Making newsletters pack more punch


Nadia Moore | Head | Marketing | Flow Communications | mail me | 

Whatever your marketing goals, newsletters are an excellent way to gain and retain customers, or convert existing subscribers into customers.

Do you have a newsletter strategy in place? If not, it’s time to consider the power of a well-planned marketing email newsletter. There are tips that could help your newsletters pack more punch.

Work on a strategy​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Start the process with a strong plan of action. How many newsletters will you send out in a month? In a year? What time will each one go out and on what date? How many articles will go into your newsletter and will there be a theme to each or all of them? What do you hope to achieve with each newsletter?

Implementing a solid newsletter strategy is the first step in creating excellent content for your subscribers.

Be real

Nobody wants to get a newsletter from a company they follow that reads like ChatGPT threw it together. Be authentic in your writing – you know your audience, so take the time to plan the content of your email and write it yourself.​​​​​​​

Every line matters – especially a subject line

Your brand’s newsletter will be one of many unopened emails sitting in your subscriber’s inbox. Your subject line needs to stand out and encourage the intended reader to pause and open the mail. It’s also a chance for you to showcase your brand’s personality, as in the example below.

In this instance, the organisation, Catchafire, made a mistake in a previous mailer. To rectify this it sent a follow-up email with the fun subject line, “Whoops – we hadn’t had our coffee this morning”, after which it apologised for the earlier error.

Like any good headline, you need to give your subject line some serious thought before compiling the newsletter. According to SEO company Launch Space, your subject lines should be shorter than 50 characters. People open their emails on different devices and a long subject line may cut off on a cell phone, for example, meaning the full message is lost.

According to this Campaign Monitor article on subject lines, “emails with shorter subject lines are more likely to be delivered. Second, brevity creates an air of mystery”.

Know your brand

Are you a brand that uses busy, colourful animated images, or more conservative classical lines?

Remember that the banner will be the first thing people see when opening the newsletter, so make it work for you (but the rest of the design should also be given ample consideration, too). Stick to your brand’s corporate identity.

Buttons are your friends

Make optimal use of your newsletter call-to-action (CTA) buttons. These are an excellent way to move readers from their inbox to your website, a landing page or your social media accounts, or into a conversation with your company.

Design your buttons to stand out and really think about how you label them. Yes, there’s a time for the simple “Read more” button, but equally there’s scope to add detail: “Read more about our upcoming Flow Connect.”

If you’re unsure of how many CTA buttons to include in your newsletter, this tip from Hubspot is excellent: “Let there be one head honcho CTA – just one main thing that you would like your subscribers to do. The rest of the CTAs should be ‘in-case-you-have-time’ options. ​​​​​​​

Whether it’s simply to click through to see a blog post or just to forward the email to a friend, make it super simple for your subscribers to know what you want them to do.

This is not the time for a hard sell

Many email inboxes are already busier than a local mall on the Saturday morning after payday. Newsletter readers have subscribed to your mailing list because they want to read your updates – but quickly. Use this form of marketing to nurture relationships with your clients, not to force a sale.

Play with the layout

Make use of a newsletter template and have some fun! Does an image look better cropped? Should the image come first, followed by the text and then the button? Or can this be switched up? Take control of your template and understand the various layout options and how they can benefit you.

Email newsletter templates can be designed by an agency or you can purchase one online.

Test the tech, check the content

Yes, some people still use Yahoo Mail. And while many are on Gmail, there are others using email providers like Microsoft Outlook, iCloud or AOL Mail, for example.

How will your carefully crafted newsletter look in those different inboxes? And how will it look on different devices? Test the tech – send yourself the email and check if the layout and content still look good, and that the newsletter works as intended.

Once the tech has been checked, go through the entire email and check spelling, grammar, hyperlinks, tone and overall layout. Your brand’s reputation is important and you don’t want to hurt it by letting errors creep in.

Make use of an email service provider

Make your life easier and use an email service provider like Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp.

These digital tools help immensely when it comes to offering email templates to use, helping schedule mails and they do the heavy lifting when it comes to distribution of your emails. They also assist with customer relationship management (CRM) by helping you organise your audience into different mailing lists, for A/B testing for example. They also provide excellent metrics on who has read your mails and what they are most interested in.

Metrics can guide content

The reports that are generated once a newsletter has been sent and opened can be instructive.

You’ll see which content performed best, which links had the most clicks and which CTA buttons drew the most engagement. This gives insight into content that interests your subscribers and content that may be falling flat, and allows you to better tailor content for future newsletters, to increase engagement. 

Also, you can use your metrics to clean up your mailing list of those dormant subscribers who haven’t opened your last few mails.



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