Don’t Give Up on Email: Create Newsletters Your Audience Can’t Wait to Open

Don’t Give Up on Email: Create Newsletters Your Audience Can’t Wait to Open

Many companies have moved away from email when it comes to their marketing strategy. Instead, they have chosen to focus on social media and other forms of content delivery, such as white papers or webinars. While those are all great components of a solid marketing strategy, email newsletters can still be a great tool for delivering content. By combining responsive design with the perfect content formula, you can create newsletters your audience can’t wait to open.

create great email newsletters

The Subject is Your First Line of Defense

Most people get 10-20 emails a day, at a minimum. For professionals that rely on email as the main source of communication between themselves and coworkers or clients, that number sometimes can be increased tenfold. As a result, people are increasingly protective of their inbox and the time it takes to go through emails each day. By focusing on a great subject line that  delivers, your audience can learn to look out for your specific newsletter, thus leading to higher open rates.

The perfect subject line is a mix of consistency and mystery. If you start it with your newsletter name (or your company name), customers automatically know what to expect. However, if you follow with a little intrigue, their curiosity will compel them to click. Here’s a (made-up) example: Acme Gift Newsletter: 5 Gifts Women Love, No Matter The Occasion.

Exclusive Content

Once you’ve hooked your audience with the subject line of the email, you have to keep their interest with unique and exclusive content they aren’t going to find on your blog or elsewhere. It is worth your time to create unique content for your newsletter, because it helps its exclusivity.

If you don’t have the resources to write 300-400 word feature articles for your newsletters, at least spend a few moments and write summaries of that month’s (or week’s, depending on your newsletter frequency) existing blog posts, with an outgoing link to them.  It can be only 25-100 words, but that unique summary can drive a lot more interest and clicks than simply copying and pasting the first few sentences of the blog post because it provides context.

Company Insight

Your content shouldn’t rely on your own content alone. Use your email newsletter as an opportunity to share more about your company and the people working for it. Include photos from the last company BBQ or lunch event, or even ask a designer to include a comic or illustration that describes the company for that month. Personalizing your newsletter content (or any content, really) creates a sense of trust for your audience.

By creating a sense of intimacy, your audience will learn to not only rely on the wealth of beneficial information available to them in your newsletters, but your products and services as well. In addition, when it comes down to it, people are nosy. They like to peek behind the scenes to see what no one else gets to see. Translating this interest into a few photos or sentences about what your company is up to helps them feel like they know something exclusive.

Exclusive Promotions

Another nod toward that intimacy and exclusivity is promotions that are for newsletter subscribers only. While it isn’t important to force them not to share any promo or coupon codes that you give out, it is important to highlight that these codes are being sent to subscribers only. This will give them further incentive to open your newsletters, especially if you have a new code every month (or whatever specific time schedule works for your company).

If the idea of constantly giving out promo codes feels like you are devaluing your company (it shouldn’t), there’s other ways to get creative with it. Instead of featuring company-wide discounts, only choose one product to have a deep discount. For instance, if a t-shirt company sells pop culture and movie quote t-shirts for $19.99, they could make their “newsletter” t-shirt just $4.99. At such a crazy discount, the amount of purchases could also spur on additional items to be added to the shopping cart, especially if you pair it with a free shipping incentive.

Hand-Curated Content

No email newsletter should be made up completely of its own internal news and promotions. It is important to set yourself up as a resource by hand-curating additional outside articles and content (and even products!) from other sources. Take 10-20 minutes to select approximately 5 blog posts, case studies, or products that you and your company have found interesting.

While it isn’t a necessity to completely read every piece of content, be sure to do a quick scan to make sure it aligns with your company values. A great way to find content to curate into your email newsletter is to see what your social media team has shared lately, or ask employees to share their favorite articles or blogs of late with you.

Much like the “Employees’ Top Picks” shelf at a bookstore, hand curating content and resources in your newsletter provides yet another level of personalization that is of interest to your target audience (something they are hard-pressed to find anywhere else). When it comes to choosing content, as algorithms get smarter, the human hand is still hard to beat.

Beautiful Design & Usability

The final component of a great email newsletter that often gets noticed only at the sub-conscious level is design and usability. When you are getting 100+ emails a day (or even just 20), you don’t have time to try to squeeze and pinch your email screen on your smartphone or tablet to read content of a poorly-optimized newsletter.

Make sure your newsletter is responsive and test it across several devices. Make headers and text easy to read and combine them with graphics in your company’s color palette. These small touches often go unnoticed when they are done well, but will definitely be noticed (and complained about) when they done poorly.

While your email newsletter may not cover all these components, it is important to focus on getting the best content possible into the email inboxes of your target audience. Think about what your “perfect customer” would want and build it.

Tweet this: Email newsletters can still be a great tool for delivering content.

Tweet this: It is worth your time to create unique content for your newsletter, because it helps its exclusivity.

Tweet this: Make sure your newsletter is responsive and test it across several devices.

Tweet this: Think about what your “perfect customer” would want and build it.

photo credit: Horia Varlan via cc

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Kelsey Jones helps clients around the world grow their social media, content, and search marketing presence. She enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.