E-newsletters are the original digital marketing tool, with the first one being sent way back in 1987. But because they’ve been around for so long, there’s a perception that they’re outdated and ineffective. In reality, email marketing is still a powerful tool for connecting with customers.
When you’re a result driven marketer, it’s easy to be put off by unsubscribes or imperfect open rates, but a well targeted e-newsletter has huge potential for successful conversions. Rather than trying to appeal to the masses, focus on your target personas. They're specifically interested in hearing from your brand, so craft content that will strengthen your company’s relationship with these people.
How to set up an effective e-newsletter strategy
Make sure your content offers value. Your e-newsletter, unlike social media, is a controlled space for your brand to share stories with your audience. Everything you share should have a purpose and be valuable to your customer. Focus on why readers want to engage with you and build your content around them.
Always use an intriguing and relevant subject line that grabs your readers attention. Don’t write a click-bait subject as this can cause even your most loyal readers to unsubscribe, or even send your e-mail straight to junk.
Quality over quantity. It’s way more effective to send one incredibly valuable e-newsletter a month than to send them frequently in an attempt to get more people opening them. It’s also important to schedule them strategically, so your readers know when to expect them. For example, if you make readers aware that it’ll be in their inbox on the first Wednesday of the month, they’ll look forward to receiving it and will be more likely to dedicate the time.
Use a consistent and attractive design, so that they are visually appealing, easy to navigate and become instantly recognisable within your readers’ inboxes.
Minimise promotional content so that readers don’t feel like they are being forced into making purchases with every email. Chances are your readers are interested in news from your company and industry, as well as being signposted to content that they may have missed in their social feeds. About 90% news and insights and 10% sales is an ideal balance.
Emphasise the most important CTA. You will likely want to use your e-newsletter to link various content, but in order to guide your reader’s attention to the most important one, you can use a larger CTA button, and leave the others as linked text.
Make it easy to unsubscribe so that your subscriber list is packed with people who are genuinely interested in your e-newsletters.
Don’t be afraid to remove the people who never open your emails - even if they haven’t unsubscribed themselves. Removing unengaged subscribers from your email list is called email scrubbing and allows you to target your content more directly to the people who are most interested. Set a regular schedule to do an email list cleanup – perhaps once a quarter, or every six months.
Examples of brilliant e-newsletters
The majority of us have inboxes packed with e-newsletters from companies we shared our email address with once upon a time. But amidst the mass of discounts and new products, there are always a handful of brilliant ones that we’ll open and read every time. These brands have created some of our favourite e-newsletters – if any are up your street, subscribe and take note of what makes them so great.
Medium is an ad-free news platform that aggregates quality articles from a wide range of publications. The e-newsletters have a clean, easy to navigate layout that does the hard-work for you of sifting through the thousands of articles on the site. There’s always at least one article that grabs our attention and makes us click through right away.
The social media network for booklovers, Goodreads does an excellent job of understanding each individual member. Its e-newsletters are hyper personalised, delivering a monthly set of book recommendations that are perfectly tailored to the recipients tastes.
The foodie magazine Bon Appetit could easily fall victim to repetitive e-newsletter content, linking new recipes and relying on photography to draw people in. But the magazine consistently shares intriguing short editor’s letters in its e-newsletters, that can’t be found elsewhere on their channels - this exclusive style content keep loyal readers engaged.
As you develop your email marketing strategy, keep in mind that e-newsletters are a work in progress of building momentum and strengthening your connection to your audience. The first one is never going to be perfect. Asses the success of each one and use the learnings to establish a content style that brings the best of your brand to the people who are most interested. To discover other tactics for connecting with audiences as a marketer, head over to our content hub.
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