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Make the News: 10 Best Email Newsletter Strategies

May 28, 2021

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Email marketing has been on the rise and won't be going away any time soon. 

Businesses of all calibers are trying to hop on the trend and leverage the benefits of it. However, with the competition being as high as ever, it can be quite a challenge to come up with an engaging email campaign that would both highlight your business’ strengths and be valuable and interesting for the reader.

Luckily, there’s a short-cut strategy for that. An email newsletter is a great way to establish a direct conversation with your target audience to keep them engaged and updated. You can use this opportunity to build a relationship, share content and, most importantly, promote sales. 

So if you don’t have an effective email newsletter strategy in place, it’s time to start! In this article, you’ll find the 10 best email newsletter practices with lots of actionable tips.

Why you need an effective email newsletter strategy 

It’s no secret that committing to producing and distributing a newsletter to your email subscribers on a monthly basis can be a rather time-consuming task. It’s not your average set it and forget it process; it requires a lot of hard work and attention to details. If you want your email newsletter strategy to be effective, you need to stay on track with all the latest trends and regularly adjust it to be up to the highest standard.     

The thing is, this onion is definitely worth peeling. Having an effective email newsletter strategy in place comes with a lot of benefits for your business. Here are just a few of the most notable ones:

  • It’s a cost-effective way of staying in touch with your email subscribers. 
  • It helps to build your brand authority and manage your reputation.
  • It drives traffic to your website and blog (PostUp clients see twice as many page views per session from email than any other channel.) 
  • It promotes social media engagement.
  • It allows building a more robust relationship with your leads.
  • It provides opportunities for enhanced analytics and better customer segmentation.
  • It helps to generate sales.

10 email newsletter strategies to keep subscribers engaged

To leverage the numerous benefits of the email newsletter campaign, you need to ensure that the emails you send to your subscribers are always up to the standard. This requires a lot of attention to details and the implementation of the best email newsletter strategies to boost the performance of your email marketing campaigns.

Here are some of the key strategies and techniques to use when crafting an engaging email newsletter.

1. Start with a welcome campaign 

One of the key benefits of an email newsletter is that it allows you to deepen your bond and build a robust, friendly relationship with your friends. The last thing you want to do when talking to a friend is being rude.

That’s why it’s important to warm up your new subscribers and welcome them to your mailing list. It’s best to start with a welcome email, or even better, a sequence of welcome emails. Here’s what to include in your campaign.

A genuine thank-you and a warm welcome

It’s always exciting to see new people show interest in your brand and join your mailing list. After all, having a large and active list of email subscribers is one of the indicators of your email marketing strategy success. So why not let your newcomers know how much they mean to you and thank them for subscribing to your newsletter. 

Besides, according to numerous studies, ‘thank you’ is one of the most powerful words you can use in your email marketing – not only does it instantly grab the reader’s attention, but it also leaves a lasting positive impression – a win-win situation for everyone!

You can also experiment with the shape and form of your gratitude. Depending on the specifics of your business, you can either drop a humble and simple one-liner or go all the way out and pair the ‘thanks’ with a pompous greeting. 

Here are a couple of examples you can nick to add to your welcome sequence (just make sure the one you use is in line with your brand):

  • ‘It’s a pleasure to have you join our family!’
  • ‘Thank you for choosing to subscribe to our newsletter!’
  • ‘We love to see you join!’
  • ‘Cheers for subscribing to the newsletter!’
  • ‘We’re on cloud nine now that you’re a newsletter subscriber! Thanks for making us happy!’

The promised incentive

If you used a lead magnet to lure your newsletter subscribers in, make sure you deliver on your promise and include the link to your e-book, checklist or whatever it is that they were interested in receiving from you in the welcome email. It’s your chance to prove to them that you’re a trustworthy brand that keeps its word.

Even if you didn’t turn to gated content to help you enlarge your subscribers base, you can still offer your new subscribers a welcome gift. It doesn’t have to be anything big - just a nice gesture to show them that you’re excited to see them join you. 

Some examples of what you could include in your welcome email for new subscribers:

  • Selection of your star content (the best-performing, most interesting articles on your blog)
  • Topic bundles – a list of articles that cover a specific topic that would be of interest to your new subscribers
  • Access to your limited edition materials
  • A small discount, etc.

