HOW TO CREATE EFFECTIVE NEWSLETTERS
How many newsletters did you receive today? 1? 10? twenty? And out of all of them, how many have you read?
Yes, we do receive a lot of information at the end of the day. More than we can consume.
And despite this, email marketing continues to deliver more than interesting results for brands that have been able to exploit their potential.
In fact, email is the digital channel with the best ROI (more than 30 USD return per 1 USD invested), being up to 40x more effective than social networks when it comes to attracting customers.
Achieving this ROI will only be possible if we create an effective email strategy.
To achieve this, let’s start from the beginning.
WHAT IS A NEWSLETTER?
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A newsletter is a type of periodic email that disseminates information about a brand. They could be new content on the blog, commercial offers or the launching of a new product.
The possibilities offered are very varied, but there is a key feature that we must take into account: In the perfect scenario, it has been the user who has requested to receive your newsletters.
And we can not disappoint a user who has shown interest in us, right?
WHAT SHOULD A NEWSLETTER MEET TO BE EFFECTIVE?
“Effective Newsletter” … sounds good. But what do we mean by “effective”?
A newsletter will only be effective if it fulfills its purpose. And to fulfill its purpose, we must first understand what it is.
In a Digital Marketing strategy, we send these types of emails for 3 fundamental reasons:
- Spread our content/information to increase brand awareness
- Convert subscribers into qualified leads.
- Increase loyalty and brand engagement.
Keep in mind that the purpose of a newsletter within your Digital Marketing strategy is not to close a sale. To do this, we will develop specially targeted lead nurturing strategies.
5 VARIABLES YOU SHOULD TAKE INTO ACCOUNT FOR YOUR NEWSLETTER TO BE EFFECTIVE
You must create the right content for the right person at the perfect moment
It is crucial to know what, to whom and when to send emails.
We have already spoken of the different objectives. But how do we measure results?
For any type of email we handle 2 fundamental metrics: the open rate and the click-through-rate (CTR).
The CTR measures the percentage of users who click on the email once it has been opened. That is, it shows the level of interest of the content included in the newsletter.
There are 3 ideas that we should have in mind:
- Email Subject
To achieve the goal, we must first get the subscriber to open our email. For this, the email subject and the recipients are fundamental.
- Content and Design
Once opened, the user must act on the mail. That is, we must get it to click on the CTA or link that we want. To do this, you must select the right content and the perfect design.
- List Segmentation
The above points are directly and totally influenced by a correct segmentation of the lists of subscribers, as well as the sending frequency.
Taking this into account, let’s take a closer look at the 5 variables that most affect your results.
1. THE EMAIL SUBJECT AND SENDER
The first challenge is to get our subscribers to open our emails.
The variables that most affect the open rate are the subject of the email and the sender.
Creating subject lines that capture the attention of the user is an art and requires some creativity to get “bite” the curiosity of our subscribers.
Here are some tips you should keep in mind when creating your email subject.
- Use different subject lines in each email. Subscribers should know what the email contains just by looking at that subject line.
- Make them brief. Short subject lines (approx. 50 characters) favor the subscriber to like the content faster and decide to open the email.
- Create consistent lines over time. This will make it easier for the user to recognize your emails in the medium term.
The 2 most common formulas for subject lines in newsletters are:
Formula 1: Use the title of the main post as email subject (in case you have different information pieces)
Formula 2: Include a tag that indicates the type of content (eg [NEW])
Formula 3: Include emoticons to give more visibility and contrast to that email (eg. 10% discounts on shoes ?)
Test with A / B testing until you find the one that works best.
The name of the sender of the email is also an important factor that affects the rate of opening of the mails.
It is important for the user to trust the origin of the emails that he receives in his inbox. There are 3 main ways to generate this trust:
1. Using the sender’s first and last name
It’s a good choice when there is a relationship between the brand and the contact. More points, if it’s a personal relationship (or someone that has already interacted with the brand). It’s advised not to use this tactic for newsletters as it doesn’t have much impact.
If the user does not know the return address, there will be no reason to open the email (unless the mail subject is VERY attractive).
2. Using the brand name as the sender
The newsletter is a type of communication that brands send regularly. Therefore, putting the name of the brand as a sender is not unreasonable, since the user will recognize the origin of the email.
However, this formula does not take advantage of one of the most interesting features of emails: the ability to deliver personal communications (even if they are automated).
3. Using the sender’s name + the brand name
This is undoubtedly the current trend and the most recommended option. It is because it is able to generate more closeness since it is sent by a real person, taking advantage of the confidence that brings the brand value. It’s the perfect mix.
Finally, make sure that the email address you use is consistent with the sender.
If you choose option 1 or 3, the email must be sent via a personal company email address, as it can generate comments that must be answered.
If, instead, you have opted for option 2, avoid using generic emails type firstname.lastname@example.org. It makes more sense to use one that is used to define the type of email, for example, email@example.com. By all means, avoid sending them via a firstname.lastname@example.org! email.
2. CONTENT INCLUDED
Only with the right content you can achieve the right objective.
First, understand the reason your subscriber has allowed you to send them emails. They expect emails from you that add value and are not spammy or too sales oriented.
It should comply with what you promised in that first welcome email that you sent them after subscribing.
Some essential ideas for your content
To increase the awareness of your brand and increase web traffic, the most appropriate option is to share the latest published content. This is a very effective accelerator when it comes to capturing visits, shares in networks and even backlinks.
