Newsletters are a great way to connect with your audience. Whether you are looking to connect, spread awareness, share insights, or tell people about your company and products, newsletters are a great place to start.
But, beware of the pitfalls.
Boring newsletters can easily become a frustration to your readers. So keep it fun (and not too long)!
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Starting a newsletter
Let’s start at the very beginning before diving deeper into marketing email best practices.
Depending on your audience, or newsletter recipient list, it's important to select the right newsletter platform. There are various marketing platforms out there that can greatly benefit your newsletter success. A marketing platform is an advertising platform that connects businesses to their audience. In this case, via email marketing. Marketing platforms can also provide insights into advertising performance and help you monitor your different campaigns.
If using a marketing platform sounds daunting and your audience is still small, you can send out newsletters from your regular email to begin. The downside is that you won’t be able to track performance, and people can email you back directly, which can lead to a busy inbox. Therefore, using a marketing platform is recommended.
Marketing platforms like HubSpot and Mailchimp allow you to:
- Create a newsletter template for a unique eblast design
- Include pictures, buttons and links with tracking codes
- Send test emails to review your content before sharing
- Monitor newsletter performance
- Receive suggestions about your campaigns and how to improve them
At ALINE, we use various newsletter platforms and although each has its own pros and cons, it’s the content that matters in the end.
And first impressions count. A lot.
So let’s talk about the first thing you see when you receive a newsletter.
Make Your Subject and Teaser Text Interesting
The last thing you want after all of your hard work, is for people to delete your email even before opening it. The key here, is to make sure your email doesn’t end up in Spam (this is where email platforms can help greatly, as they have special tools and ways to prevent this from happening) and to make sure it doesn’t look spammy.
Here are some guidelines for great first impressions:
- Make sure the sender is a person. Try to stay away from using general email addresses (like info, support, donotreply, etc.) as the sender. An email feels more personal when it’s sent from an actual person. Even better if the recipient knows the sender!
- Bonus: include a picture in your email account so that people immediately see who the email is from.
- Write the subject so that it’s relevant to your audience. And try keeping it short and sweet. Mailchimp suggests sticking to 60 characters and no more than 9 words.
- Stay true to the teaser text. It’s supposed to be a teaser so make sure it makes people want to click your email to read it. The character count for teasers is often limited to 35-90 characters, depending on the device and settings for email previews.
- Use the [first_name] feature to include people's names at the top of your email. People like to feel special and a “Hey Jude” sounds nicer than “Dear client.”
The Look and Layout of your Newsletter
We highly recommend creating a newsletter template that is in line with your brand. Moreover, you can choose your brand colors, fonts and overall look and feel so that recipients immediately know who the email is from. Think of using:
- Pictures - include faces, products, sights, etc. that are relevant to your business
- Signature - end your newsletter with a signature that includes contact information
- Logos - have your business logo displayed at least once, but no more than twice
- Colors - stick to your brand colors and filters used on social media to create a consistent identity across platforms
- Font - if possible, select your brand font. Ideally, choose one that is compatible with most email programs so that anyone can open your email without trouble
In short: make it feel personal while maintaining a level of professionalism.
Writing Memorable, Engaging Content
We’ve got the layout ready, the teaser text and greeting written and a signature designed. Believe it or not, these are the most important aspects to make a positive impression.
That doesn’t mean that you should neglect the body text.
So let’s jump into how to write marketing newsletters.
Create a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
Keep it short
Time is money, so let’s get down to business. Unlike blog posts that can be more in-depth, newsletters should only provide the necessary information. Campaign Monitor recommends a body text as short as 25 to 125 words. Mailchimp suggests staying under 200 words and avoiding using large words and long sentences.
Your content should be easy to digest and quick to skim through.
Nothing more and nothing less.
Whether to your own website or to relevant articles, include links throughout your content. But, as always, don’t overdo it. One link per paragraph is fine.
Create clear CTAs
Call-to-actions (CTAs) are vital if you want your readers to take action. This can be a “shop now” button under a picture of a pink jacket, a “volunteer” request for your non-profit, or a simple “contact us” at the bottom of your email.
Whatever it is, make it stand out.
Put your CTAs in colorful buttons and don’t forget to link them to where they need to go to complete the “action.”
Add UTM codes
Rather than just pasting in links, you can add UTM codes to the URLs, to help you track you website visitors. More about that can be found in our blog:
Creating UTM codes
We described email marketing best practices as derived from trends and developments in the marketing industry. However, some people may prefer long-text content where others like it short. In some industries (cooking recipes) longer newsletters may be preferred, whereas technical industries may prefer bullet points with links.
There is no one way to write ‘the perfect newsletter,’ but there is a way to write what your audience wants.
After each newsletter you sent, check its performance! The marketing platforms discussed earlier are great when it comes to tracking performance. You can see how many people opened your newsletter, which sections they spent the most time reading, which links they clicked, and they even provided you with feedback on how to improve your next newsletter.
Optimizing your content is a continuous process. Learn how to adapt your content to meet your audience’s interests and needs.
Need help getting started on your email marketing campaigns? We’d love to help!