I see a lot of mistakes when it comes to e-newsletters. Everyone wants one, but few people who have one actually do it well. If you want people to actually open and read your newsletters when you send them, then you need a strategy to make it successful. Just tossing some content into a template and hitting send isn’t enough.
Have Excellent Content
Don’t send a newsletter just to send a newsletter. The first step to having a great newsletter that people want to read is having compelling content. If you are just sending messages with random bits, filler text, and links, then your newsletter quality is going to be low and your subscribers are going to know that. I get a lot of newsletters in my inbox. I don’t read all of them. In fact, a lot of them I just hit delete without ever even opening because I already know that the quality of the newsletter is often poor. Don’t set yourself up for a poor quality reputation – plan your content, make it compelling, useful and thoughtful and you’ll be more likely to get your subscribers to open and read.
Side note: Keep it concise. Nobody wants to read a novel in their inbox.
Have an Engaging Subject Line
Your subject line may be the most important part of your entire newsletter. The subject line is the first thing your subscribers will see when they get your email and absolutely make the difference between whether they open the email or delete it. And change your subject line for each email. If you send the same old subject line each time it will get old really fast and your subscribers are going to be much more likely to discard the message. Turn off auto-pilot and create a new, engaging and compelling subject line for each and every message.
Examples of Boring Subject Lines
- This Week’s Newsletter
- News for the week
- Tidbits from me
- Weekly Updates
- Fall Newsletter for Jim’s Jungle Gym
Examples of Compelling Subject Lines
- Our biggest coupon yet is inside!
- Alert! We’re giving away free stuff!
- Top tips for saving money on heating this winter
- Don’t open this email!
- Look what you did…
- Stop wasting money on laundry detergent
- We want to hear from you!
Do you see the difference? If you’re engaging your reader, you’re much more likely to get a response. Don’t be afraid to appeal to the subscriber’s Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
Have an amazing call-to-action (CTA)
You might not believe how many newsletters I see without a clear and clever call-to-action. Your call-to-action is the “next step” – the thing you want your subscriber to do. Don’t just slop some copy in an email and send it, give your subscribers an actionable task, preferably one that you can measure. Include a download, a coupon, a phone number to call, or events to sign up for. Make it clear what your primary CTA is. That doesn’t mean you can’t have secondary CTAs, you can. Newsletters often share multiple articles.
Your subscribers should know it’s your newsletter, because it matches your site, and has your logo and colors. Don’t pull up random templates and toss in some content. People should know the email is from you the minute they see it because they identify your brand. Yes, MailChimp and Constant Contact, etc. have loads of great templates you can use and I recommend that you use one if you aren’t a designer. But you should still adjust it to match your brand.
And when it comes to designing your email, simplicity is good. It’s easy to pick out a nice looking template and get drawn down the rabbit hole into columns and images and CTAs, but in truth, a nice simple message may go farther with your audience than a busy HTML email with lots of headlines and buttons.
Plan with your target audience in mind
Know your audience. Remember, you are NOT your target audience. It doesn’t matter what you like. Know who your audience is and plan to appeal to them with your design and message. Different audiences have different needs and interests. Think about who your audience is and what they like and what they respond to when you plan your newsletter. This one tip may make the difference between someone who reads your newsletter and someone who doesn’t.
Getting people to read your newsletters is an uphill battle, but if you plan your newsletters with a solid strategy and excellent content, you’ll get a lot better responses.
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