All of us think we know how to write a newsletter. What could be simpler? Now think again about how many bland newsletters you see in your inbox everyday. Follow these best practices to send email newsletters your subscribers will actually open and read.
1. Determine if you really need a newsletter.
Ask yourself if you’re doing a newsletter because you have consistently relevant content to share with your audience or if you’re just following what everyone else is doing. If your answer is the first one, then proceed. Make sure, though, that you set clear, measurable objectives. Are you aiming to drive more leads, close more deals, boost retention? Knowing what you want to achieve lets you focus your efforts, set goals, and measure success.
2. Set expectations.
Do subscribers know what they’re signing up for? Be clear up front about what they’ll be receiving from you. Is it an early glance at new products, special coupons and discounts, inspiration, or how-to information? Make sure you’re meeting customer expectations and not bombarding their inboxes with content they didn’t want.
It is also a good idea to say how often they will hear from your brand. Once a week? Once a month? At the least, you should quickly establish a routine cadence with subscribers and stick to it. Your subscribers trusted your brand enough to share their email email addresses. Abusing that trust is a good way to land in a spam folder or with high unsubscribe rates.
3. Keep content balanced.
Unless you’ve set clear expectations otherwise, your newsletter should not be a coupon book. A good rule of thumb for newsletter content is 90% educational and 10% promotional. This allows room for a focused call to action but makes sure that the large majority of content is meant to serve the customer first.
4. Stick to your brand.
Like all communications you send, your newsletter should adhere to your brand’s standards for design, voice, and tone. Don’t be afraid to have fun, though. Users who subscribe to your newsletter tend to be the ones most engaged with your brand and ready to hear from you.
5. Think mobile first.
According to Litmus, “Fifty-four percent of email is now opened on a mobile device.” And that number is projected to continue growing. You should be thinking mobile, mobile, mobile. Follow responsive or mobile-optimized practices when designing your newsletter templates.
This means keeping content limited to fit on a mobile screen. Make sure buttons are large enough to tap. Also, limit image sizes to avoid lagging load times. For more tips on designing mobile-first emails, check out the Email Design Toolkit.
6. Keep your newsletter exclusive.
Your newsletter subscribers are likely some of your most engaged brand fans. Reward them with exclusive or early access content.
7. Test, track, and refine your newsletter.
Keep going back to the goals you set at the beginning. Measure what’s working well and what needs improvement. Are you hitting your goals? If yes, good job. Go ahead and set higher ones. If not, ask why. Then continue tweaking and testing your newsletters until you do.
Done well, email newsletters are a great way to stay connected with your audience and keep them engaged. Get started building exceptional email journeys today.