Regular newsletters are an important part of your email marketing strategy. They notify subscribers of sales and events, recent news, policy updates, changes within the company, and simply keep your brand in front of the eye. Depending on your business, you might be sending different newsletters – blog or YouTube channel updates, new arrival promos, holiday sales, etc. – but there are several rules to help each type succeed. Let’s take a brief look at the basic.
What Makes an Effective Newsletter
- Catchy subject line.
An email subject line one of the first things the subscriber sees in their Inbox. It determines the success of your campaign to a great extent. You may have a terrific template design and awesome offer inside, but to enjoy them, the recipient first needs to open the email.
Your subject line should be written in clear language and briefly sum up the message of the email. Avoid too long phrases and sentences, and put the main info in the beginning. Depending on the email campaign, it may be applicable to use some emojis to add some festive vibes. And mind that Christmas trees and Easter bunnies aren’t the only ones to take advantage of. Think of a symbol that may be associated with your service (coffee for coffee shops, airplane for travel agencies, dog for zoo shops, etc.), and give it a try.
Don’t write misleading titles: the subject line should describe what people expect to see inside but not deliver false promises. If you’re sending the recent blog articles, the word sales in the subject line would look out of place.
Avoid using extensive exclamatory points and caps as they are spam signals for many spam filters. Such words as free, buy now, pay now, no credit card needed, etc. may also get your messages into trouble so make sure you’re careful with them. Find and study the lists of other word spam triggers to ensure maximum deliverability.
- Contact base segmentation.
Newsletters belong to bulk campaigns meaning they’re sent to all of your subscribers. However, even bulk emails can be targeted provided you segment your contact base.
Segmentation requires personal customer data (age, location, email response, purchase history, etc.), which you may not have at the very beginning of the marketing journey. To have something to get started with, consider including preference management in your marketing strategy. In a welcome email or introduction email, invite your new subscribers to choose topics of interest. The more diverse your services, the more options there should be.
For example, you’re a big hotel with numerous additional services. The best way to find out what your subscribers are most interested in is by asking. Let people select what they want to hear about – booking discounts, family offers, spa services, restaurant events, outside activities, etc. If you’re an international company with several spots across the globe, location preference and language preference are also essential. With time, you’ll get more data to use for more precise segmentation.
Since inboxes of nowadays customers are full of commercial messages, people have become immune to marketing efforts and only respond to offers that resonate with their needs. Proper contact base segmentation enables to create such offers and eventually increase the conversion rate.
- Personalized content.
This position goes hand in hand with the previous one. Contact base segmentation helps group your subscribers based on their interests and needs, and personalized content allows to satisfy these needs.
What personalization means in terms of newsletters? Relevance of information, appropriate sending time, and personalized recommendations. Delivering the right message to the right people at the right time should become the motto of all brands willing to succeed in nowadays email marketing.
Send people what they want (blog articles, holiday offers, promos by partners, etc.) when they want (every day, once a week, once a month, etc.) and support each newsletter with personal recommendations. Modern professional email service providers employ AI solutions for better email content personalization. Based on the customers’ browsing history, they can fill such sections as Recommended for you, You may also like, etc. with the info tailored to each particular subscriber.
- Engaging storytelling.
People like brands with a history behind. Social activity, environmental commitment, charity and volunteering, loyalty programs, social proof, collaborations with artists and celebrities – use newsletters not to only promote new collections but also to demonstrate how you contribute to the community.
Remember that not all emails (and newsletters in particular) aim at selling; half of them are needed to promote brand recognition and build loyalty. And storytelling is a perfect tool to reach both goals.
Releasing a new spring collection? Introduce the team who worked on the design, describe the materials, share best look tips. Running a conference or workshop? Introduce the speakers, explain the purpose, provide the feedback on the previous event, share user social media photos. When telling a story, focus on people rather than on you or your product to engage with the audience on a deeper level.
- Fresh email design.
Keep an eye on recent email design trends and implement some in your campaigns. There’s no need to totally rebuild your strategy; after all, your subscribers have got used to a certain communication patterns, and may be confused by a complete redesign. Adding several new solutions, however, is able to spruce up your newsletters and give them a new twist.
In 2020, pay attention to AMP for email, Dark Mode designs, gamification, user-generated content, 3D and isometric images, and custom artistic illustrations. Pick one or two trends that correspond to your brand concept and implement them in your email marketing strategy.
To sum up, contact base segmentation, contact personalization and regular email design revision are key to successful newsletters. Understand the needs of your subscribers and try to deliver value in each message. Also don’t neglect measuring and analyzing the results of each campaign to see what practices are effective and what may need adjustment.
Iuliia Nesterenko is a technical writer at eSputnik. Her focus is on exploring current digital marketing trends and describing new strategies for email marketers.