Email Newsletter Marketing – A General Guideline + Recommendations
We’ve all done it. You love a company, product or service so when you see on their site a ‘subscribe to our newsletter’ button you think: “Hey, why not? I’d like to keep up with what these guys are up to…”. Fast forward a few months and you’ve got an inbox clogged up with newsletters you’ve not read, and you’re considering unsubscribing. You weren’t grabbed by the ones you did look at, and you just don’t have a the time or inclination to make the effort anymore.
With that… Some helpful guides to engage your email newsletter subscribers.
Target Your Audience – Who are your emails aimed at?
There are many ways to use a newsletter depending on what business you are in. It could be that you wish to notify people of a new service, or an update them on an existing one. Maybe you want to shout about a special offer, an exclusive deal, preview or discount. Before you launch into a newsletter design, it’s important to nail down exactly what it’s trying to achieve.
Your recipients have chosen to receive your updates so keep them as your priority. Learn who they are and always have them in mind when creating your newsletters. What do you think they’re interested in? What do you want to share with them?
This is about how you would talk to the recipients if you were with them. Newsletters are generally friendly, a casual variety of digital communications, so write how you would speak, this will make it easier and quicker for readers to digest.
Keep it focused.
Whether you’re going for a corporate style to fit strict branding or something more creative, make sure your email newsletter doesn’t come across as merely a vehicle for as much unrelated content as possible. So many, shoehorn every link from their site into a newsletter. Noise is irritating. Keep your focus tight.
Give some personality.
Traditional advice is to keep your newsletter simple. However, what’s more important is that at a glance, your newsletter design needs to reflect you, your company and your message. Originality – what’s wrong with that?
Section headings and story titles.
Headings and titles are critical – and pretty tricky to master. Be mindful of what captures your attention when you’re browsing a newsletter or webpage. What draws you in? You can have a brilliant article but if your heading isn’t interesting enough it could be bypassed. Content and headings are equally important.
The header will appear on every newsletter you send out, so you need to spend time on getting this right. It should instantly convey the brand’s values visually, and ideally create an emotional response in the subscriber that makes them feel like they’re getting a beautifully designed present – not a piece of unwanted spam.
As on a website, the footer is in many ways as important as the header, giving the design a rounded feel and a sense of completeness. It’s where the reader expects to find contact details. It can also include an easy way for subscribers to share the newsletter or part of its contents with friends, via email or social media. Oh and it should definitely include a link allowing them to unsubscribe.
Use of images.
A email newsletter full of text can be very boring to look at, and images can be a really great way of communicating what you are about to your readers. If you have some really good photos of events, staff, or your products ‘Out in the wild’, think about including them. If you don’t have any, think about that next time there is a lunch or event.
Build subscribers’ expectations.
Newsletters are great at building a sense of expectation. It doesn’t have to be something that you have already done – maybe share some of your dreams and hopes for your company. If you have a product launch in six months, take your readers on that journey with you – the ups and the downs – get people as excited as you are about what you are working towards.
Tell a Story.
Sharing your story as your company/project grows is a very powerful way to find people who want to be part of that story too – and your email newsletter can let them know how they can be. Be imaginative in how that narrative is conveyed visually – there is no ‘rule’ to say that a newsletter has to be a dry list of links.
Keep an eye in the analytics.
Services like Mailchimp and Active Campaign can provide you with oodles of information about what your subscribers are doing with your newsletters – but don’t get too obsessed with it. Analytics can give you a clue as to what is working and what isn’t in general terms, but get distracted and you’ll over think it.
Physical newsletters were traditionally one-way pieces of communication, but the web should be all about two-way conversations. Digital newsletters, in other words, are a great way to get people involved – so consider introductions, a competition or asking for feedback.
Not to get all Pavlov’s Dog, but if your newsletter is regular then people will start to expect and even look forward to it at certain times. Keep in mind how often your newsletter needs to be send though, this will vary wildly depending on its purpose. There is a fine line between keeping people updated and spamming.
Don’t expect your readers to only take on board message about your company, business or sponsors. Give them more, people know when they are being sold to and that’s okay if they want to hear about it, but why not include other stuff? Stuff that supports other causes and businesses, it doesn’t mean people will be less interested in you. Support other causes that you respect and you never know maybe one day they return the favour.
There are many elements to keep in mind when you are creating your newsletter, try and use your instinct and trust that with practice you’ll begin to feel what’s right and what’s not.
Do you have a newsletter up and running? Share it with us in the comments below, we would love to join your journey.
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