For most people (especially for those of us in the email marketing world), receiving a newsletter from your favorite brand is akin to finding a chocolate on your hotel pillow. Even though you may have anticipated it, you still feel a little burst of excitement. You hope, when you open it, you’ll discover something sweet. If you don’t, it may be time to look elsewhere.
As an email marketer, creating loveable newsletters seems easier said than done. To help you reach the newsletter sweet spot, and keep subscribers coming back for more, we’ve put together a little roadmap. Check out how to create winning newsletters in three easy steps:
Step 1: Determine Why You’re Sending a Newsletter
Before you even begin to craft your first newsletter, step back and ask yourself one simple question: “Why am I doing this?”
If your answer is “because my boss says I have to” or “because our competitors are doing it,” then you need to re-evaluate. A newsletter can provide tremendous value to your email marketing endeavors, but only if you have a clear strategy and end goal.
Some good reasons for sending a newsletter include:
- It builds brand awareness. These regular emails keep your brand at the forefront of your subscribers’ minds.
- It encourages loyalty. Companies love loyal customers, and customers love to be rewarded for their loyalty. A newsletter is a great place to include information not yet available to the general public, such as details on new product releases and upcoming specials that make subscribers feel special.
- Re-circulate great content. Remember that great blog post you wrote two weeks ago? Your newsletter gives you chance to share it with your prospects, increase reach and, with any luck, drive a few subscribers further down the sales funnel.
Step 2: Write For Your Audience, Not for Yourself
Have you ever attended a graduation ceremony? Generally the class president or valedictorian (or both) give a speech. In my experience attending high school and college commencement ceremonies, there are two types of student speakers: the bragger and the entertainer.
The bragger is the student who stands up and prattles on ad nauseam about the clubs he lead, the events he managed, his legendary test scores, his perfect GPA and other information only the student (and his family) really care to hear.
Secondly, there’s the entertainer. The student who delivers such an interesting and engaging speech, you don’t notice the minutes pass. She’s inspiring, she’s exciting and she leaves you feeling like you learned something new.
Long story short: be the entertainer, not the bragger. While it’s okay to occasionally mention your company’s wins, focus on delivering targeted content that caters to your subscribers’ likes, needs and interests. Offer them something they’ll look forward to reading.
Step 3: Set Expectations Early
Some surprises are good. For example, when your significant other throws a party for your birthday. Some surprises are not so good. For example, when your significant other gives you socks for your birthday. When it comes to newsletters, surprises are kind of like socks.
Before your prospect even clicks the “subscribe” button, he should have a clear idea of what’s going to end up in the inbox each week (or two weeks, or month depending on your frequency.) Will your company’s newsletters include VIP offers? Sale previews? A round-up of the most popular items? Say so! The more your subscribers know ahead of time, the more satisfied he’ll be when you deliver on your promises.
Bonus Tip: Never Stop Testing
While customer data gives you a great deal of insight into who your customers are, and what drives their decisions, there will always be exceptions to the rule. The only way to determine exactly what your subscribers like and dislike from your newsletters is to test. A lot. Test everything from the subject lines and design to the imagery and hierarchy of information. Don’t be afraid to switch things up and try something new. The more data you obtain about the way in which your subscribers interact with your newsletter, the more tailored (and, ultimately, successful) your newsletters will become.
…and that’s it! By knowing why you’re sending a newsletter, writing to engage, setting expectations immediately and testing often, you can build email newsletters your customers will be excited to open.
Ever wondered who your customers really are? Find out now! Get all the data you need for winning newsletters with a free trial of InstantData.