The Art of the Email Newsletter
Newsletters are a great way to share information, updates and content with your readers. They can also serve as a tool to help convert readers into viable leads for your business, if used correctly. We’ve all been on the receiving end of numerous newsletters that we’ve forgotten we even signed up for, and have promptly hit “unsubscribe” on. So instead of resigning ourselves to a life of newsletter obscurity, let’s take a look at some hacks that can turn your normal newsletter into a lead-generation machine.
One: Write Strong Subject Lines
Your email inbox is competitive and each and every email is vying for your attention. Which ones will you open and which ones will you add to the pile to mass delete? Well, that often depends on how good your subject line is.
The elusive subject line is, without question, the most crucial piece of the puzzle. Did you know that 35% of recipients choose to open their email based solely on the strength of the subject line alone? This means that without a catchy subject line, on a good day, only 65% of recipients will open your email. That’s not even a C+ in grading. We can do better than that.
Tips to Improve Your Subject Lines, and Opening Rates
- Vary your subject line: Don’t just reuse and recycle the same subject lines for every email you send out. We get it, Todd, it’s the monthly newsletter. I don’t need to see that in every subject line every single month.
- Optimize your subject line for mobile: More and more people are checking their emails from their phones. You could write a killer subject line but it could be truncated for mobile and lose all of its awesomeness or potency. You can use a free online tool like Zurb to preview how your subject line and pre-header text will appear on mobile.
- Use emojis: It’s 2021, kids, so don’t be afraid to use those emojis! And if you need real data to help convince you – 56% of brands that used emojis in their subject line saw improvements to their opening rates. Boom, science.
Two: Test and Choose the Best Sender
People tend to be a little more cautious these days when choosing which emails to open, especially if it’s from someone they don’t know. With that in mind, it’s important to consider “who” your newsletter is coming from. If you are a huge empire (cough cough, Nike) then you can probably get by on using your brand name as the sender. That being said, if your company is not a household name, you might want to take a more personal approach and use the name of a real person as the sender. It adds some authenticity and feels more personal.
Three: Create A Template and Optimize It
There are a number of factors that go into picking a newsletter template, but with that being said, here are a few golden rules that should apply to any template/service/tool that you use to create your newsletter:
- Optimize for mobile. Please, please, please remember to do this! Nothing is more irksome for a mobile-user than opening an email and having it be unreadable or truncated for whatever reason. Single-column layouts usually work best for mobile, but play around and see what works for your newsletter.
- Ensure that your template meets the standard email width of 600px.
- Ensure that your template is easily editable. That way you can make changes as needed or even further optimize it in the future based on reader feedback.
Four: Create a Scannable Newsletter
People are busy. But people also want to read your email newsletter. So, make it easy for them to scan your content by using subheaders and bullets to break up text. Guide readers to your CTA. Use images to draw their attention to key areas. Help them find what they need to find in the shortest amount of time possible. That’s it.
Five: Use Effective CTA Design
Just like optimizing your template, you’ll also want to optimize your CTAs so that you can actually turn these readers into leads. There’s a few ways to go about doing this effectively:
- Include CTAs multiple times throughout your newsletter (though don’t go too crazy — three is usually a good amount, beginning, middle and end)
- Use different formats for your CTAs. Make use of buttons and hyperlinks. Variety is your friend.
- Use colours for your CTA. Make it easy for people to spot by using a different colour for them.
Now, I know we said five tips, but I wanted to throw in one bonus for you all, because this one is super important.
Six: Test and Optimize
This last tip is what I call the “Brian McKnight”, because once we go through the testing and optimization phase, we will “start back at one” and tweak everything above based on our data.
Basic testing includes checking for readability across all devices, proofing for typos and spelling errors, and ensuring that any images are appearing correctly and unbroken.
Optimizing is done by analyzing data like the open rate, click-through rate, conversions and unsubscribes. As I said, after reviewing this information we will go back to step one and go through this entire process again until your newsletter emerges as a lead generation machine.
Try out these newsletter tips and let me know how you do! Not interested in jumping into the deep end on your own? Drop me a line and let’s see if we can work together to make your website and business really stand out! 😘