We receive countless email newsletters on a daily basis. They fill up our inboxes with flashy headlines, fancy graphics, and coupon codes that are just as likely to excite us as annoy us. Even though these emails are from our favorite clothing brands, restaurants, or vacation getaways, we only read the ones we really enjoy. So what does it take to grab our attention and get us to read further? What do these brands know that you don’t and what are the top email newsletter best practices of today?
Newsletters have been around for a while and gone through many evolutions. If you’re trying to launch an email newsletter for your business, you need to make sure you’re using the latest in strategies. What are the core features a newsletter should have today? In this post, we’ll review the five best practices you can implement today so you can be as successful as your favorite email senders, or even better.
1) Fabricate Exclusivity
While marketing strategies like social media or blog writing can generate great leads, they are tools to reach the masses. Newsletters are much more targeted and are about you and your customers. Even though you’re sending each newsletter to an entire list, you want to create that feeling of one to one interaction. You want your reader to feel like they’re part of your inner circle so how do you create exclusivity?
The best way to design this 1×1 feeling is to segment and focus on each of your email lists. Find out who your most loyal customers are and how you can express gratitude for their loyalty. One great place to begin is showing some of your out-of-touch customers some love. Re-engage these fellow fans by offering an exclusive discount or early access to an upcoming sale. A second strategy is ensuring your email lists are well organized like segmenting them by interests or products. Follow up with these lists by providing additional information on items they purchased or showing them related new products for sale. For any scenario make sure what you are offering is unique to those lists. Exclusivity will be a great way to build loyalty and increase your open rates.
“I want to do business with a company that treats emailing me as a privilege, not a transaction.” ~ Andrea Mignolo
2) Tell A Story
How do you make your email stand out from all the noise? Even a sale, discount, or catchy subject line doesn’t make you different. To become more than a skimmed email on its way to the trash, tell your story.
People want to buy from other people. Sharing stories about you, other customers, and personal experiences make your business more relatable. If you want to create a stronger bond with your buyers, take them behind the scenes in an interesting or fun way. Show people what is happening in your universe. The stories you tell will curate a voice and create a stronger sense of brand. Whether it’s cheeky, brainy, funny or whimsical, your unique voice makes your business stand out and become something memorable. In your next email, write something about a funny experience, historic moments, recent challenges, or recapping your latest event. People will want to engage with your business once they view you as a person and your brand as a vessel of your personality.
3) Create a CTA
The third newsletter best practice is a bit more direct. After you entice customers with a personal message and captivate their attention with your story, you need to tell them what to do. Similar to your other marketing strategies like Google Ads and landing pages, you need to make it easy to take the next step. Your newsletter should be a gateway allowing them to fulfill the action you want them to or having a clear CTA (call to action). This CTA could be forwarding them to a purchasing page, downloading some information, or reading the rest of a blog post. Whatever it is, define this action and make it easy to understand and complete. Make sure to test your email and ensure any links are working properly! For extra conversions, keep your CTA’s within your own ecosystem, meaning don’t direct your readers somewhere outside your own website or software.
4) Measure Your Results
Thankfully, most email services automatically provide insightful analytics so you can easily measure how your email campaigns perform. Use these built-in features to their full potential! Check the results of each newsletter you send and compare them to each other. Each one you send, try something new until you discover the best performers and then try mimicking those emails to replicate positive results.
Let’s look at the analytics you need to pay attention to. First, check your open rate to learn how many times your email was opened. If a reader opened your email multiple times, clearly you have their attention. Grab their email and send them a follow-up email if they don’t take action in a few days. The next metric to watch is click-through-rate or CTR. This shows who clicked on what links embedded in your email. What are people interacting with most or not at all? The last number to check is your unsubscribe rate. If people are opting out of your emails, don’t be offended. Instead, try to find out why so you can learn something. Send them an email directly or set up a poll during the unsubscribe process to ask them why they unsubscribed.
Analytics are vital to understanding how important these newsletters are to your business. With the results in hand, you can begin to test strategies, templates, and designs to see what creates the best results for your audiences. Use these learnings to draft your own newsletter best practices. When in doubt – ASK! Don’t be afraid to send out a friendly survey and ask for their opinion. Ask what they want more of and how you can enhance their experience. As a loyal customer, they’ll be happy to help!
5) Find (Your) Perfect Timing
A lovely newsletter doesn’t matter if you don’t know when to send it! To give your email the best chance of being noticed, you have to be mindful of timing. So when is that? First, analyze your audience and think about their general habits and behaviors. Are they night owls, students, parents, or the elderly? When do they arrive to work, fill their social calendars or have free time? Make a calculated assumption of when they would probably read emails. If your business is nationwide or international, be mindful of time zones and if you need to schedule emails at certain (possibly odd) hours.
Don’t know where to begin with the last of our newsletter best practices? Here are the general email sending guidelines, but keep in mind these could change for your specific audience! Daytime is usually best, so you can catch people during their waking hours. Avoid days that are typically busier for most people like Mondays and weekends. Typically, it is pretty safe to send emails in the middle of the week. The “best” time we’ve found is Thursday, right before lunch. However, the key to perfect timing isn’t timing at all. Your goal is to have a newsletter so compelling that readers look forward to your emails, no matter the time or day!
“To get the right message to the right person at the right time you first need to get the right data to the right database at the right time” ~ John Caldwell
The Newsletter Best Practices For Your Business
It seems safe to say that newsletters are not dead. While it is a bit dated, they are still very effective if you stick to these five newsletter best practices. Your email newsletter is an extension of your voice and a representation of your brand. Have fun with it and let your personality shine through. If you provide quality information, educational insights, fun content and personal stories, you’ll have no problem keeping the attention of your readers and growing your following along the way!