Newsletters are a fast and efficient way to attract more followers, and ultimately, more customers.
Email campaigns are also by far the most affordable marketing strategy, and especially if coupled with social media exposure, they drive conversions too. It’s in your best business interest to make them as strong as can be.
How to create profitable email newsletters
As is the case with all types of e-content, newsletters need to be concise, to the point, and clearly announce the business promise and goodies to follow. But before that, they need to be opened and read—the most difficult task in email marketing.
A successful email newsletter starts with a quality subject line and ends in a strong call to action.
TIP: The quality of your newsletters mean nothing if your software isn't performing for you. Make sure you're using the best email marketing software.
Writing stellar subject lines
There is nothing wrong with the generic “updates for the month” approach, but it only works on customers who are already into your brand. For others that have yet to develop an interest, an eye-catching subject line is crucial.
The best email subject lines serve as a preview to the offer in the newsletter. They can be witty, funny, bold, and with or without emojis. Whichever approach you choose, just be sure to keep length to 30 characters or less.
Most inboxes are accessed on mobile devices, which display up to 30-character-long subject lines. Make certain to test your email and see how it is displayed on different devices, particularly if you are using emojis.
A study undertaken by Alchemy Worx showed that the five most efficient keywords in subject lines are: upgrade,just, content,go, and wonderful. Furthermore, the study showed that the words: jokes, promotional,congratulations, revision,forecast, snapshot, token, voluntary, monthly, and deduction triggered the highest open rates.
They aren’t too creative, but the formula obviously works, so it’s worth fitting one of these words into your subject lines.
Writing stellar newsletters
Newsletters should be concise and feature quality, well-written content. They shouldn’t be too long either, as people tend to scan emails rather than read them these days.
Because of that, you should make sure the key points of your newsletter stand out. A clearly apparent call to action (CTA), most often in the form of a button (or bold or italic text) will do the trick.
Be careful with using different fonts in the same newsletter (better yet, don’t even try it), because they can make even the finest of emails appear unprofessional.
When it comes to fonts, prioritize mobile readers. Slightly larger font sizes are recommended for increased ease of reading. You’ll see this for yourself when you test-send the newsletter to yourself and check it out on a mobile device.
The best newsletters are highly specific, targeting the particular audience rather than a general one. Personalization is the key to a newsletter’s performance, just as is the case with any kind of marketing offer.
Albeit there is no overarching recipe to concocting perfect newsletters, it is highly recommended that they conform to this order:
Start with a personalized greeting
Reinforce the promise in the subject line
Be informative and well-written
Provide short company info
Feature an appropriate closing
Feature an effective call to action
Be careful with your offers and announcements, though. Too many offers will distract the reader and leave them wondering what to focus on. The best strategy is to announce one important offer (e.g. a monthly sale or giveaway) and expand on that.
Finally, always keep in mind that you are not the only one who thinks your offer is the best one out there. Competition is fierce as email marketing is the cheapest way of advertising with an average ROI rate of 4400%, so it’s always a good idea to compare your offer with other brands operating in your industry.
One effective way to do that is to subscribe to competitors’ newsletters. Align your prices and try to offer better deals to ensure your brand will stand out in the long run.
Most importantly, stellar newsletters address the immediate needs of their audiences. Not everyone has the same needs, so use segmentation to your benefit. If you sell clothes, send different offers to men and women. Simple, isn’t it?
Writing stellar calls-to-action (CTAs)
Most newsletters use buttons for calls to action, but there are other options, too. Whether you go for a button, link, or image, make certain it’s clearly visible when scanning the newsletter.
It’s important to understand that effective calls to action do not necessarily need to prompt the recipient to make a purchase. It will suffice if they inform recipients about the consequent step. For example, if you are advertising a premium offer, you may prompt the customer to merely browse it, not necessarily make a purchase. A simple “Click here to see the special offer” will do the trick.
Further steps to increase your newsletter visibility
Sending newsletters to your customers’ inboxes is just one way to ensure that they will be seen. There are additional strategies you can use to increase the visibility of your newsletters and distribute them to more people on other channels.
The two most efficient ways to increase the reach of your newsletters and attract more customers are sharing your offer on social media channels and submitting your newsletters to directories.
In order for social media sharing to be effective, you need to be regularly active on social media channels.
Attention-grabbing social media posts get shared and re-shared all the time, directly increasing the visibility not only of your offer but your brand in general. That’s why you should always include a call to action and make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices.
Another way to boost visibility is by submitting your newsletters to digital newsletter directories. There are many of those around; some of the best-rated free options are Newsletter Access, List Channel, and PubList.
There is also a variety of topic-specific newsletter directories, so make sure to shop around until you find the appropriate directories for your business.
You also must know your audience. Different target groups are looking for different offers, therefore, it may be a good idea to submit at least two newsletter issues: standard and premium. Don’t shy away from paid offers—big spenders expect customized special offers tailored to their taste.
Oh, wow, would you look at the time?
Do your research to determine when the best time to send newsletters is for your brand. Factors include time zones, seasonality (i.e. holiday offers), purchase history (i.e. shopping reminders), and follow-up emails.
And that’s all folks! Combining these methods into a viable strategy is all that it takes to create email newsletters that stand out. Be creative, be yourself, and always remember your audience.
Angela Ash is an expert content writer, editor and marketer, and she works with Flow SEO. She writes on a multitude of topics, but places a special importance on content marketing, SEO, productivity and business applications.