Newsletters can be a tricky piece of content for any type of company. You know they’re important, but what do you put in them? What is going to keep people on your subscription list? How should they be formatted? You know you want to get it right, but you’re not sure how. Well, we’re here to show you some effective strategies you can put in place to make your newsletter duties a little less daunting.
1. Figure Out Optimal Timing
Image via Flickr by dgoomany
Timing is everything when it comes to sending business emails. Inboxes get so crowded, that if your newsletter swoops in at the same time as everything else, it can quickly be grouped into the delete pile. This is going to be different for everyone, so you need to take your time to properly analyze what works best for your readers. Not everyone is going to be on the same schedule, but you should shoot for when the most people open your newsletter.
Luckily, plenty of platforms offer this analysis for you. MailChimp went in-depth when analyzing time optimization and found that a great starting point is during the workweek in midmorning. They also found there’s a shift depending on your audience. The key takeaway here is to test. Test what day and what time gets you the most open rates and clickthrough rates.
2. Give Something Away
No, it doesn’t have to be a t-shirt, but it should be something your readers find valuable. For example, every week, CopyPress offers its subscribers an article that’s exclusive to the newsletter. It can’t be found anywhere on the site if you’re looking for it. That’s how you’re reading this article right now.
People like free stuff. They also like to feel a sense of community and like they’re in something exclusive. There’s no better way to capitalize on that than by offering them something other people don’t get. It could be a coupon code, insight into when the next big sale is so they can get a head start before anyone else finds out, exclusive content, expert tips, and more. The sky is the limit.
3. Don’t Forget About Mobile
Mobile is only getting bigger, it’s the leading digital platform, and if you want to reach your audience, you’re going to need to optimize for it. This is easily done through email platforms. However, there are also some simple steps you can take to ensure you’re message is coming across easily on smaller screens.
For starters, make fonts larger. The larger the font is, the easier the readability (to an extent). The goal is to avoid readers needing to zoom in. You’ll also want to format content in a single column, keep all content concise and relevant, and make your call-to-action a touchable button.
4. Keep it Simple
The last thing you need is for your newsletter to look like the one your wild aunt sends out over the holidays that’s overstuffed with content and full of kooky fonts and graphics. Your newsletter should be simple and clean. That should help you breathe a little easier.
Keeping it simple means making your newsletter easy to digest. Try to avoid using a lot of columns. As a matter of fact, one column is what you should shoot for. Don’t overdo it with images. Consider using a header image that’s relevant and high-quality, and all subsequent images should be smaller and in-line with your content. They shouldn’t slow the loading of your email or come off as erroneous.
You want your copy to be informative, but concise. That doesn’t mean you have to lose your personality, but it shouldn’t be rambling and fluffy. Get to the point without being pushy or salesy. People want to read content that is relevant and useful when they open a newsletter. They don’t want a bunch of sales pitches..
5. Set a Schedule and Stick to It
Consistency is key when it comes to newsletters. Your readers should be able to expect your newsletters on the same day and at the same time. It gives them something they can look forward to. It also proves you are reliable. People learn they can always expect something timely from you.
Setting a schedule that works for you is important, but you also don’t want to underwhelm or overwhelm your audience. They shouldn’t forget you have a newsletter, but they shouldn’t be searching for that “unsubscribe” button either. Once a week is a perfect place to start, but as with the timing of your newsletter, you’ll need to test this out. Each industry has a different preference. You’ll learn that only through testing it for yourself. Once you find that sweet spot, stay there (unless you notice things are taking a turn).
If you’ve got a lot of content but don’t want to bombard users, consider offering flexible subscription terms. Let the reader choose if they’d prefer a daily, weekly, or monthly update from you.
6. Make it Personal
That doesn’t mean adding the [first name] tag and calling it a day. That means creating adaptive content. Granted, this does take more time and requires multiple templates with varying information, but readers love when content is tailored to them. You’ll need to segment your subscription list and create newsletters for each segment. For example, you can create one geared toward people who recently purchased something, people in certain age ranges, people living in certain areas of the country or world, people who signed up for other services of yours, etc.
Doing this gives your content a personal touch, which readers appreciate more and more, and it allows you to target a little more narrowly to increase open rates and clickthrough rates. People will want to read more about what applies to them specifically.
The newsletter doesn’t have to be the one task you keep putting at the end of your to-do list. If you employ these strategies, you’ll find it actually improves user engagement and may even lead to some sales.