When created properly, an email newsletter is both one of the best tools at your disposal for meaningful engagement with an audience. When done poorly, an email newsletter is a surefire way to make someone unsubscribe from your contact list and to reject your products and services. With great content, a crisp layout, a thoughtful deployment schedule, and the patience to improve and refine all those aspects and more, email newsletters are a great way to establish your brand and grow your business. All you need to do is choose the right email newsletter platform to serve your needs, because not all email newsletter creation services are created equal!
Saving Time with Templates
If you are not exactly a graphic designer and are certainly not a programming professional, but you still want to send a great-looking email newsletter, then you need to take a look at VerticalResponse. The company helps you create crisp, attractive email newsletters from an array of customizable templates that are controlled using tools that are fabulously easy to use. If you can use your mouse to drag-and-drop, then you can create an email newsletter using this service, and one that artfully blends text, graphics, and links, no less. This is the perfect service for the small business or the individual without endless amounts of time to pour into their email newsletter creation process yet who still wants to have a good-looking newsletter to send out into the world.
Get Eyes On Your Emails, So To Speak
Even the most important message is meaningless if no one ever gets it. When you choose iContact as your email newsletter creation and delivery platform, that just won't happen. They help ensure your email newsletter gets through to its intended recipients through comprehensive list management tools that ensure you're sending your missives to the right people (i.e. actual potential customers, clients, or followers) and that the newsletters themselves are free of content that might be accidentally flagged as spam. iContact also helps its users "go beyond the inbox" by helping them to create and schedule posts and messages tailored for various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and beyond.
Keep it Simple. And Lovely, Too.
Mad Mimi takes a unique approach to the development and deployment of email newsletters. Rather than starting off with a selection of templates from which you can choose, they start you off with a blank slate and instead help you consider what content you want to include in your newsletter. It's the opposite of a one-size-fits all approach wherein the design and layout of your email newsletter is created around the writing and graphics instead of forcing you to fit your content into an existing framework. Once you have taken the time to create your very own customized theme and template, the platform saves it for your future use, so don't worry about going through that valid but involved process every time you want to send out an email newsletter, though.
Email Newsletters: In-Depth
Have You Read Our Newsletter?
Unless the email newsletter you send out is carefully crafted day after day (or week after week, or month after month) then more often than not, the answer to that question will be... no. There are few things read less often than a badly written, poorly designed email newsletter. (James Joyce's "Ulysses" might be a close second, though.) An email newsletter arguably offers you the single best possible way to reach your customer, clients, and followers. Unlike a website or social media page that a person needs to actively seek out, a newsletter pops up right there in that inbox, just waiting for a quick read via computer, tablet, or phone. That same easy accessibility also means it's painfully easy for a person to simply delete or ignore your newsletter, though.
Engagement Starts At the Subject Line
Most people get lots of emails each and every day, and most of the emails they get are complete junk. Don't let your lovingly crafted email newsletter fall into with that category as the result of a weak subject line. We become so desensitized to spam (or spam-adjacent) email that we often hardly notice as we delete or at least skip over many of the emails in the inbox. It takes a solid headline to grab the attention, and it takes a great headline to convert to a read. With truly superlative headlines, you can gradually train your readers to not just tolerate your email newsletters, but to even look forward to them.
And speaking of engagement beyond the subject line, utilize the tracking tools most email newsletter generation sites provide to see what aspects of your newsletter are working (which link placements get clicks or which graphics or copy blocks seem to drive traffic or chatter) and be adaptable. With focus and determination, every newsletter you send out can be your best one yet.
A great email newsletter subject line should:
- Grab Attention
Whether you ask a question, hint at an offer, or share an amazing fact, your subject line must intrigue or have inherent value in and of itself.
- Reflect Brand Identity
Make sure the tone of your subject line matches the tone of your brand and content - goofy copy from a funeral home, for example, would be a bad idea.
- Relate To the Content
Even a catchy, funny, or striking subject line has to be at least tangentially related to the content of the newsletter. Resist the urge to be absurd, shocking, or overly precious; this practice will eventually see your audience ignoring your emails.
Easy Opt Out Keeps The Good In
This might seem counterintuitive, but in fact the easier you make it for people to opt out of receiving your email newsletter, the more value you will get out of the newsletter in the long run. That's because those people who choose not to unsubscribe from your newsletter are more likely to be active, actual customers or fans. And even those who do opt out will be left without the proverbial bad taste in the mouth that often comes with annoying, involved opt out processes.
Let's Give 'Em Something To Read About
If someone actually takes the time to start reading through your email newsletter, they deserve writing that's actually good. And if they don't get that kind of writing, then they're gonna bounce along to the next thing, that product, deal, or event you hoped to promote left tragically ignored. You must think of an email newsletter not as a sales platform (though in truth it is largely that, or at least a part of a greater marketing and sales strategy) but as a place for value added content. Don't hope that your newsletter goes viral, but rather hope that those who choose to read it thoroughly enjoy what they see there. It is better to have a small cadre of genuinely engaged, actively participating customers (or followers or donors or just plain fans) than it is to make glancing contact with a massive number of people who really couldn't care much less about your brand and its offerings. Or, to put it very simply, know your audience, and cater to your people.
Less Really Is More
You can't be all things to all people. Your regular email newsletter is not the place to fit every single possible bit of news about your business. It's not the place to make thirty different discount or promotional offers. It's not the place for dozens of photos, quotes, links, charts, tables, or anything of the sort. Rather your newsletter needs to stay focused on a few facets so it doesn't overwhelm and scare off its potential readers. A regular column-style section with updates and information is a good idea, as are a few photos and graphics that catch the eye and help elucidate a concept or explain a product or service. A Call To Action (or CTA - these are things like a button saying "Order Now" or "Sign Up Here") is always great; more than one CTA is likely too many.
And remember that the whole "less is more" thing applies not only to the type of content you include, but is a critical consideration when it comes to layout and appearance. Make sure you work with an email newsletter development platform that can help you create crisp, clear newsletters that will display properly on a computer and on a mobile device and that don't overwhelm the eyes. The less content your newsletter contains, the more of it will actually get read, ironically, and the more often your newsletters will be opened in general.
Does My Business Really Need An Email Newsletter?
Pretty much yes, it does. You don't need to send one out daily or even weekly, but in today's day and age, the absence of any regular non-sales correspondence with your audience means a huge loss of potential brand loyalty. If your would-be clientele aren't reading your newsletter, they'll just be reading something else.
And just think about this: your newsletter itself could become a source of revenue via affiliate links to products or even in rare cases by creating an email newsletter accessed by paid subscription. That said, you should always plan to create a genuinely good newsletter rich in content for its own sake. If your newsletter develops into something you can monetize, that's great; if you try to start out with a newsletter intended to generate cash, chances are it will come across as inauthentic and will turn off the people with whom you hoped to foster greater engagement.