Do you have lots of email newsletters clogging your inbox, but only read and enjoy a few of them? You’re not alone. The main reasons that only a handful of newsletters are opened each month while most others are discarded are quality and relevance. As a customer, you’re more likely to follow newsletters with great writing, engaging images, and relevant content. Put simply, eCommerce companies that create better business newsletters earn more opens, more clicks and, ultimately, more conversions.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group’s Email Newsletter Usability report, readers tend to feel an emotional attachment to their newsletters. “Newsletters feel personal because they arrive in users’ inboxes and users have an ongoing relationship with them.”
Newsletters are more personal than a website. After all, they appear in user inboxes on a regular schedule and speak to them like they are part of the brand. This builds trust and helps create loyalty among customers and companies. Better business newsletters are an essential part of your marketing strategy, but many companies don’t know where to start.
Creating your first newsletter – and a high-quality one at that – can seem daunting. But the good news is that once you get started you’ll quickly see their value in your sales reports.
Follow the seven steps below and you’ll be on your way to creating a better business newsletter that earns results.
If your email looks like a newsletter but is not full of valuable and interesting content, then it really isn’t a newsletter. To start, focus on one main idea. Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing you want to tell your audience?” This is the first bit of content your audience will see so it must be the most important. Writing your first message can seem intimidating, but we have a few ideas that can help you get started such as:
Product Features: Highlight a product and provide your audience with more information on it. Begin by answering the basic questions: “Why is it unique?”, “What does it do?” or “Why do you think it is great?”. You can also include a story of why it is useful.
Highlight Blog Content: Provide a link to a past blog post or other related content. Try to pick content that was successful, such as a testimonial for a product or service. Make sure that what you are highlighting is still relevant. Do not direct readers back to inaccurate or outdated information.
Promotions: While often over-used, using your newsletter to announce a discount or special promotion is a great place to start. Make sure the rest of your newsletter focuses on supporting details or news that less sales-y.
Once you have the main idea you can begin thinking about supporting content. To make the process easier, take a few minutes and write down as many topics as you can think of. Some examples of supporting content are as follows:
- Blog posts
- Tips, tactics, and tutorials
- Industry news
- Events and holidays
- Interesting facts
- Company news (updates or awards)
- Webinars or videos
- Fan photos
Once you have a solid list you can start to organize your newsletter. Sketch out what the newsletter might include without worrying about the specifics or pictures.
It’s Not About Sales or Hype
Selling should be a small part of your business newsletter but not the main focus. People like to be informed of sales, but if all your newsletters are based on your promotions your customers will start to lose interest.
Why read your newsletter when you can find out about the sales on your website? Instead, send out your offers in promo-specific emails. If you want to pitch a sale or product, keep it discreet: “Did you know we’re having a Friends and Family Sale this Sunday? You can save up to 50%”, and then quickly move on to your other content.
Aim for a Click
The average person spends 51 seconds on a newsletter; therefore satisfy your readers with enough information to leave them eager for more. Instead of using your newsletter for sales, use it to lead readers back to your site, blog or social media. Place clear and specific calls to action after each content block so they know what they need to do. Use clear calls to action such as “Learn More”, “Read More”, or “Watch the Video” to direct readers to your website. The point of a newsletter isn’t to make a sale; it’s to build a relationship with your customers and get traffic to your site.
Better Business Newsletters are Consistent
When sending out newsletters it is important to be consistent with not only relevant content but also when it is sent. You should pick a frequency, whether it is daily, weekly or monthly, and stick to it. Inform your readers when subscribing as to how often they should expect to hear from you.
The Nielsen Norman Group says that “nearly 70 percent of users said that they look forward to receiving at least one newsletter. Most users said a newsletter had become part of their routine. Very few promotional efforts can claim this degree of customer buy-in.”
Newsletters are the newest newspapers so make sure you are keeping up with them. Once your readers stop hearing from you they will become uninterested and you will start to lose valuable traffic to your site.
Have a Compelling Subject and Opening Line
First impressions are important! How you introduce yourself can spark the readers’ interest in continuing a conversation. The same goes for your newsletter’s subject line. If it isn’t compelling or thought-provoking, your reader may not make it to your content.
The Nielsen Norman Group found that “some users who forwarded newsletters to others said they sometimes changed the subject line to make it more interesting.” When crafting your subject line, avoid using generic lines like ‘June Newsletter’, ‘Your Monthly Newsletter’, ‘This Week’s Newsletter’.
Respond & Engage
Nothing’s worse than talking to a friend who isn’t listening. Allow your customers to reply to your newsletter and respond to their inquiries or feedback. This lets your customers know you are listening. People love engagement from brands they follow.
Receiving valuable insight and feedback that could improve your newsletter or another aspect of your business is important. Also, refrain from using a “do not reply” email address when sending out your newsletter. It gives the impression that any responses will not be seen or answered.
The main goal of your newsletter is to build a relationship with your customers. Relationships with your customers will suffer if they feel their feedback is not welcome.
Offer Easy Opt-outs
Unsubscribes happen, and it’s nothing to take personally. However, the harder you make it for someone to unsubscribe, the quicker they will click the ‘spam’ button. Let your readers go easily and make your unsubscribe link easy to find. Otherwise, your newsletter will sit in a spam box that will cause your delivery, open, and click-through rates to go down.
Creating a personable, presentable, and, in a word, better business newsletter, takes work. However, it creates a strong friendship with your customers that most other marketing strategies do not.
For more information about creating effective business newsletters or to learn more about our services please contact us today.