Emails come in a variety of different shapes and sizes.
There are cart abandonment emails designed to drive people back to your checkout page, and emails about your latest blog posts. If you have the right email marketing software, you might even create full automated campaigns designed to move your customer carefully through the buying journey.
One of the best-known forms of email, of course, is the newsletter.
Email newsletters keep your customers updated on everything that’s happening in your business. You can use them to make announcements, promote upcoming sales, or just build connections with your target audience.
The key to success is creating a newsletter that people look forward to seeing in their inbox.,
Fortunately, we have a few tips to help with that.
1. Master your Subject Line
Around 47% of email recipients will open an email based entirely on your chosen subject line. Another 69% of those people say they’d report an email as spam with nothing but a subject line to guide them. If you want your customers to open your emails week after week, you’re going to need to get these lines right!
Start by considering your audience. What kind of customer are you speaking to, and what sort of voice will they respond best to? If you’re trying to reach a younger customer, they may be more likely to respond to emojis and slang.
Next, think about what’s going to convince your audience to click. What are you announcing in your newsletter? Maybe you’ve got an exciting new feature to talk about. Hint to that in your subject line. For instance: “This week we’re bringing you something new”.
Once you’ve got an idea for what your subject line should be, use a service like this one to test whether everything shows up as it should on a smartphone.
2. Use a Consistent Email Template
Email newsletters are something you send to your audience on a constant basis. This means they need a consistent, branded design. Using your email marketing software, look for a specific template you can dedicate to just your newsletter. It should look similar to the kind of emails you send for marketing and transactional purposes. However, most newsletter emails are a little more image-based and can be quite long-form in some cases.
Whichever template you use, make sure that it’s easy to read, scannable, and engaging. Once again, just as you checked your subject line to check it was mobile friendly, ensure your template works perfectly on smart devices too. More than half of emails are opened via mobile.
If certain images, documents, and pieces of content don’t load on a mobile device, you’ll frustrate your audience, and could end up getting sent to spam.
3. Put Customer Value First
This is probably the most important thing you can do if you want your customers to love your email newsletters. A newsletter is a valuable way to build a relationship with your audience. It’s not just where you show off your latest products and services.
In this email from MCM, the group isn’t just asking you to sign up for event, it’s also packed full of information on topics the company knows its customers will like.
Take a look at your user personas, and ask yourself, based on what you know, what are your clients going to want to hear about. Are your customers going to want links to your recent articles placed in your newsletter, or would they rather see user-generated content plucked from social media?
A great way to boost your chances of customers actually reading your newsletter, is to customize the message for each sub-group of your audience. Segment your clients based on the ones who love blogs, the ones who prefer videos, and so on. You can even create segments based on customer location, or their favorite products.
This way, you can adapt the message to appeal to each individual reader.
4. Pay Attention to Visuals
Newsletters are emails intended to be full of information and useful guidance.
However, most of the time, customers won’t want to see huge chunks of text. Though it’s difficult to find the right balance between text and images, it’s usually a good idea to have some visual intrigue in your email. For instance, Ticketmaster uses pictures of Broadway posters to spruce up a newsletter about socially distanced shows:
The important thing to remember about images, is that not everyone will see them. Around 43% of people disable images on their emails, particularly because they want to reduce the use of bandwidth. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to avoid a background image, or sending an email that’s 100% visual. Your email should still look good without the pictures.
If you have any key information to share, ensure that your clients can still see those messages with their visuals turned off.
When experimenting with visuals, don’t be afraid to experiment with different options too. Gifs, videos, and emojis can all add personality to a newsletter.
5. Keep Copy Short and Sweet
Once again, most customers aren’t looking for huge chunks of text in their emails.
Your clients are often browsing through emails on their phones, so they’re not going to spend forever scrolling through paragraphs. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to keep chunks of text short and scannable. Constant Contact recommends using an email with 200 words maximum.
This is the best way to enhance click-through rate.
Shorter emails also help you to avoid the mistake of revealing too much in your newsletter. You want to provide information, but you also need to tease people enough to get them back to your website. Give them the option to click a link if they want to hear more about a story or update.
Smaller chunks of text are easier to consume, and far less likely to drive your customers away. Just Remember that not every email customer is the same. Some clients will expect more text from you than others. The best way to ensure you’re sending emails of the right length is to A/B test.
6. Nail the Call to Action
As mentioned above, part of the job of an email newsletter is to bring people back to your website. The best email campaigns should inspire customers to come and visit your blog, check out your latest products, or do something else (like download an eBook).
This means that most email newsletters also need a good CTA (Call to Action).
When designing your email newsletter templates, make sure that you get this part perfectly right. The right CTA should be:
- Highly visible
- Accessible in multiple formats
Call to Action buttons should be right at the top of the email page, where your customers can easily see them. You might want to place them just beneath a headline or image that showcases your offer, or you might place them a little further down on the screen, if you have more information to share.
In this email from TGI Fridays, the call to action is right at the top of the screen, just underneath a moving image that lets you know exactly why you’d want to book a table:
Remember, since you’re likely to messaging a number of people on smartphones, the button should also be big enough to easily tap from a touchscreen.
7. Review, Edit and Test
Newsletters are kind of like hand-written letters to your customers (just more efficient). They’re a chance for you to share information, generate engagement, and make progress on that crucial brand/customer relationship. However, this also means that every message you send is going to have an impact on how your clients feel about you.
If you rush to send an email and end up delivering something with links that don’t work, misspellings, and mistakes, then your customers are going to get the sense that they’re dealing with an unprofessional brand. Making a mistake once or twice is okay (if you apologize afterwards).
However, to avoid some major issues, you need to double-check your content. Proof-read the message, check it works by sending it to an email of your own, and make sure everything is as it should be. It’s particularly important to check your emails if you’re using terms and phrases from other cultures. Imagine the backlash if Not on the High Street had gotten this Eid email wrong:
Some email marketing software solutions will help you to test your email design, but it will be up to you to catch content mistakes.
Keep Working on Your Newsletters
Over time, the feedback you get from your customers about your newsletters, along with the metrics you track on your email marketing software should give you some helpful insights. You’ll start to get a sense for the kind of content each segment likes and dislikes. You might even notice your brand evolving and improving over time.
The important thing to remember is that newsletters aren’t just one-off messages to your clients. These emails are your chance to consistently build on and strengthen a relationship with your target audience. Don’t make the mistake of rushing your newsletter.