Did you know that 61% of consumers prefer to be contacted through email? It’s unsurprising, then, that 59% of B2B marketers said that an email newsletter is their most effective revenue-generating marketing channel.
With that being said, here are our tips for creating an email newsletter that generates a return on investment.
Set Your Goals
Before you start writing the email newsletter content, make sure you have clear goals and a good understanding of how an email newsletter fits into your broader marketing strategy. Keep in mind that your goals should be something beyond just getting people to open your email, although that is a good start, so an appealing subject line is a must!
First things first, it’s important to answer the below questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the needs of your audience?
- What value is your newsletter offering?
- What is the goal of your email newsletters?
Knowing who you are sending your email newsletter to is paramount. Segmenting your database by demographic, engagement type and stage of their customer journey means you can tailor your messages to their exact behaviour and interests, leading to better engagement.
If one of your goals is to increase brand advocacy, email newsletters can motivate recipients to help spread the word about your company by including content like quizzes, contests, and other vices that encourage them to share your content or reference your brand in conversation.
Other possible goals include:
- Educate readers about your company
- Deepen audience engagement
- Drive sales / lead generation
When deciding your goals, it’s important to understand how you will measure your email newsletter’s performance against your objectives. How will you track brand impressions gained from your newsletter? How can you measure audience engagement? How will you attribute sales to this newsletter? Depending on the newsletter system you use, many of these metrics are available to report on. MailChimp, Klaviyo and Dot Digital, among others, all have reporting for email open rates, click to opens, and engagement rate – and, if you have an eCommerce integration, they can also report revenue directly generated from your emails.
Back To Basics
Now that you know who you’re targeting, what your audience wants from a newsletter and what you need from your newsletter, it’s time to get back to the basics. Email newsletter templates don’t need to be bold or flashy – soft colours can work just as well! The only rule is to make sure it matches your branding for continuity and that your content fits well within the design. Make sure to allocate space for appealing visuals! Visuals like infographics are more engaging; they communicate data to your customers in an easy-to-understand, visually appealing way. Rather than pouring through tedious figures and struggling to process information, audiences can easily grasp and enjoy your content, making them more likely to stay engaged, remember your messages, and even take action like click to your website and buy.
Top tips for formatting your email newsletter to ensure deliverability, encourage engagement, and drive business:
- Sender Email Address
Do you know about the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003? The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email and establishes the requirements for commercial messages. Recipients must have the right to respond to you, or to even opt out of future emails. It is crucial to make sure email communications are not sent from a ‘no-reply’ address as this prevents the recipients from taking these actions. Instead, use a first-name company address – [email protected].
This is a good opportunity to consider who your newsletter will come from. Your ‘From name’ will be one of the first things recipients see in their inbox so what can you do to make people want to read your email? We’re all used to filtering out spam in our inboxes nowadays, and seeing a company name is a sure-fire way to tell that an email isn’t personal and is sales-based. Having a newsletter come from a person invites the recipient to open and read your content.
- Set the Scene
Tell your audience what to expect from the get-go! When you include an incentive in your subject line, you can drastically increase your open rates. Remember to keep your subject lines short to avoid them getting cut off when first viewed in the recipient’s inbox. Keep subject lines between 9 and 60 characters.
- First Things First
It’s important to grab your reader’s attention and make the premise of the newsletter clear as soon as they open your electronic communication. So, first things first, focus above the fold! Above the fold refers to the information that’s visible to the reader before they scroll down. Even though recent research suggests that consumers scroll more than they used to, above-the-fold content still gets the most attention. This is the perfect place for your messaging and CTA as it’s the first thing your audience will see once they open your email, therefore increasing your conversion rate, so make sure it’s clear.
Would you read an email addressed to ‘Dear member?’ No? Neither would your audience. Personalisation is a major key to successful email marketing. In fact, 47.2% of marketers in a recent HubSpot survey listed personalisation as one of the most effective email marketing strategies for reaching their goals. 60% of people sign up for brand emails with the expectation of seeing promotional messages in their inbox – adding their name in the subject line or body helps the email stand out in their crowded inbox.
Another element of personalisation to consider is to sign off your email from an employee. Just like the ‘from name’ and email address being a real person, adding a personal email signature adds a more human touch to your email newsletter. People are naturally more inclined to read an email if they know it came from a human being, not just a collective marketing team. Your email signature is your ticket to their attention!
Now you’ve got your reader’s attention, it’s time to make your email sparkle! The less clutter you have in your email, the more conversions you’ll get. Don’t junk up your email with too many fonts or typefaces, as that can distract readers and ruin your email’s visual appeal.
Using the same font in different variations (i.e., bold, regular, and slim) gives your content hierarchy which helps to draw the reader’s eye down through your content whilst being aesthetically pleasing.
In addition, you want to use web-safe fonts with sizes between 10 and 12. This ensures your email will be legible for all readers and devices, especially as 70% of emails are opened on a mobile device. Ensure that your email dimensions will render correctly on both a laptop and mobile device.
Testing Testing, 1, 2, 3…
Now that you’ve created your newsletter, it’s time to make sure it performs the way you envisioned it! One way to check this is to send test emails to your colleagues to double-check the visual aspects on both a desktop and mobile format. For bonus points, check your email newsletter on a tablet device too!
Another test you can run to measure the performance of certain aspects in your email is an A/B test. A/B tests can be used to improve almost any of your digital marketing content. In an email, this test splits your recipients into two groups: Group A receives the regular newsletter, while Group B receives the newsletter with a specific variation. This variation tests to see if your audience would be more or less likely to take an action based on that element.
Now that you’ve tested your email and are happy with what you’ve produced, the last thing to do is to send it out to your audience. Join the 59% of happy email marketers and watch your revenue boom!