An introduction

It’s not right to assume that simply because someone joined your mailing list they know everything about your brand and what you preach. The majority of people subscribe to your newsletter because they found your content interesting and useful, not because they’re your devoted fans. This, however, can be changed.

The welcome sequence is a perfect opportunity to tell your story to the new subscribers. Tell a bit more about who you are, your mission and your values. Preferably, wrap it all into a nicely written story – everyone loves those. Here are a couple of things you can mention in the introduction:

  • The peculiarities of your brand
  • Your origins
  • Your unique selling point - what makes you different from the competition
  • How your subscribers benefit from being subscribed to the newsletter

On top of that, you can also use the welcome sequence as an opportunity to talk about what your new subscribers can expect from this communication. Now that they’ve subscribed to your newsletter, they’re different from those blog visitors who haven’t joined the list yet.

Explain how so; provide your new subscribers with a brief overview of the different types of content you will be offering in your newsletters and how often you plan to send those. It’s important to stay transparent, you want your relationship to be built on the premises of mutual trust!

Apart from the types of content you intend to send, you can also mention your plans regarding the following:

  • Newsletter frequency (e.g. every week, every fortnight, every month, etc.)
  • The timing for your emails (mornings, evenings, weekdays, or weekends)
  • The format for each message (plain text, plain HTML, responsive)
  • How long the emails will be, and other details

An invitation to connect with you via other channels

You don’t have to limit your communication with the newsletter subscribers to the email outreach only. The welcome sequence is a great way to encourage your new subscribers to follow you on other social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to become an even more integral part of your online community. While it’s not mandatory, establishing more thorough, multichannel contact with your subscribers will keep the momentum going and deepen your bond.

Don’t forget to clearly outline the benefits of following your socials - your newsletter subscribers have already done you a favour by joining your mailing list, and will need a serious reason to commit to your brand even further. 

Technical details

Finally, use the welcome email as a tool for ensuring the deliverability of your subsequent newsletters. If you don’t want the newsletter you’ve worked so hard on producing to remain unopened by the target audience or, even worse, land straight into the spam folder, you need to take care of a couple of things first:

  • Ask your new subscribers to whitelist your email address (add it to their contacts). By doing this, they will let their email providers know that your emails are relevant to them and aren’t just annoying promotional junk. This is almost a 100% guarantee that your newsletters will be delivered and subsequently opened. An important tip is to not just politely ask your newsletter subscribers to whitelist you but also to give them instructions on how to do that. 
  • Send them a link to the preference control center.  Let your subscribers be in control of your communication by letting them customize it.

2. Personalize your approach 

In the modern business world, personalization is the kingpin of success. That’s why if you want your email newsletter strategy to be successful, you need to focus on personalizing your approach. Long gone are the days when you could just simply add your reader’s name in the subject line and the body of your email and call it a day. Today, for your newsletters to be relevant, you need to go beyond basic personalization and offer a holistic special approach. 

Giving your new subscribers an opportunity to control the flow of your communication via the subscription control centre allows you to kill two birds with one stone: 

  • You show your new subscribers that you respect their preferences;
  • And you have some data to personalize your newsletter to target them better. 

In the modern business world, personalization is the key to email marketing success as it’s one of the hottest email marketing trends this year. It needs to be thorough and consistent, and need to go way beyond using macros to refer to your newsletter subscribers by their first and last name. 

Thanks to the data you gather during the initial signup process and the data you obtain from the customizations your subscribers make in the emailing preferences, you can build hyper-personalized sequences that would consider the following:

  • The topics that your subscribers are most interested in (you can ask them to select which areas are the most relevant for them)
  • Emailing frequency 
  • Emailing time 
  • The type of content they prefer, etc.

On top of that, you can provide different types of newsletters to different subscribers based on their stage in the sales cycle, and where they entered it - Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) leads’ preferences are different to those of Top of the Funnel (TOFU) leads. For example,

TOFU leads are best suited for more general content that covers broad topics and includes minimal pre-boarding elements. On the other hand, BOFU leads are almost ready to convert into customers, so you can include more branded content and pre-board in your newsletter content more actively.

3. Analyze and segment your email list(s) 

To enable personalization, you need to make sure that your email list is segmented. When you have different groups of people that share common interests and characteristics identified, you can provide them with relevant content in a more effective manner. In fact, according to MailChimp’s study, segmented campaigns result in 23% higher open rates, with 49% higher CTR. 

