Any organization that’s serious about content marketing, whether business or nonprofit, should be sending out an e-newsletter. The e-newsletter is a highly effective marketing tool. It’s a great way to transmit your brand-created content to your audience of potential customers or donors.
But while more brands are committing to the e-newsletter, only a fraction of organizations are actually doing them well. Far too many e-newsletters do not compel opens and clicks, drive readers to the organization’s website, and help create a positive brand perception.
If that sounds like your organization, fear not, we’re here to help. Today we’ll look at a handful of easy ways to make your organization’s e-newsletter more effective.
Eight Tested Tips to Get More Out of Your E-Newsletter
Are you just starting an e-newsletter or looking to give your existing newsletter a boost? Follow these proven tips to better engage subscribers and see a bump in your results.
1. Send your e-newsletter regularly
A common problem with many brand newsletters is they only come out sporadically. If you’re not delivering your newsletter at regular intervals, subscribers will be more likely to forget about you, not recognize your emails and/or unsubscribe.
Create a distribution schedule your subscribers can count on. We recommend once a month—that way you’re not bombarding people, but you’re still hitting their inboxes regularly.
2. Include some personalization
The email newsletter is a friendly, casual exchange. You want to show your subscribers you know them, and you’re providing this great content as a resource. With email marketing of any kind, it’s always good to include a little bit of personalization.
Greet or address your subscribers by name. If you want to go a little deeper, you can tailor the content to the individual’s industry or based on previous newsletter articles they’ve read.
3. Create strong and compact subject lines
With our e-newsletter, we have tested out many different lengths and types of subject lines. As a result, we’ve discovered what many other marketers have found: Short and sweet rules the day. We initially started out including the full name of our e-newsletter (for example, The Number Crunch: 4 Creative Fundraising Ideas) but discovered through testing that we got much better results losing the name and going short (4 Creative Fundraising Ideas).
Focus on encapsulating the unique value each newsletter offers in your subject line, and try to keep it short enough that recipients can see the whole subject line on their smartphones.
4. Use your blog to fuel your newsletter
Don’t be afraid to use your e-newsletter to drive more eyes to your blog content. Chances are your subscribers have not yet read your blog posts. And even if they have, it doesn’t hurt to remind them of some of your great content they may have found useful.
Don’t repeatedly link to the same posts in your newsletters. Unless you have a post that is amazingly popular, only include it in your newsletter once every three months.
5. Put the spotlight on your headlines
With some much email overload these days, there’s a good chance if you get people to open your e-newsletter they won’t actually read it. They’ll just scroll through it quickly to see if anything catches their eye. That’s where your headlines come in.
Write newsletter headlines that catch eyes and stand alone. Even without reading anything else, people should be able to understand the value the article offers. Your headlines should not be obscure. They should tell people exactly what they’re going to get.
6. Make your descriptions short and intriguing
Some brands provide full article content inside their newsletters. While that’s OK (the content alone should reinforce your brand and your area of expertise), we only recommend doing that for one or two articles at most. We say this for a couple reasons: (1) emails of long text look intimidating and overwhelming; and (2) you want to push people to your website.
Provide 1-2 sentences of teaser content below your headlines. This content should intrigue readers and give them a glimpse of the value they will get from reading the full post.
7. Keep your design clean and simple
We’ve also learned through testing that newsletter subscribers prefer a clean and simple format to a busy or overstimulating one. Too many images, subheadings or sidebars can distract subscribers from the true purpose of your newsletter: the content.
As with website design, many organizations want to cram everything in. Don’t. Stay focused on getting people to read your headlines, click on your articles, and visit your website.
8. Make it easy for people to unsubscribe
We’ve all received those email newsletters we just can’t shake—and we all hate them. Don’t turn people into e-newsletter prisoners. If someone is not interested in your content or annoyed by your emails, give them an easy out.
This may seem to go against your goal of building your subscriber base, but trust us you are not creating leads by annoying people. Better just to let people go who are not interested in your content. They might come back and they might not, but at least they won’t hate your brand for it.
Make the Most of Your E-Newsletter Inbox Opportunities
When crafted and delivered effectively, your e-newsletter can be a great asset to your content marketing. It can give your blog and website traffic a boost, increase awareness of your brand and the services you offer, and help you establish new customer and donor relationships. But it’s up to you to create a polished newsletter that appeals to your audience.
Remember, your e-newsletter—like all content marketing—is not a hard sell. You’re simply sharing your professional knowledge and expertise with an audience interested in your topic. If you’re lucky enough to get invited to people’s inboxes, deliver something they will find valuable and worthwhile. Don’t waste this great opportunity for building stronger brand connections.