A Guide to Writing Email Newsletters that Recipients Want to Read
Email newsletters aren’t outdated, despite what you might initially think. Sure, they’ve existed as long as, well, email, but they continue to be vital to any digital marketing campaign.
Email newsletters serve as a regular reminder to existing and potential customers of your business. They update the recipients on new developments to your company, new products or services, sales and promotions. They’re a dispenser of coupons and exclusive content. They let the recipients know that your company cares about them enough to keep in touch, building and developing those important client/customer relationships.
We’ve told you how to grow your email list, but once you have the recipients, how do you write a successful email newsletter? Here are our tips.
Keep It Concise
Upon conducting research into the ideal length of effective email newsletters, Dave Charest found that writers should be aiming for a brief 200 words, or 20 lines.
This want for brevity shouldn’t be surprising; readers are likely to skim marketing emails, and succinct, easy-to-read text will aid in successfully relaying your message to a skimmer. And ‘easy-to-read’ needn’t be applied just to length. Bullet points and good use of white space also contribute to good readability.
When planning and writing your email’s text, Charest suggests answering just 3 simple questions:
- What are you offering?
- How will it help the reader?
- What should they do next?
‘What are you offering’ becomes the title or subject of your email. Remember to phrase this offer in an exciting, engaging way, as 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line. ‘How will it help’ becomes the main body of your email, and ‘what should they do next’ is the call to action you should include towards the end of the email.
Concise, clear writing raises the likelihood that your email newsletter will actually be read by your recipients. Clear communication will also enable the purpose of your email to be understood and calls to action be followed by a higher proportion of skim-readers.
Make It Personal
Your company is likely catering to a specific niche, so, most likely, all those who have signed up to receive your email newsletters are interested in that specific niche. This means you can afford to be specific.
Appeal to your specific market and your specific recipients with relevant language and terminology, references and experiences. A generic email will give the impression to your readers that your company is unengaged with its customers and their interests.
Appealing directly to the recipients’ shared interest (namely, your company’s niche) will engage them whilst also appearing more personal.
Think About the Look
Your newsletter needn’t be visually stunning, though that can help attract your reader, so long as it’s visually clear. Making sure you nail these design basics will help your newsletter appear professional and readable.
Using white space (i.e. paragraph breaks, margins, line spacing) to break up chunks of text can make that text more digestible to the reader. Without sufficient white space, text can feel like a challenge to get through, like a visual wall.
If you include colour in your newsletter, make sure it’s your company’s colour/s! Choosing colours from a consistent scheme unites your content and makes your branding appear more professional.
Properly sized and compressed images
Improperly formatted images may fail or take longer to load. This can be frustrating to readers and discourage further engagement with the email.
The readability of the font you choose is vital to whether or not your recipients choose to, or even are able to, engage with your newsletter. While intricate fonts can be impactful in a logo, they’re no use in text bodies when readers can’t understand anything you’ve written. These 12 fonts are the most legible.
41% of all emails are opened on a mobile device, and 42% of users delete emails that don’t display correctly on their mobile phones. Not making sure your newsletter reads correctly on a mobile device can lose the engagement of close to half of your recipients.
Content Comes First
As with all your digital and social marketing, the content should come first. Remember the three items of Inbound Methodology: attract, engage and delight. Filling your newsletter with interesting, valuable content will do more to attract, engage and delight your recipients than empty promotions or links.
Obviously, a call to action is vital to include within your newsletters, otherwise you will have missed an opportunity to drive up sales or engagement. However, it’s important that the call/s aren’t cheap-looking. Recipients are savvy, and when promotions are pushed without first engaging with them, or without showing care, they will likely think less of your company.
Providing attractive, engaging and delightful content within your email newsletters will help convince the recipient of the value of your newsletters, and convince them to remain subscribed.
Wait Until You Have Something to Say
Incessant marketing emails are annoying. Pointless emails are annoying. Only sending email newsletters when you have quality content or an important call to action will enable you to avoid annoying recipients in either way.
A high frequency of email correspondence, particularly if the content is unengaging or focuses too heavily on calls to action, will increase the likelihood of recipients reaching for that unsubscribe button. They don’t want an inbox clogged with empty promotions.
Less frequent, but higher quality, email newsletters will prove to your recipients that your correspondence has worth, and is less likely to get on their nerves! When writing your newsletters, imagine being the recipient yourself; would you find worth in this newsletter, and would you want to receive it?
Your newsletters should be concise and focused to enable easy reading and easy skimming. The important information shouldn’t be hidden within a wall of rambling text, or it may be missed entirely.
Appealing personally to the recipient will convince them of your company’s customer care, while designing your newsletter to be legible will increase its ease of access. Make sure to stick to your established branding and colours to give the impression of consistency, professionalism and a strong company identity.
Only send email newsletters when you have something valuable to provide the recipients. Your newsletters should be content-driven, so wait until you have quality content before you hit send! Too-frequent emails can annoy recipients, and cause them to unsubscribe, whilst less frequent, higher quality emails will convince them of the value of their subscription.
For more help and advice regarding your content marketing strategy, visit Floodmaker.