Out of the many ways you can market your business, email newsletters are one of the most effective. They can seem a bit antiquated compared to other methods of getting your message out — Twitter, Instagram, blogs, mobile-responsive websites, etc. But that may be part of the reason that a good email newsletter is successful; it allows you to cut through the noise and give your targeted audience exactly what they need in an easy-to-access package.
However, if your newsletter isn’t getting the type of results you are hoping for, it’s time to reconsider your strategy. A sign that your email newsletter is not performing up to expectations is your readers have low rates of engagement. They don’t click through links, and might not even open the email. Some of these reasons include:
- You have more people unsubscribing to your newsletters than new subscribers.
- None of your readers send replies to ask questions, offer comments, or contribute.
- The email newsletter is unattractive.
- You have trouble putting the newsletter together due to lack of inspiration, information, or input from co-workers.
If you’re like most entrepreneurs who use email newsletters, you have been working hard to build your subscriber list. You’ve created content to give away for signups, offered deals, and gone to the trouble and expense of setting up email capture forms on your website. Don’t let that investment go to waste! With some creativity and persistence, you can make your newsletter shine — and get results.
Track Your Metrics
Image via Flickr by GrapeCity
First off, if you’re not using an email marketing platform that gives you detailed reports on several important metrics, you’re doing it wrong. Services such as Aweber and MailChimp offer a host of information you can use to determine how well your newsletter is doing. Some of the metrics you need to track include:
- Open rate
- Bounce rate
- Delivery rate
- Spam complaint rate
- Subscriber list growth rate
- Click-through rate
- Sharing rate
- Revenue generated per email
- Conversion rate
- Unsubscribe rate
If you don’t have good statistics on your email newsletter’s performance, you’ll have a hard time improving it.
Use A/B Testing
One of the best strategies to improve any marketing campaign’s effectiveness is to do A/B testing. To do this, you construct different versions of your newsletter with the same content to see which performs better. For best results, change one element and send each to different portions of your subscriber list. Testing two different subject lines and comparing their open rates can give you insight into what triggers your readers to read the newsletter.
You can use this information to design your next newsletter — and keep testing out new ideas on parts of your subscriber list to see if you’ve come up with something even better.
Give Your Newsletter a Facelift
Once you’ve gotten your subscribers to open your email, your newsletter may still fail if it’s not attractive. Although there are still some people who prefer plain text newsletters, most people have no problem with well-designed HTML newsletter templates. Spruce it up with punchy fonts, eye-catching photographs, and user-friendly navigation. Most email marketing services provide predesigned templates, so you can choose the one most appropriate for your audience and content.
Also, keep in mind that more than half of all email is opened on a mobile device. Therefore, it’s important that your newsletter is responsive so it automatically resizes depending on which device it appears.
Engagement and click-throughs soar when you add interactive elements to your newsletter. This involves more than offering links to full articles on your website, although that’s a start. Here are some interactive features you can add:
- Surveys and polls: To encourage participation, allow readers to view the survey results in real-time after they add their response. You could also offer a coupon or giveaway as a reward. If your survey is a simple one question element, place it right in the middle of your newsletter.
- Videos: Link to a video hosted on your website or on YouTube that is relevant to the newsletter content. You could also embed them directly.
- Calendars: Suggest the reader click on a button to access a calendar of events.
- Scratch cards and other contests: Encourage readers to click an instant “scratch card” or send in contest entries to win a great prize.
- Call to action: If you want your readers to do something as a result of reading your newsletter, make it clear what they should do and why.
Be careful, however, not to use too many interactive or graphic elements. In doing so, you risk overwhelming the reader and getting exactly the opposite of the response you want. Also, don’t just use these features because you can; make sure they are relevant to the newsletter content, the purpose you want to achieve, and the audience.
Comply With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The GDPR is a European Union (EU) based privacy law that governs how businesses can collect information on private citizens, as well as what they are allowed to do with that information once it’s in their possession. Although it applies only to EU citizens, all businesses need to be aware of it because it’s likely that an EU citizen will subscribe to the email newsletter — and it’s a good practice to implement anyway. It has five main components:
- Right to data access: Private citizens can request and receive details on the information you are storing and how it’s used.
- Data portability: Private citizens can request all data to be sent to another business so they can switch to another service provider.
- Right to rectification: Private citizens have the right to change any incorrect information that is being stored.
- Right to be forgotten: At any point, a private citizen may request data erasure of all information being stored about them.
- Breach notification: EU citizens must be notified within 72 hours of any breach that compromises the security of their private information.
Compliance with the GDPR may not directly improve your newsletter’s metrics and sales conversion, but failure to comply can result in hefty fines and other legal action. Therefore, it’s vital to keep this in mind while designing your email newsletter.
Tweaking and making small changes to your company’s email newsletter can have a big payoff. Just like any other marketing method, the key is to be creative, test, and track the results. Above all else, have fun and be enthusiastic instead of just seeing this as another chore to be completed — your audience will notice, and your positivity will be contagious.