A regular newsletter can boost your audience engagement, help you retain customers, and provide opportunities for cross-selling. It can also give you insight into what your customers want and enable you to build relationships with potential customers so they don’t forget about you before they’re ready to buy your products or services.
How do you create the perfect newsletter? This depends heavily on your target audience, but there are some basic tips that ring true across the board.
Make It Easy to Digest
In 2015, more than 200 billion emails were sent and received each day throughout the world. Some members of your target audience may feel like a significant portion of those emails are in their inbox. People aren’t likely to want to spend a long time reading verbose blocks of text in your emails.
Break up the newsletter into chunks, using headlines and images to make a product that is easy to scan and that doesn’t bury the main points. If you believe that your subscribers would like to see some long-form content from you, you can include just the first part of your post in the newsletter and insert a link that leads to the rest of it. Alternatively, you can spread out a long article over more than one newsletter.
Use Striking Visuals
As the old cliché states, a picture is worth a thousand words. And since the average newsletter subscriber will spend less than a minute reading a newsletter, you want to make sure they take in as much information as possible during that time.
Use not only static images, but also video clips, graphs, and infographics. However, be cautious that you don’t overstuff your newsletter with items that will take a long time to load when consumers open your email. No one wants to look at a bunch of empty white boxes.
Employ a Variety of Content
As with any type of content marketing, a newsletter is an opportunity to pull all the tools out of your content-creation box of goodies. Here are some things you might choose to include in your newsletters:
- Success stories. What has your company accomplished lately? Let your customers know when you’ve reached goals or when one of your people has gone above and beyond in serving your consumers.
- Surveys. Invite your subscribers to take part in a meaningful survey. Later, share the results of that survey. This will help you connect with your customers and make them feel more engaged.
- Blog recaps. Your loyal subscribers might not have time to keep up with your blog, so you can highlight important posts from the recent past.
- Tips and how-tos. Include helpful advice for how to get the most out of your products or include seasonal pointers that relate to what your business does.
Include a Call to Action
Try to include a call to action in each piece of content in your newsletter. You don’t want to seem pushy, but you want to make it easy for your subscribers to find the link that leads to your website, whether you’re trying to get them to buy right away or learn more about your products and services.
You can include a simple text link to your site, but inserting a prominent button instead is likely to increase your conversion rate. Your click-through rate could increase by as much as 28 percent. A button is more effective than a text link because it is larger, features eye-catching colors, and has attractive design elements.
Keep Your Newsletters Short and Frequent
Image via Flickr by Rob Enslin
Making newsletters too long is one of the most common newsletter mistakes. Don’t overwhelm your subscribers with a newsletter that seems to go on and on. A rule of thumb is that if your newsletter is longer than 500 words, which is equal to about one printed page, it is too long.
Because your newsletters should be short, does that mean you should send them more often? Experiment to see how your customers respond to different frequencies. Some companies send out a daily newsletter, but doing so takes a lot of work to make sure they continuously deliver high-quality content. Many businesses find that a weekly newsletter is effective.
You could give your subscribers the option of choosing how often they want to receive your emails. They might want to subscribe to brief daily updates, a weekly summary, or a more in-depth monthly newsletter.
Don’t Confuse Your Newsletter With an Advertisement
While it is true that you should include calls to action in your newsletter, you shouldn’t make it all about selling. The newsletter should impart useful information.
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To avoid giving the impression that you’re out to bleed your subscribers dry, make it a point to include industry news that isn’t directly about your company. This will showcase your expertise and help you to build trust with your subscribers.
A newsletter isn’t a blanket solution that will engage all of your customers. A clothing company, for example, might lose attention if it sends out a newsletter that focuses on women’s fashion if the company also sells men’s clothes and some of its newsletter subscribers are men.
Segmentation is one of the most overlooked email marketing strategies; you can give yourself an edge by taking advantage of it. Start by focusing on one or two key variables within your target market. This could deal with gender, location, or age. You might also tweak your newsletter for people who have not opened your emails in a while; for them, you might need to concentrate more on creating an appealing subject line.
Search for Inspiration
When you’ve subscribed to newsletters in the past, what worked? What didn’t? Take some time to browse through your own inbox and analyze newsletters. You can note things like how the content is arranged, the design schemes, the calls to action, and more. Your design team can take those notes and use them to improve your own newsletter.
Creating the perfect newsletter for your business is a matter of knowing your target market and choosing appealing content. By following the tips above, you can take your business’s newsletter to the next level.
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