Contrary to popular belief, the newsletter is still alive and thriving. Business owners can see great returns from newsletter campaigns – if done correctly. Crafting the ideal newsletter may take a bit of time and energy, but it’s well worth the investment. If your industry can benefit from sending newsletters, here’s how to leverage this marketing classic to its fullest potential.
1. Define Your Topic
A common complaint surrounding newsletters is that they’re often cluttered and unfocused. At its core, a newsletter is supposed to spread news – but it doesn’t have to spread all the news, all at once. Define a clear purpose for your newsletter, and keep content focused and uniform throughout. If you have a lot of information that you need to convey at once, consider breaking the newsletter into separate parts or using an infographic instead.
You don’t necessarily have to keep all content strictly on the same topic, but the newsletter should at least have an overarching theme – a common thread that ties different topics together. Try using email newsletter templates to help keep content organized and free from clutter. Most consumers don’t appreciate a random newsletter as much as they do one that is focused, concise, and to the point. Aligning your newsletter with a specific niche or topic can give your content a greater impact on a target audience.
2. Strike a Balance
One pitfall many companies fall into when it comes to creating newsletters is failing to strike a balance between information and promotional content. Great newsletters are mostly educational and only slightly promotional. The point of a newsletter is to increase brand awareness and drive site traffic by offering relevant, valuable information – not gimmicky promotions or sales announcements. While your newsletter can certainly advertise a product, this shouldn’t be the focus of the piece.
Consumers are more inclined to buy from companies (or at least open newsletters) that don’t shamelessly self-promote. Subscribers to an email or paper newsletter list have a certain level of expectation you should meet. To make consumers feel appreciated, make newsletters 90% educational and only 10% promotional. This shows readers that your company offers something of value to them and isn’t just looking to close a sale. Unless you have a major product debut or vital service information to share, you should save it for a banner ad. Otherwise, you risk irritating readers, ending up in the Junk folder, or seeing a higher “unsubscribe” rate.
3. Use One CTA to Rule Them All
It’s true that a newsletter shares multiple pieces of news with multiple calls to action (CTAs) – however, dividing importance across many different CTAs can result in none of them getting a reaction. Instead of making your CTAs share equal importance in a newsletter, include one main CTA you emphasize more than others. That way, even if subscribers ignore your smaller CTAs, at least they’ll heed the one that was the most important to you.
Prioritize the main thing you want subscribers to do after reading your newsletter, whether it’s signing up for an event or visiting a remodeled website. Place this CTA at the very top of your newsletter, and make the rest of them more “If you have time …” options for readers. If sending an email newsletter, make your main CTA a brightly colored button link that takes them directly to where they need to be. Make the action as simple as possible for the best results.
4. Download the App
Sending better newsletters isn’t just about the content. Today, reaching your target audience with a newsletter is as easy as pressing a button on an app. Email marketing apps are great alternatives to standard programs such as Gmail or Outlook. For large groups and scheduled publications, an email marketing app may be the better choice.
Apps let you add and organize contacts, send attractive and optimized newsletters with ease, and analyze the returns of your campaign.
There are dozens of email marketing apps available, but the best ones offer marketing automation focused on your interests. These apps have tools that help you gather customer information and categorize subscribers based on their individual interests, locations, or demographics. That way, you can send optimized newsletters to each group for the best chance of getting a response. Apps enable faster, better design techniques and dozens of features that keep up with current industry trends – saving you time, energy, and giving you better returns.
5. Embrace Trial and Error
The top newsletters probably didn’t start out that way – these brands learned from mistakes, tested new ideas, and grew according to subscriber feedback. The best way to create and send newsletters that yield positive returns is to test different strategies and see which ones work the best for your company. No two companies are the same and no two newsletters will be either. What works for one company may not work for you. The key to optimizing your newsletter is to pick and choose the best practices you gather through trial and error.