Tips to creating an effective newsletter
There’s no one secret to creating the perfect newsletter. The truth is, it depends a lot on the industry you are in and the role the newsletter will eventually play in your marketing campaign. If you’re not sure whether you should even start sending out newsletters, then you should probably listen to your instinct and do some research before you invest time and money in an unnecessary marketing effort. Try to determine whether people would be interested in subscribing to a newsletter related to your industry, and if so, what should be in it.
And if you do reach to the conclusion that a newsletter is what your business needs to boost sales and convert leads into sales, then here are some valuable tips that will help you create a great newsletter people will react to and will actually enjoy reading.
The first questions you need to ask yourself are “What is the purpose of your newsletter” and “What do you hope to accomplish through it?” The answer to these two questions will give you a general idea of what your newsletter should be about. Determine your goal and the means to achieve it. If you are having a hard time envisioning this, draw a schematic with your marketing goals on the left side and the technique that will help you achieve it on the right side. Start drawing arrows to connect your goals to the techniques you are going to use, and remember you can have more than one technique for the same goal. The key is to not mix them up in the same newsletter, or your readers will lose focus.
For example: If you run an e-commerce business, then your newsletter should definitely include the most recent deals and sales on your website (technique), with the sole purpose of increasing your sales (goal). If your goal is to build customer loyalty, then maybe you can send a discount coupon for your products or services, or offer them one of your services for free. But remember these two things should come in separate newsletters.
You’ve probably heard it a million times and you’re sick of hearing it, but “Content is King” and will be, whether we’re talking about your website’s content, your blogs or your newsletters. So make sure you provide your readers with valuable content, educational, and not always promotional. Remember the unsubscribe button is just one click away, and you wouldn’t want that to happen.
For example: You run a fashion website that sells dresses and accessories. Instead of sending newsletters that encourage your readers to buy, buy, buy, maybe you can send some educational content that will place the idea of buying in the back of their mind. Tell them what are the latest tendencies this season, what colors they should absolutely have in their wardrobe and what accessories are a must have. This is interesting information that will encourage them to buy your products, without feeling an exhausting pressure.
Here is an example of a newsletter that shares valuable information about the latest design trends in terms of creating a presentation, without pressuring or forcing the user into purchasing their product.
3. Subject Lines
Just like with any other email marketing campaign, the subject line plays a major role in making someone open your email. If you’ve had success with a specific subject line, then keeping it for the next months will not guarantee the same success. People get bored relatively fast of reading the same things, so they will most likely end up ignoring your newsletter. Writing creative, engaging and different subject lines for each newsletter is a much better approach. Keep it short and smart and people will appreciate that.
The one thing you should never neglect when it comes to design is for it to be mobile responsive. Recent studies have shown that over 60% of people use their smartphone to check their email, and if your newsletter is not mobile optimized then it’s no wonder you are lacking success. Keep you design simple and clean, easy to read. The worst thing you can do is start squeezing little pieces of content, call to actions or deals in every corner you have. Decide on a primary call to action, and let the rest of the content flow. Make sure you have enough white content and that your copy is clear and concise. People don’t have all day to read your newsletter, so what you actually want to do is send them to a different place where they can read all the information they are interested in (a landing page, your website, your blog).
Images are another thing to pay attention to. Sometimes readers don’t have images enables, and they won’t be able to see them. What you need to do is make sure your newsletter is perfectly understandable without images and that it will send the same message. So sending a newsletter with a big photoshopped banner that includes all the important information can be a big mistake. Add an alt text to an image, so people can see that when an image is not loaded. This way, if your call to action is an image, people might still click on it if they can understand what you are trying to say.
Here is how a newsletter from Nike looked like when images couldn't load:
And here is how the same newsletter looks like with images:
These should cover the most important things you need to now when sending out newsletters. If you’re a newbie, then you should start testing your newsletters with friends and family and get their honest reaction. Also make sure you send a test to yourself before sending out a newsletter to your subscribers list. Remember about the mobile optimization, clear design, concise content and you should be good to go.