There are different segmentation models that you can use to segment your list:

  • By demographics. Involves characteristics such as age, gender identities, job roles, income, and location.
  • By engagements. It considers how engaged the subscribers are with the brand. Some segmentation variables it involves are whether they are active on social media, whether they open emails and click through; including what kind of email they open and click-through, and which devices they use to access those.
  • By psychographics. This approach involves studying the audience's behaviours, uncovering their true interests and hobbies. By learning what they are like, what drives them to make decisions and what motivates them, you can have a better understanding of what content will be the most relevant to them.
  • By firmographics. If you’re a B2B business, you can segment your subscribers using their company features. This includes the size of the company, its profile, location, workflows, etc. Some other important variables to consider are whether or not the subscriber has the decision-making rights or not. 
  • By their stage in the customer journey. Leads at the beginning of their customer journey have different characteristics to those who’re at the very end of it. 

As you can see, there are lots of different ways to approach audience segmentation, and you can pick whichever works best for your business. However, it’s important to follow the best segmentation practices for your actions to lead to the desired outcome:

  • Do your homework first. You need to back up your segmentation choices with some reliable, research-driven data that would give you an insight into what characteristics different segments of your target audience possess. 
  • Don’t overdo it. Slimming down your segments and making them more specific is great, but only to a certain extent. Everything is good in moderation – making your segments too narrow will mean there are too few people to target. Not only does it shake up the chances of successful engagement but also increases your workload. You don’t want to be spending too much time producing all the different newsletters.
  • Avoid bias when segmenting your audience. Underdevelopment of marketing segments is one of the biggest mistakes email marketers make. It can be tempting to only segment the subscribers most engaged with your brand and leave out the rest. This, however, defeats the very purpose of audience segmentation. You need to group people correctly to leverage the benefits of it. 
  • Set SMART goals for what you want to achieve. Make sure that you target the right subscribers with the right content by measuring your results against your expectations. For that, you need to be tracking a set of specific metrics. 
  • Don’t confuse behavioral clusters with actual audience segments. A behavioral cluster is a group of people exhibiting a one-time, temporary type of behavior. On the other hand, an audience segment is a group of people that share the same traits constantly, on multiple occasions. To differentiate between the two, you need to get down to the root of the exhibited behavior.

4. Establish a relationship before trying to sell 

Although email newsletters are perfect for talking about you and your business - finally, you get a chance to show off your achievements and slyly promote your new shiny products - there needs to be a certain degree of trust between you and your subscribers before you can start selling.

Some of the best ways to do this include:

  • Being polite and courteous in your communication
  • Being wary of other instances of your communication with each particular email subscriber so that you’re coherent in your contacts 
  • Give an option to unsubscribe at any time (which is, actually, a GDPR requirement, too)
  • Respect your subscribers’ emailing preferences

On top of that, you can also deepen the bond by adding some gestures that show that you care about your subscribers. For instance, you can provide them with exclusive information, give them little incentives such as freebies and discounts, etc. 

5. Craft specific language for your target audience

Based on the data you’ve drawn when analyzing and segmenting your email subscribers, you need to decide on the language you will be using in your emails. Remember that it’s one of the key elements of your newsletters as it sets out the tone for your campaign.

Make sure that your language:

  • Is appropriate for the audience you’re targeting with your email newsletter. Use the language specific to your industry and audience jobs. For example, if you’re dealing with the subscribers in real estate, talk ‘mortgages,’ ‘equities,’ and ‘escrow’. Just make sure that whenever you’re using niche jargon, it’s up to date. You don’t want to be adding random outdated terms just to appear more relatable and relevant. 
  • Is appropriate for the industry your business operates in. The voice and the tone you adopt in your newsletters can have an immense effect on the success of your email newsletter strategy. You need to double-check that your writing style works well with the audience you’re targeting. For instance, what’s great for more laid-back industries won’t necessarily work for the more serious ones. There’s a strict line between the language you can use as a clothes retailer and a government institution. 
  • Is on-brand with your business. You need to remember that your newsletters make up a huge part of your branding strategy, so you need to make sure that the language you use is in line with your overall brand. 
  • Won’t trigger the spam filters. Even if you got your subscriber to whitelist your email address, you still need to be wary of using too many ‘sketchy’ words that can set off the spam filters and get your newsletter red-flagged. Some of the most common words to watch out for include: free, flash-deal, reminder, help, etc.

