Email newsletters have been a staple of content marketers for years, so there are plenty of examples after which a business can model theirs. While many seem to think they are a great idea, they don't all seem to be excellent at executing them.
Just because everybody's doing it, doesn't mean everybody's doing it well. Email newsletters that consistently capture an audience's interest and convert leads to sales don't happen by accident. If it were that easy, every business's e-newsletter would be a huge success. You've probably seen enough to realize they're not.
So here are four helpful tips for creating and delivering a successful email newsletter:
Design it well
If you were to poll the "experts" in newsletter publishing, you'd likely find that there are a few common threads regarding appearance that might serve as industry standards of sorts.
It's easy to find e-newsletter templates online, and you'll see they tend toward clean, uncluttered pages. There aren't two-page articles. There aren't a ton of ads or promotions all over the place. Every content marketer wants the audience to consume their content, and one of the best ways to draw an audience in is to make the e-newsletter visually appealing.
Visually appealing means using graphic elements, some color and varying font sizes for headlines, subheads, and body copy, and also giving items on the page plenty of space.
Promote it well
It's difficult to build a subscriber list without adequate promotion of your email newsletter, but how you promote it can be just as important as how much you push it. The more popular e-newsletters become, the more difficult it is to entice visitors to click on a simple subscribe button.
That means providing opt-in prospects with a good description of the e-newsletter. What will they be getting if they opt-in? When will this be delivered? It might not be a bad idea to have a sales page that merely "sells" your email newsletter. Provide samples or archived content. These days, the lead has to get fired up to fork over their email address, so it takes a little bit more salesmanship.
Deliver it well
If you subscribe to Sports Illustrated or Time or any other magazine, you have an idea of when it's coming. It's once a week on Thursday or once a month around the 10th. Those are content subscription models that have been around forever. Subscribers can rely on that content coming regularly.
But content marketers don't always follow the proven model. How many e-newsletters have you subscribed to and have no real idea when you'll get content? How many monthly email newsletters turn into "whenever they feel like it" newsletters? If you want an audience to appreciate and look forward to your content, you have to deliver it when they expect it.
For high delivery rates data, your emails need to be opened. Get creative with subject lines, and spark curiosity if you want your newsletter to get more exposure. The best newsletter in the world can't overcome poor open rates.
Purpose it well
The temptation for some companies' marketing teams is to use all content to sell, sell, sell. But leads who opt-in to newsletters have done so because they've found the information they've been seeking. The idea of content marketing is to keep giving them the information that first attracted them to your business.
Therefore, the email newsletter probably shouldn't be all sales, coupons, and offers. If your readers are drawn to the information you provide and subscribe expecting to continue to get access to it, they'll opt out quickly if all they get are pushy sales pitches.
Tease informative articles in the newsletter, but link them to a page on your site that has one clear, unobtrusive offer, perhaps embedded in actual content. When using content to drive traffic from an email newsletter to blog or website, neither the email or the linked site should hit anyone over the head with pushy offers if you expect the audience to keep coming back.
If any and every email newsletter were successful, every business would have one and be up to their eyeballs in sales. The truth is that it takes work, but if you design, promote, deliver and purpose it well, your business's e-newsletter can be one of the successful ones.
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