Within the modern Digital World, email might seem a bit ‘old school’ and unglamorous, especially compared to marketing tools such as Facebook and Instagram. But, in reality, Email Marketing is still one of the most effective ways to connect and communicate with potential customers.
In fact, according to Exact Target, email brings in $44.25 for every $1 spent, putting it well above other marketing methods in terms of value for money. So, before dismissing email altogether, it might well be time for you to embrace this powerful marketing strategy for your own small business.
One of the best ways to do this is with a regular e-newsletter that you send out to previous customers and new leads that have shown interest in your products or services.
But just how do you craft a great e-newsletter that doesn’t get trashed before it’s even opened?
Here we’ve highlighted some of the key components that will help you create the perfect marketing e-newsletter that will engage your entire email list!
1. Create a Catchy Subject Line
This is essentially the headline of your email, so it needs to be effective. Without a good subject line, there’s almost no chance your e-newsletter will even get opened, no matter how great it is!
Crafting the perfect subject line is both a science and an art, but there are a few components that make up some of the best-performing subject lines. These include:
- Self Interest: These usually speak of a specific benefit your reader will gain by opening the email. For example, if you own a small gardening businesses and it’s rose pruning season, your subject line could read: “No time to prune your roses? We can help…”
- Curiosity: Often referred to as a ‘blind’ subject line, this technique piques the interest of your subscriber by not revealing the full content of the email. This has been shown to lead to higher open rates.
- Offer: Having a deal, sale or special offer? Put it in your subject line! Everyone loves a bargain, so make your subscribers feel like they’re scoring big time.
- Urgency or Scarcity: This is one of the most effective types of subject lines. It communicates a sense of urgency to the reader, telling them they might miss out on something great if they don’t act.
- Social Proof: When it comes to purchasing products or services, your subscribers will likely want to see some social proof. You can leverage this in your newsletter subject line by mentioning a customer’s success story. For example, if you own a personal training business, a subject line using social proof could be: “See how Kelly lost 5 kilos in 5 weeks using our Summer Body Nutrition Guide”.
2. Be Informative and Educational
While it’s still a good idea to talk about your services and products, your newsletter’s content should be 90% educational and 10% promotional. Yes, really. Your e-newsletter is a great place for you to assert yourself as an authority in your field and cement yourself as a trustworthy source of information in the minds of your subscribers.
Consider your subscribers and what they might want to know about: what are their problems and pain points? What is the answer they’re looking for? Is there something that’s missing from their life and can you provide it for them?
Once you’ve considered these questions, you’ll be better positioned to create content, such as helpful ‘How To’ guides, tips, resources, reviews, recipes, informative webinars and videos, or even infographics.
Remember, being educational shouldn’t mean boring. So choose diverse types of content and get creative with it! This will be the best way to gain your subscribers’ trust while keeping them engaged and entertained.
3. Add Visual Appeal
Visual components are critical when it comes to creating content that will be consumed online. The right photos, graphics or gifs can serve to make your content ‘pop’, making it more exciting for your readers. It also helps break up chunks of text which makes it more digestible, especially for those reading on mobile or tablet devices.
These images could include anything from a funny meme to a photo or collage of one of your own products. Just be sure the image relates back to the content within your newsletter. If it doesn’t, the image could simply confuse your readers, instead of adding to their understanding of the newsletter’s subject.
4. Be You
Your email newsletter is the perfect place to strengthen your branding, voice and character of your business. It is here that you can add personality to your business and humanise your brand!
Depending on your product, or the kind of service you offer, you could be funny and quirky, relaxed and chatty or else more professional in your approach. Whatever you choose, creating a strong sense of ‘self’ for your business will strengthen the bond and level of trust between you and your subscriber. It will make them feel as if they know you and grow their confidence in you, thus increasing the chances of them purchasing from you.
5. Include One Primary Call to Action
A call to action is a great way to get your subscribers to complete a certain action you would like them to take. This could be anything from encouraging them to buy tickets to an event, “Get your tickets here!”, or else opting-in to a special offer, “Click here to get your limited discount offer”.
Whatever it is, this primary call to action should be given dominant prominence throughout your email. This doesn’t mean it should be included in every single line of text, but it should be relatively obvious to your readers what action you most want them to undertake.
The rest of your Call to Actions, such as clicking on blog links, should be thought of as the “in-case-you-have-time” options. Of course, if your newsletter only contains blog links, that’s fine too, just make it apparent to your subscribers that they should definitely click that link!
6. Bounce Them Around
What exactly does it mean to ‘Bounce’ your subscribers around your content? Well, ‘bouncing’ is a term used to describe the method of sending your potential customers from one of your business’s platforms to another.
Your e-newsletter is a fantastic way to Bounce. Include links to your blog posts, Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram accounts to lead them to your website and social media platforms.
7. Keep it Short and Sweet
You’ve heard the expression “a fast game is a good game”. Well, your newsletter should be thought of in much the same way. Chances are, if your subscribers open your newsletter to be greeted with a huge and intimidating wall of text, it’s unlikely they’ll even read the first few lines before ‘trashing’ it.
The best way to keep people engaged with your content is to keep it short and sharp. Focus on the message you really want to get across and say it succinctly. This can be done by keeping your content scannable with content blocks, brief blurbs, headings, dot-points and calls to actions.
However, it’s a fine balance between being consumable and terse. The best way to find this balance is to satisfy your readers with enough information, while also leaving them keen to know more. Lead readers back to your blog, website or social media, where they can read more deeply about the subject if they want to.
8. Consistency is Key
Don’t be a flaky friend. Once you’ve made a commitment to show up in your subscribers’ inbox once every week or month, you need to be there. Choose a frequency that you know will be achievable and stick to it, or risk looking flaky and unprofessional.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, 69 percent of users said that they look forward to receiving at least one newsletter, and most users said a newsletter had become part of their routine. This means that if you don’t show up, you could be damaging your relationship with your subscribers, seeing their trust in you slowly decreasing.
By producing a consistent, timely newsletter you’ll increase your authority as a reliable source, maintain strong ties to your reader and stay at the forefront of their mind.