Nobody wants to create content that people don’t read. Unfortunately, that’s what often happens with email newsletters — someone spends a ton of time crafting email content that seems to tell the story the company is trying to get out, only to find that no one ever actually takes the time to digest the information contained within the newsletter. It’s a tale as old as time, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some best practices you should follow if you want people to actually read your newsletters. Let’s take a look!
1. Review Successful Newsletter Examples
Getting started can be the hardest part. Take a look at newsletters (both within and outside of your industry) that grabbed your attention and got you reading them. What do they have in common? Why were these newsletters more successful than others?
2. Determine the Kind of Newsletters You Want to Send
Today’s marketing efforts can be pretty jumbled all over the place. More than likely, you’re posting content to your blog, social accounts, and PR stories. Your newsletter should be the common thread that ties everything together. Consider keeping each newsletter focused on one particular topic, so your readers’ attention doesn’t span through dozens of different topics.
3. Balance Your Newsletter Content Between Education and Promotions
A 90/10 rule is a great balance for newsletter content. In other words, aim for providing 90% informational content and only 10% promotional content. More than likely, your newsletter subscribers aren’t interested in hearing about your products and services every time they see something from your company. Sure, they may love your brand and get excited to hear from you, but you don’t need to corner them with a sales pitch every time you send them something. You don’t want to be that company! Instead, focus on giving your readers educational information that’s relevant and timely.
4. Set Expectations When People Subscribe
Once you know what your newsletter is going to focus on, make sure your communications are on-point when you communicate with people about the contents of your newsletter. For instance, let’s say you’ve created a landing page to entice people to sign up. They should know specifically what they’re signing up for. Tell them exactly what’s in the newsletter and how often they’ll be hearing from you. As a marketer, this should be an important element because, when you provide your subscribers with this type of transparency upfront, you’ll reduce your unsubscribe and spam rates – meaning your content is more likely to land in front of people who will truly pay attention to the knowledge you’re sharing with them.
5. Flex Your Creative Muscles on the Subject Lines
Okay, we won’t lie — creating amazing email subject lines is a specific art form that doesn’t come easily to most people. However, if you flex your creative muscles on this part of the email, you’re more likely to see your open rates increase, which translates into people actually reading the content you’re putting in front of them. It’s a good idea to create incentives within your subject lines, so you entice your readers to open this email at this very instant. Try to steer clear of email subject lines that use the same words every time you send a newsletter; some marketers use this tactic to build familiarity with their brands, but it really just gets old to the reader.
6. Choose One Primary Call-to-Action (CTA)
Okay, we get it — you’re creating a newsletter because you have multiple actions you want people to take, such as downloading whitepapers, following you on social, or making an appointment now so they can get in on your special promo price. There are many CTAs within a newsletter, but you shouldn’t bombard your reader with all of them at the same level of prominence within the content. There should be one head honcho call-to-action that stands as the main thing you want your readers to do. The other CTAs should be secondary, sort of like “if you have time, check this out, too” CTAs.
7. Test, Test, Test!
A/B testing is essential in all aspects of marketing, and that goes for your newsletters, as well. The chances of creating an amazing email on the first try are often pretty slim, so you need to have multiple versions, including several different subject lines, so you can test which one works the best. Just like different cultures of people prefer different things, the people on your email list will likely be enticed by certain content more than others. You’ll never know which one is optimal unless you do some A/B testing and send them out, side by side. Here are some things to alter when you’re performing your newsletter A/B testing:
- Short, funny subject lines. Make sure your subject lines are always on the short side. If you’ve never attempted to infuse a little humor into your subject lines, this is a good time to try it out. Besides potentially putting smiles on your readers’ faces, you could also improve your open rates.
- CTA copy and design. Do your readers prefer bright, vibrant colors in your CTA, or do drab, bland ones get the job done better? Perhaps super fun, exciting, and action-oriented copy is the key to making people pay attention to what you want them to do, or maybe a simple “click here” will do the deed. You need to test out your layout and CTAs to see which ones resonate most with your audience.
- Images (or not). Images are fun and can be engaging, but that doesn’t mean you need them. Try stripping out the images and focusing on high-quality text content instead.
It’s also important to note that when it comes to A/B testing, you should only test one variable at a time. Otherwise, if you choose to do multiple, it can be difficult to determine which has caused a change in open rates, click rates, and/or engagement.
If you need help getting your email newsletter game going, our marketing pros are here to help. We invite you to reach out to us to learn how Zero Gravity Marketing can assist you with creating awesome newsletters that hit the nail right on the head!