6. Interact with your list of newsletter recipients 

In order for your email newsletter strategy to be effective, you need to make sure that you interact with your list of newsletter recipients:

  • Have a set schedule for your newsletters. Not only will that bring some order to your communication, but it will also have your subscribers anticipating an email from you - a great way to bring the engagement levels up. 
  • Don’t allow large gaps in between your interactions. You want to send content regularly so that they remember about you and are familiar with your email name when it pops up in their inbox.
  • Include more than just links to your content; a little bit of controversy won’t hurt. You can easily make your newsletters more interesting to read if you annotate each article you include in it with some exclusive commentary. 
  • Spark discussions and prompt your subscribers to voice their opinions on the topic on social media or in the comments section of your post or video. 

Another way of keeping your newsletter interactive is to gamify it.

7. Gamify your email campaign 

The newsletter format is so appealing to marketers because of the variety of content types it allows them to include. If you want your newsletter to stand out from the competition and leave a long-lasting impression on your subscribers, you can hop on one of the hottest trends in email marketing: email gamification.

There are a few rules to follow when you’re including games into your newsletter email:

  • Keep the games interactive. It’s best to add some animation to your games and make them responsive. There’s evidence to suggest that people spend more time interacting with the content that is in motion as it acts as a stimuli. 
  • Offer rewards to incentivize your email subscribers to partake. Prizes, no matter how small, act as an award factor that encourages people to try out the game. 
  • Pay close attention to the visuals. Dynamic, attractive visuals are more compelling to the readers and will keep them scrolling down your newsletter. 
  • Don’t overdo it. While gamification is a trend, don’t use it just for the sake of staying trendy. If there’s no place for gamification in your particular newsletter – don’t force it. 
  • Double-check the game and make sure the tasks are clear and attainable. You don’t want to infuriate your email recipients with games that glitch or don’t work at all.

Newsletter gamification can be carried out in a number of different ways. It’s up to you to decide the ways in which you want to liven things up. But if you’re looking for inspiration, here are some email gamification ideas for your newsletter to use:

  • Wheel of fortune
  • Lottery tickets
  • Scoreboards

8. Don’t overcomplicate your ask 

Although newsletters are predominantly informational, you still want to convert your subscribers and nudge them towards taking the desired action – making a purchasing decision, signing up for an event, etc. However, you need to be careful here.

While it’s a great idea to include a call-to-action into your newsletter, make sure you don’t overcomplicate your ask. Instead of being overly pushy with your requests, encourage your subscribers to make a lot of small commitments.  Use a micro-yes sequence to build your relationship with subscribers.

9. Utilize resend campaigns when applicable 

Although it’s important to make all your marketing content red-hot and fresh, the very nature of a newsletter suggests that you can sometimes repurpose those.

If you see that your subscribers are not engaging with your newsletters, it’s okay to occasionally send out resend campaigns:

  • Identify the best time and day to resend your newsletter
  • Don’t just copy and paste the same newsletter twice – add some tweaks to freshen it up
  • Craft a compelling subject line
  • Include an incentive to encourage your subscribers to interact with you more
  • Don’t be too pushy and respect your mailing list

10. Ask your email list for feedback about your newsletter 

Finally, you need to remember that there’s always room for improvement, and you can always make the newsletter experience better for both you and your subscribers. To identify your strengths and weaknesses, make sure you regularly analyze the performance of your campaigns and, more importantly, ask your email list for feedback.

This can be organized in a variety of ways:

  • Link a small survey at the end of each newsletter
  • Send out a separate email to ask for feedback
  • Reach out to your subscribers on social media

Conclusion 

To sum everything up, email newsletters are a great strategy to take a hold of – they can lay out the foundation for your broader email marketing strategy and help you leverage its benefits. Moreover, newsletters aren’t particularly difficult to manage. 

If you know the tricks you can build a successful and effective strategy that will let you stay in touch with your email subscribers, build your brand authority and manage your reputation, drive traffic to your website and blog, promote social media engagement, build a more robust relationship with your leads. All of this will eventually help you generate more sales and grow your business. So if you don’t do newsletters yet, it’s time to start! 

_learn-free-crm-software
Make your newsletters more engaging with the right email tools.

Using strong email marketing software can take an average email newsletter from unopened to opened with just a few tweaks!

_learn-free-crm-software
Make your newsletters more engaging with the right email tools.

Using strong email marketing software can take an average email newsletter from unopened to opened with just a few tweaks!

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