Sending a company email newsletter to your customers and prospects is a nice idea. But the actual reality of creating and sending one with a compelling message is a complex undertaking that requires careful planning and execution. One crucially important variable is the fact that you need a marketing automation solution with newsletter software capabilities to help you create and send an effective email newsletter to your constituents.
Having such a solution is par for the course these days, and you can even get a full marketing automation solution for free—check out Agile CRM’s free solution. With the base understanding that you need marketing automation to assist you through the process, here are some tips that will help you create an email newsletter that delivers the perfect message to your audience.
Tip 1: Define your purpose
What do you wish to accomplish with your email newsletter? You may simply want to use it as a tool to grow revenue.
Or, you may have a specific segment of customers where customer satisfaction is low, and you want to keep them more informed about the progress you’re making towards improving their experience with your product and brand.
Those are two very different goals, and the newsletter you develop will look quite different for each of them, respectively. That’s why it’s so important to determine the “why” before you move any further.
Tip 2: Determine your scope
What is the desired breadth of your newsletter? You may decide that you want it to cover everything you do, including every product and service you offer, and updates on every division of your business.
Or, you may decide that you just want to cover one product or service category. It can be hard to be all things to all people, so often a focused scope works well.
On the other hand, if you run a small business, it’s likely that you can indeed cover everything in one newsletter. Context is very important here, so be sure to determine a scope that nicely fits the context of your business.
Tip 3: Set your cadence
There’s nothing more annoying about email newsletters than a company sending you their “monthly” newsletter every five months.
You need to be consistent in how often you send your newsletter, which can easily be done with the right newsletter software. It’s important to understand your capacity to generate valuable content that will engage readers.
Are there enough new things to announce to warrant a newsletter every month? And if so, do you have the staff capacity to turn that into a strong newsletter every time?
If so, great. If not, then you may want to consider sending your newsletter on a quarterly basis. As with most content, it’s better to focus on quality than quantity. Otherwise, you will start to see your newsletter readership decline.
Tip 4: Keep your message concise
It’s important to keep your newsletter short and concise. After all, it’s not a newspaper. And very few people will want to read about your company for 20 minutes.
Keep in mind that concise copy does not equate to reduced information or value. Rather, you want to say as much as you can in as few words as possible. Attention spans are dramatically decreasing in the digital era, and your readers will want to be able to digest all the information in just a few minutes.
Make it punchy. Pack it with information. Be sure the message is highly relevant to the target audience—you can even personalize it if you want. But keep it brief and concise so that readers can get your message quickly. If they have to read large blocks of unbroken, wordy text, you will lose them.
Tip 5: Use headers and subheaders
Use them as much as possible, without going overboard, of course. Headers and subheaders help break up the content so that readers can digest it more quickly.
In reality, most of your readers won’t read every word of your email newsletter. Headers and subheaders allow the reader to skim your content and get the general gist without having to read everything. They also let readers zero in on the topics that they care about and are interested in, which keeps them more engaged. With the right email newsletter template, you can easily format your newsletter with headers and subheaders.
Tip 6: Use calls-to-action
If you use your email newsletter to share your newest blog articles, you will want to only include a brief description of the article, then link to the entire piece with a call-to-action. This is easily done with the right newsletter app.
And the same applies to anything that can be read in full elsewhere. This helps to keep the content brief and concise.
Key tip: Be cautious about making your newsletter to salesy—remember that you’re sharing news, not pitching your products and services… at least not overtly.
Tip 7: Include images or other visuals
Using images and other visuals in your newsletter makes it easier on the eye and breaks up the content so that readers can more easily digest it. They also help your newsletter appear longer and more substantial without overloading it with text.
If you have charts or graphs that can convey the same information that you might otherwise put in paragraph form, do so. It further reduces the time your reader must spend with your newsletter to understand the message you are sharing.
Tip 8: A/B test your subject line
When you are starting out, select two catchy subject lines and go with them. Don’t rack your brain trying to pick the perfect subject line right from the start. Rather, select two that you are confident in, then A/B test them (i.e., use each one for half of the first email send). Then check the results.
You will find that one of them produced a better open rate, and you will want to go with that one moving forward. You can always A/B test another subject line later on but be cautious about A/B testing too much, because you run the risk of confusing your readership.
Ultimately, you want them to recognize your newsletter from the subject line, so A/B test, but don’t overdo it. A/B testing can be your best friend if done properly.
Tip 9: Track click-through rates
Open rates will tell you how effective your subject line is. Equally, your click-through rate will tell you how effective the body of your newsletter is.
If your readers are not clicking on your calls-to-action, it’s probably time to shake things up a bit and experiment with different types of information. You should always measure the effectiveness of your email marketing, and newsletters are no exception.
Tip 10: Make it mobile responsive
This goes for all your marketing emails. More and more, people are reading your emails on a smartphone or tablet, so it’s critically important that you use a marketing automation platform that allows for mobile responsiveness.
According to eMailmonday, mobile devices account for 20 to 75% of all email opens, depending on your target audience. The last thing you want is for someone to open your email newsletter and see that half of it has been truncated and is not legible.
Tip 11: Provide real value
If you don’t, you’ll lose your audience rapidly. This is another reason why the idea of a newsletter is a nice one, but the reality of creating an effective one is complex. You need to provide substance in the information you provide.
Avoid sharing the same news twice. Try to include as much helpful and educational information as possible, such as best practices articles that help your customers become more successful in their jobs.
Not only will this result in higher open and click rates, but it will also help establish you as a thought leader in your space—one that people look to when they have questions or need advice. And that generates great brand recognition and brand awareness.
With the technology available today and fierce competition in the space, you can find free email newsletter software that provides you with a free newsletter creator/builder. This lets the non-tech-savvy get the job done easily. With that technology in place, it’s easy to create a professional looking email newsletter in no time.
The important thing is that your message is timely and relevant to your readership. Following the guidelines laid out above will help you hone in on the perfect message to engage your audience.
Do your research, find the best newsletter software for your needs, follow the above tips and you’ll be on your way to delighting your audience with world-class newsletter content.