There’s plenty of research out there on the performance of email newsletters, examining everything from subject lines to time of day at a granular level. That’s not what we’re looking at in this particular post. We’re looking at how you put together that email newsletter you’ve been meaning to send for weeks (months?) and can’t seem to get around to.
I can tell you with complete assurance that any good email newsletter you send will get better results than the email newsletter you don’t send.
So here’s how to get that newsletter built and out into the mailboxes of your customers.
First, make sure you have your newsletter set up through a service. In theory, you could send emails to a thousand of your dearest friends from your personal email, but in practice it’s a good way to lose your personal email service. We use MailChimp, but we’ve used Constant Contact, iConnect, and various others on behalf of clients with success.
Pick a template from those offered, or add your own custom template. For this example, we used a pre-made seasonal one provided by MailChimp.
Here’s what you’re looking at:
- Make sure your subject line is not spammy, and that it sounds like your company. We put “free cowboy boots” in ours and it got the lowest open rate we’ve ever seen for our house list, but usually you want something to entice your readers to open it. Choose something you know your customers find interesting or are thinking about right now.
- Make sure your logo or other visual elements show your readers who you are right away. If you use pre-made templates, this is especially important. Many people who are enticed to open by a compelling subject line will be looking first to see if it’s junk mail.
- If you have news, lead with it, but remember that most of your readers are thinking about themselves, not about you. We assume that our readers aren’t interested in our company news, but that some of them will need to know that we’re closing for the holiday. Other company news
- Give people a clue about what’s coming up in the newsletter to encourage them to keep reading.
- Special offers are a good reason to send out a newsletter, and it makes sense to include them in a newsletter even if you have to make one up for the purpose. Be sure to set things up so you can measure the results. For example, if you always offer a free consultation, you can still measure clicks through the special link or ask visitors to use a special code in requesting an appointment.
- We always include links to blog articles; for some clients, we provide the beginning of the article along with a link. We also generally write a new article so regular readers still get something new. And we nearly always include a video — when we don’t, our click through rate is much lower. Just get some good content in, and watch what happens.
- We also provide links to other resources. If you don’t like to do that, you could invite readers to follow you at social media platforms or link to a Pinterest board — if all the links are to your website, visitors might click through just once, while clicks at the bottom of the page show that people have scrolled down to read.
- Have a call to action in addition to links to click on. We like to include a phone number or email for people to get in touch with us. You might also offer a white paper or other free download, or a coupon if you have a brick and mortar presence.
Once you add all that content, you’ll have enough to make an appealing newsletter.