8 Tips for Creating an Email Newsletter Your Subscribers Will Love
Running a successful business involves more than just promoting and selling a product. For your company to thrive, you must establish relationships with customers that continue after the sale.
Email newsletters can help you connect with your customers. To be effective, newsletters must be carefully crafted and offer something of value to your customers. Today’s consumers are highly selective about the emails they read, but crafting your newsletter around their needs will lead to more opens, more sales and happier customers.
To create a newsletter that delivers the results you want, follow these eight tips to craft one that delights your readers.
1. Spice up your subject line.
In 2014, the average business user sent and received an average of 121 e-mails each day. That number is expected to grow to 140 emails a day by 2018, which means you need to convince readers to open your newsletter in a matter of seconds. To cut through cluttered inboxes, you need a strong, catchy subject line that captures your reader’s attention.
The subject line is your chance to make a good first impression. Keep it short and sweet, but always be clear about the content of your emails. Misleading subject lines can damage your credibility, increasing the chances that future emails end up in the trash, or, worse yet, get marked as spam.
Before sending your newsletter, spend some extra time crafting a clear, concise subject line that hooks your reader. The best subject lines are succinct, direct and easy to scan in overcrowded inboxes, so we recommend keeping them around 50 characters or less.
If you need some inspiration, try asking a question. Consider this subject line from Strong Women, Strong Girls: ”Who was Wonder Woman’s Role Model?” Readers are inclined to open emails like these to find out the answer, so why not give it a shot? Your newsletter is competing for attention, but a well-crafted subject line will win your reader’s eyes again and again.
2. Get to the point.
When writing a newsletter, opt for brevity. With more than half of people reading emails on mobile devices, your subscribers don’t have time for long-winded emails. You must convey your message quickly.
To do this, write short sentences, use simple words, and avoid cliches and passive voice.
Words are like currency. Each one has value, so don’t spend them needlessly. Wasted words waste your reader’s time, serving no purpose but to dilute your message.
In fact, sales emails with 50-125 words have a response rate of more than 50 percent. So be brief. Use bullets, numbered lists and bold font to emphasize main ideas. Aim for clarity and skimmability.
3. Don’t be a robot. Show your personality.
No one likes receiving a dry marketing email that reads like an owner’s manual. If you want subscribers to actually read your newsletter, write a newsletter your subscribers want to read.
Your audience is craving authenticity, so don’t be afraid to sprinkle personality throughout your newsletter. An email with boring copy is all but guaranteed to end up in the trash and possibly even the junk folder, but a friendly, conversational tone invites readers in.
While writing, imagine speaking to a friend or co-worker, not a mass audience. Emails should connect with readers as individuals, not addresses on an email list. Being human keeps the line of communication open with your subscribers, which builds trust and credibility.
Not sure where to start? Check out our post on how to develop your tone and connect with email subscribers.
4. Use a single call to action.
Your newsletter should include one call to action that tells your readers what to do next, whether it’s signing up for a webinar, downloading an ebook, visiting your website or buying your product. Keep it short and concise. If the reader needs to scroll, place several CTAs throughout the copy so it’s easy for them to find.
Think of your call to action as a call to value. Clicking through is an investment in the reader’s time, so tell them exactly what to expect after clicking your CTA and why they’ll benefit.
CTAs consist of two parts: design and language. A well-designed CTA captures the reader’s attention, but your wording is what convinces them to click. When crafting your CTA, use action verbs to create a sense of urgency. Keep your language simple (see #2), and provide an incentive for clicking through.
A CTA can be formatted as text or a button, but either way, it should visibly stand out from the content in your newsletter. Bold fonts, vibrant colors, pictures and graphics are great tools for drawing a reader’s eye to your CTA.
You also need to consider the size and spacing of your CTAs. With more than half of all emails opened on mobile devices, CTAs should be big enough for a thumb to tap. Apple recommends making your touch target at least 44 pixels square. CTAs should also have white space around them to prevent readers from clicking one link when they meant to hit another. For more best practices, check out our Calls to Action Guide.
5. Don’t just sell. Educate.
Your subscribers should want to open your newsletter as soon as it appears in their inboxes. However, emails that only talk about your business can alienate subscribers, especially with consumers receiving between 3,000-20,000 brand messages per day.
To get readers excited about your emails, go beyond promoting your business and give readers information they find valuable. Consumers are inundated with traditional advertising messages, but using your newsletter to leverage educational content will help your brand stand out.
To start, take a look at your analytics account. Make note of the most successful content on your website and social media channels. Repurposing those topics for your newsletter is a great way to connect with readers and answer their questions about your business. It also opens a line of communication with your customers, increasing the chances that they’ll open your emails in the future.
You can also add links to blog posts, tutorials, ebooks and premium content to get readers onto your website. How-to articles, educational guides and infographics that answer your reader’s questions encourage them to learn more about your business, establishing credibility and trust.
6. Test your newsletter before hitting send.
Not all email clients are created equal. Depending on the service and device, the newsletter your subscribers receive could look different than the one you initially sent.
Before sending an email, test it to see how it looks from your subscriber’s perspective. Services like Hotmail, Gmail and Outlook display emails differently, which could result in misplaced text, color changes or cut-off images.
AWeber offers more than 700 email templates that have been tested across every email client, ensuring each message displays correctly. Our custom templates are also tested to help brands connect with their audiences seamlessly, regardless of the platform a message is opened on.
7. Slice and dice your email list with segmentation.
Segmenting lets you divide your email subscribers into smaller groups based on interest, location, activity and more. Once you’ve organized your subscribers, you can send relevant emails to specific groups. This keeps subscribers engaged, increasing the likelihood that they’ll read your newsletter regularly.
In fact, the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report found that 39 percent of marketers who used segmentation saw an increase in their open rate. Twenty-four percent experienced deliverability benefits and greater revenue, while another 28 percent saw a lower unsubscribe rate.
Clearly, segmentation delivers results, so don’t be afraid to divide and conquer. For more information, check out our complimentary guide, Segmenting Your Subscribers.
8. Make it pretty.
You could have the best copy in the world, but the design of your email can make or break its overall performance. Your newsletter doesn’t have to look fancy, but it should be visually appealing and easy to read.
When it comes to your copy, use a font that’s clean, simple and easy to read. Ornate type can distract from your message, especially if your email uses images, so use decorative fonts sparingly.
While designing your email, choose colors that match your branding and elicit your desired emotional response. Every color triggers a distinct psychological reaction, so think about the mood you’re creating with your palate. Red, for example, is reported to increase hunger, and could be a great choice for restaurants or food companies.
You can also use graphics, pictures and videos to complement your design and get readers to click your call to action. However, overloading your email with pictures could make it look too busy, so we recommend using no more than one to two to break your content into digestible chunks.
Here’s an example of an email design from AWeber. This email, which we sent to our customers last December, features an animated GIF that draws your eye to the minimal, easy-to-read copy in the center for a clean, sophisticated finish that is aesthetically pleasing and very effective.
Send a newsletter that wows your subscribers.
Writing a compelling email newsletter might seem daunting, but with these tips and a little inspiration, it’s easier than you think. You have all the right tools, so now it’s time to put them to good use and create a newsletter that your readers get excited about as soon as it hits their inbox.
If you’re ready to craft a newsletter your subscribers will love, sign up for our free, 6-day email course, What to Write in Your Emails.