Ann Handley’s newsletters, which are a masterful example of combining a first-person tone and feel with industry information.
Handley’s newsletter is formatted to reflect a warm, caring and fun personality that nonetheless demonstrates her considerable expertise.
Following the newsletter itself, which is a first-class thought leadership, Handley uses emojis as bullet points. ‘Tools’ are useful apps from across the internet for GPs. ‘Love Letters’ is a subtle way for Handley to showcase his featured writing from across the web. And ‘Public Events’ are invitations to where she will speak.
The images add a splash of color to her email while the powerhouse content balances them. This is a great example of design and copy work in tandem.
3. Write subject lines that people will click on.
Subject lines are gatekeepers to your emails. The good news is that art with a good subject line is a copywriter and marketers have researched from all angles.
There are a few things to keep in mind when considering subject lines:
Number of characters
Grade numbers count! If the meat in your email subject line is cut off by the browser’s display limits, no matter how ingenious your copy is: your readers will not be able to see it. It is advisable to keep your email subject lines around 30 characters.
Urgent or value
Keep in mind that most of your audience members are just as busy (or busy) as you are, and will likely forget your email if they do not click on it within the day they receive it.
Ask yourself, what reason did you give them to click on it the moment they see the push message pop up on their phone or the subject line in their inbox? An irresistible offer? A time limit? A question they want answered?
Email subject lines that mention your recipient’s name are more likely to be clicked on. For this, you need to collect data about your prospects and have their permission to do so.
4. Create email lists that cater to audience interests.
Segmentation is the key. It is one of the simplest things you can do in your email marketing strategy that shows the most dramatic results.
It filters unnecessary emails from your audience inbox, increases your open rates and click-through rates, lowers your unsubscribe rates, and makes your subscribers feel more like your business delivers them.
To optimize your recipient’s experience as well as your company’s results, here are some great segmentation approaches:
Be specific, but not too specific.
If your email group is very small when it comes to sending, it’s probably not a group you need to target. Each list should be as large as possible without deviating too far from the characteristics of the group.
Make your lists different.
No email marketing strategy is a size that suits everyone. By dividing your email database into clearly defined groups and segments, you can communicate to your various markets and audiences with tailor-made campaigns and strategies.
Optimize your data collection.
Good data comes down to three core things: trust, accuracy and integrity. Your team must ethically and reasonably collect the data you need to create effective segments while maintaining the trust of your contacts.
When a contact selects email communications and progresses through your marketing funnel, make sure their data — including their sign-up status — is synced to the right apps.
For example, you can sync your email marketing app and CRM when a contact is tagged ‘Customer’.
Measure your results.
Make sure you can measure the success of your newsletter campaigns. For best results, go beyond just opening and clicking to understand exactly how your newsletters affect your customer acquisition.
Set up tracking to understand how many customers are converting as a direct result of clicking on your newsletters and how many customer conversions it helps indirectly.
5. Help readers find your newsletter.
Just as ticket sales are an integral part of the show business, getting people to subscribe is an important part of newsletters.
Getting people to sign up for your newsletter should be a serious consideration in your strategy.
There are many ways to promote your newsletter. You could:
- Add pop-ups to your blog and site, especially for visitors who seem particularly engaged.
- Add a subscription option to your footer.
- Market your newsletter on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Offer a free sample of your newsletter. See how the popular Daily Pnut newsletter offers proof of their value to potential readers by sharing their archive online:
6. Stay consistent and relevant.
But often you decide to send your newsletter – once a month, once a week, even every day – to make sure your audiences can count on it.
At the same time, just because your timing is predictable, your content should not be.
Keep things fresh for your audience. The worst thing you can do is make your audience feel like your email is the same piece of tired information, hitting their inbox day after day and clogging up their storage space. It’s an easy way to get readers to unsubscribe and lose hard-won leads.
Instead, mix your content together. Mix information posts with offers and contests, make sure it is not all text, add some gifs and photos, send surveys and most importantly, ask for feedback.