A newsletter is a way for companies to foster a relationship with their audience by sharing useful and informative content such as product or brand announcements, promotions, and articles that might be useful to readers, and much more.
Newsletters are an extremely effective way for companies to stay engaged with their audience and increase qualified leads and traffic. But, what makes a good newsletter?
Is A Newsletter The Right Thing For My Business?
Before dissecting the key elements of an effective newsletter you need to first establish if your competitors have invested in this form of email marketing. Newsletters are not a good fit for every industry so it is therefore important to know if investing in this will contribute to your overall goals.
Analyzing what your competitors are doing is also a good way to establish the overall structure of a newsletter. This will provide you with insights with regards to the type of content to use, images, and how to effectively create a call-to-action.
Knowing what you now know about your competitors’ newsletters, the next step is to consider what resources you have available. Time is the biggest resource you will need to invest as testing and monitoring results can be very time-consuming.
Lastly, consider how successful your newsletter will be. Is it in line with your overall goals? Is your business looking to increase more leads and traffic? If you have answered yes to those questions, then newsletter marketing is right up your alley!
Components Of A Newsletter
Now that you have established that a newsletter is a good fit for your business, let’s look at the different components of an effective newsletter.
Subject lines are used to identify the intent of an email. Being the first thing a person sees in their inbox, it is safe to say it is the most important part of any newsletter. Just because someone has subscribed to your content does not necessarily mean that they will want to open the email, so the subject line needs to create enough motive for the reader to feel compelled to want to know more.
Some suggest that keeping the subject line the same creates familiarity with the audience, however, this does not guarantee higher open rates. While others suggest keeping the subject line different in order to create an incentive on every email sent.
The pre-header copy is just as important as the subject line. This is an extra bit of text that is included after the subject line to give the reader more of a direction on what to expect.
Many brands fall into the mistake of adding as much content as possible into their newsletters. This causes it to look very cluttered and unfocused, confusing the reader. The key with the content is to make sure to focus on one specific subject. Making sure you are focusing on one topic will give the reader more direction to your main call-to-action.
Another aspect to keep in mind is the balance between informative content and promotion. Although everyone likes to know about promotions, that is not all your newsletter should highlight. Subscribers will not want to see product-related news 100% of the time, so make sure to incorporate educational content as well.
The last aspect to focus on is a concise copy. Your goal is not to keep your audience in the email part of the newsletter, you want to direct them to your website, blog, landing pages, etc. Writing a concise copy will make sure you are writing just enough to spark interest, hopefully getting them to your desired destination.
Graphics And Copy Design
Including eye-catching images is a good way to add personality to your newsletter and to keep your audience engaged with your content. Every image added to a newsletter should have an alt text. An alt text in short is an image description, usually a short sentence. It is important to incorporate this because not everyone has their images enabled in their emails, and if that is the case, the description will be served to them, highlighting the extra piece of content included.
The design copy can also influence engagement. Newsletter layouts are designed to make sure the readers follow the content in a way that nurtures them to the final CTA. With this in mind, there needs to be enough white space in the newsletter to eliminate clutter and help the reader understand the purpose of the content that is being served to them.
A call-to-action (CTA) is the use of words or phrases to prompt a response with your subscribers that are in line with your overall goals. You can have multiple complementary CTAs, which will not be towards fulfilling the main objective, but the main CTA should clearly outline the action you would like them to take.
Newsletter Preference Selection
This section is not a necessity, however, it is recommended to add this at the end of your newsletter. This will give a business an opportunity to engage with their audience even further
By giving the reader the option to opt-in for a specific type of content. This will ensure ultimate personalization as well as increase engagement with the brand.
Brands might want to refrain from including an unsubscribe button, but companies should focus their resources on the most engaged subscribers. Including a visible unsubscribe button will make sure the email list gets cleared out automatically and that the emails are not marked as SPAM.
Test, Test, and Then Test Again
Once your newsletter is complete, the work is still not done! What might have worked for your competitors might not have the same effect with your audience, so it is important to test all the different aspects of your newsletter and list the best practices.
Test your subject lines. Try subject lines that are purely promotional or others that are infused with humor. The ones with the highest open rates would be the ones to focus on.
Test your CTA and your copy design. Try different colors for your CTA and different layouts for the newsletter and keep an eye out to see what is converting. Take notes and make the appropriate changes.
Test out mobile responsiveness. The truth is that nowadays many users use their mobile on a daily basis. Make sure that on a mobile screen it still looks visually appealing and engaging. Make changes accordingly.
Lastly, test out the sender’s name. A study conducted showed that emails get 7% more opens and 2% more clicks if the email has been addressed by someone.
Test out anything else you might find important to improve your audience engagement. There is a lot to think about when putting a newsletter together but hopefully by now you have a clear idea of how to approach this. Remember that not every industry or business will require a newsletter so think carefully about your goals and the resources you have available to you before you set this up.
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