Creating a compelling newsletter is an invaluable resource for growing businesses. It is one of the best online marketing strategies for building a fanbase that not only engages with your content but also converts sales and uses your services. However, not all newsletters are creating equal. Some are a lot more successful in others in getting an audience to interact with their content. Many companies fall into common mistakes of monotony and repetitiousness, never fully realizing the vast potential reach of their newsletter. Luckily, with some helpful tips for strategy and execution, these traps can be avoided and you’ll be well on your way towards making a newsletter that people will want to read.
Understanding the Technical Aspects
Many factors go into building a successful newsletter, both technical and in the presentation. However, the first thing you need to take into consideration is your sign-up form. The functionality of your sign-up form is vital for a prosperous email marketing campaign; if people don’t sign up, nobody will receive your newsletters! Your sign-up form should be visible, intuitive, well-designed, and concise. Don’t ask for too much information from prospective subscribers, as this is almost always a big turn-off. The simplest route is to simply ask for an email address. Additionally, don’t use pop-ups for your sign-up forms. Having a pop-up as your sign-up form is guaranteed to decrease its visibility, as people instinctually close them before even considering what they are. People hardly ever read pop-ups, so don’t fall prey to this common mistake! Furthermore, you may want to disclose things on the sign-up form like how many subscribers you have, what exclusive offers signing-up will give a subscriber, and explicitly asking for consent. This goes a long way in building a sense of trust and professionalism between your business and your subscribers. People who have confidence in your brand are more likely to subscribe!
Before diving into the actual features of creating content for a successful newsletter, there are important technical aspects that must first be taken into consideration. Data can be an immeasurable tool in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your newsletter.
The essential metrics for understanding your newsletter are as follows:
Open Rate: The percentage of subscribers who opened your email (adjusted for undeliverable emails).
Click-through Rate: The percentage of subscribers who clicked on links in your newsletter.
Click-to-open Rate: The percentage of subscribers who successfully converted on your newsletter’s call to action.
Unsubscribe Rate: The percentage of subscribers who unsubscribed after receiving your newsletter.
Spam Rate: The percentage of how often your newsletter was filtered into the spam folders by your subscriber’s email provider.
Understanding these metrics are a must for developing and improving your newsletter. The information you obtain from them can tell you specifically which areas of your newsletter need improvement. For example, if your newsletters aren’t being opened (giving you a low open rate), the problem could be the email you are sending them from. The email address you use should always match the domain of your website, as well as the “From:” field. Sending your newsletter from a personal email that doesn’t match your brand will be seen as unprofessional and will make your emails less likely to be opened. Additionally, subject lines matter. Subject lines need to be short, inviting and tell the reader exactly what kind of things they’ll be reading in the newsletter. If it comes across as vague or confusing, this will lead to lower open rates.
More important than open rates, however, are the click-through rates and click-to-open rates. These are the quintessential metrics in determining if your newsletter strategies are working. It’s not enough to just get people opening your emails; you want them engaging in the content! If you find your newsletter has a high open-rate but low click-through and click-to-open rates, there are a few things you need to consider.
Firstly, is your design well-conceived? The design of your newsletter needs to be engaging and have a well-thought-out visual component. People are less likely to engage with the content of a newsletter that appears clunky or plain. Additionally, the visual component should be consistent with the flavor or your brand. Incorporate a theme and color scheme that will make your newsletters instantly recognizable.
Secondly, does the landing page for the links provided in your newsletter deliver on their expectations? Not fulfilling the expectations of your newsletter on your website is a surefire way to guarantee a low click-to-open rate. The information and call to action provided in your newsletter should be consistent with the landing page for the links. It might help to think of it as a linear progression; if your newsletter is informing subscribers about an exciting new product, the links you provide should lead to a landing page about that product. It shouldn’t direct them to a catalog or blog post about something else, as everything should feel like it flows together naturally.
Creating compelling content
Now that we’ve covered some ground on the technical aspects, let’s go over perhaps the most important aspect in building a successful newsletter: creating compelling content. Many burgeoning email marketing campaigns are founded on a faulty premise. The point of a newsletter isn’t to drive traffic to your website. It’s to create an experience and connection with your audience. People hate having their time wasted. If there is nothing of value being offered in your newsletters, your subscribers will feel there is no point in reading them. Many newsletters make the mistake of just making a grocery list of all the content that can be found on their blog. Don’t fall victim to this trap! Your newsletter should be clear, positive, and leaving the audience feeling inspired to visit your website rather than having wasted their time reading something they could’ve more easily seen on your website. This is yet another reason why it’s a good idea to create exclusive offers for people who subscribe to the newsletter.
An important thing for your newsletter to have is a unique and consistent sense of style. If the presentation of your website is very professional, cordial, and formal, then so should your newsletter. If it is more casual and fun-loving, then so should your newsletter. You want to create a sense of brand recognisability within your email campaign. If everything was stripped away and the person was just reading the words, you want them to be able to tell that it was created for your brand, not just any brand.
Don’t overlook the value of being entertaining.
If your presentation is dull, people won’t be excited to read it. Building an atmosphere of excitement around your newsletter can only be accomplished with content that is engaging and enjoyable. Because of this, it’s important to deliver content that you would read yourself. Keep your audience close to your heart, and they will reward you for it. Building a connection and establishing trust is crucial. If you write boring content with the intent of driving sales, people will react negatively. Keep things honest, informative, and concise, and above all, entertaining.
Try to avoid information overload.
Having too much information and options can overwhelm your subscribers to the point of inaction. Save the long-form material for your blog or website. A newsletter should offer something of value and be readable. It’s the tip of your business’ iceberg with a captivating incentive to dive under the surface and see the whole thing. Knowing these technical aspects and following these tips will help you create a newsletter that people will want to read consistently.