You can further enhance your broadcast by including CTAs (Call To Actions) that encourage you to share the mail. For example, a “click to tweet” or simply a “share this email with whomever you want”.
The CoSchedule newsletter is a good example:
You can also use newsletters to gain potential customers(leads). To do this you’re going to need a landing page. The content you send in the email should direct to this page.
Finally, if you seek to increase customer loyalty make sure to create interesting content that adds value to the user. The value could be in form of extra knowledge or helpful information such as product updates and much more.
Tip: keep it simple. Avoid creating emails with too many links since you will lose effectiveness. In fact, try to have no more than 2-3 different CTAs, since emails with few links are the ones that get the most clicks (even if it seems contradictory).
Put the most important content first
Keep in mind that the vast majority of users will be able to preview your email before deciding whether to open or ignore it. The most attractive part of the content should be at the top. This way it’s clearly visible for the user to see in the email preview view.
Take advantage of the power of postdata.
The classic postdata that has been used throughout life in postcards is an increasingly used element in email marketing.
It is for a clear reason: it allows us to mix targeted messages to meet different goals without disorienting at all.
Use it to add something that has no direct relationship to the body of the message, or to remember something that you have already communicated. Or simply to keep the communication open by offering your contact.
The possibilities are wide. It is usually very effective, especially in emails with a flat design where the text dominates (we will see below).
3. YOUR DESIGN
The design of your newsletter is very important. It is a key decision within your overall brand communication strategy.
There are 3 main ways to design your newsletter:
Email with plain text
This type of email gives absolute priority to text and lacks any type of design or images beyond certain formatting elements such as hyperlinks, bold or bullet points. That is, it is the type of email that you would send to your company’s HR department to ask about your vacation.
The CoSchedule example above is a good example of this type of design.
Email with HTML text
This email contains a very simplified design with HTML. It usually includes visual elements like logos, CTA buttons, header images, etc. Despite this, the main and predominant element remains the text.
Rich HTML Email
In this type of email, the visual part takes on the main role, being of vital importance. It is the design that any e-commerce can use.
What kind of design works best?
According to some studies, users say they prefer HTML-based emails where the image dominates the text. But the truth is that both the open rate and the CTR is usually higher in those mails where the text dominates.
Why does this happen?
First, enriched HTML emails can be categorized by mail servers as advertising and delivered to the promotions tab (as Gmail usually does). This undoubtedly negatively affects the open rate.
Second, since email is a perfect channel for 1 to 1 communication, image emails get significantly less CTR, because they lose that feeling of personalization that is so interesting.
But does this also affect newsletters?
Newsletters are not always placed in the same category as the other types of emails.
It is true that, as a general rule, flat or semi-flat designs always achieve better results. But if your blog has a strong and differentiated brand image, it can be a great idea to show images in your newsletter.
You will not know until you try it. You should try the 3 types described above to find out which one gets the best results.
4. FREQUENCY OF SHIPPING
The frequency in which you should send your newsletters will depend to a large extent on your ability to generate content.
In other words, do not send a newsletter if you have nothing new to share.
In general, an effective strategy establishes a fixed periodicity. The most common are:
This frequency is reserved for those publications with a high volume of new daily contents. The Convince & Convert newsletter is a good example of this. If your volume of publication is very high and with a very recurrent audience, this can be a good option.
B. With the publication of a new article
“Receive the new articles directly in your email” How many times have we seen a message of this type in the subscription box on a blog?
This is usually one of the most common options and is really useful to boost the number of visits to your new content.
You can also send a weekly email with the summary of the published content (or at least the most important ones) during the previous week.
It is a good choice if your content generation capacity is not very high. In addition, it does not fatigue the contacts. Nobody minds receiving an email a week (as long as they continue to be interesting content).
Usually used to send a summary of the contents of the last month.
This type of newsletter usually contains a powerful mix of content. It could be an interesting option if the contents are evergreen, but not for those of topicality. Another disadvantage is that its contents are diluted and lose their effectiveness. We talked before, the more links a newsletter has, the fewer clicks they get.
5. YOUR SUBSCRIPTION LISTS
An updated and targeted subscriber list will allow you to get better results.
Why is it so important to have the lists segmented?
Because it will allow you to add context to the contents of your newsletter. Having your lists of subscribers well segmented is key to “send the right content to the right person”, especially when you have several people.
Remove users from your lists that do not interact with your newsletter.
It is important to know which users interact (open and click on your newsletter) and which ones do not.
Keep in mind that there are users who sign up as subscribers, but they really do not want or do not care about your emails. So they never open, negatively affecting your metrics. These types of emails are called “graymail“.
A tip: do not do it without first sending them a reactivation mail. Ask them if they want to continue receiving your emails, reminding them why they should do so. What value will they draw from the newsletter/emails.
How can you segment newsletter lists if you’re just picking up email?
It is usual to request only the email address in the subscription form. But not all users are the same or have the same interests, right?
The criteria of segmentation can be different: depending on your position, industry, type of company …
Think about the information that you need from your contacts. The information that you get from them will allow you to send relevant content.
Once you have segmented lists, you can send different newsletters including different content depending on the interests of your users.
This will undoubtedly bring you better results.
As we have seen, the newsletter plays a very important role in our Digital Marketing strategy.
It is important that you try and try until you find the best formula possible.
Finally, keep track of your metrics and analyze them. It is the only way to make the right decisions.