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How to Send Email Newsletters That Don’t Suck

2/19/21

Content Creation, Content Marketing, Content Planning

Written by: JESS HAMMONS

Take a quick peek at your inbox. How many unread emails do you currently have?

(Jess here. At this moment I have exactly 900 in my main inbox that I’ve never opened, which could be worse. My Promotions folder is another story.)

(Latasha here. My inbox is currently at zero and Jess gives me anxiety.)

As a regular online shopper and internet user, you probably have some email habits that directly negate what you do in your business. 

What do we mean? Well… do you even read those long lifestyle emails your coach sends? Do you care what that makeup brand has recently posted on their blog?

As a small biz owner, however, we’re betting that you’ve been told to create similar email newsletters, or to share that kind of content. You’ve also likely been told that email newsletters are still an effective marketing tool, if not the most effective.

Is it wrong to behave one way with someone else’s content, and expect others to behave in a different way with our own? Not really. Especially if you have a similar audience.

But we’re not saying you can’t do email newsletters or that you should ditch email marketing. In fact, we’re advocating for the opposite. We are challenging you to up your email game. 

Yes, email newsletters are still worth it (if they’re good)

You may prefer to focus on other marketing techniques like ads, a killer social media strategy, or free resources. While that’s totally fine, we’re here to make a case for the benefits of a successful email newsletter.

They strengthen relationships with customers.

An email newsletter that does its job engages its readers, encourages them to take action, keeps them updated on your brand, and generally builds trust and loyalty. It’s like the old days of reading your favorite newspaper column every week or skipping to your favorite section in your monthly magazine. (We definitely just dated ourselves.)

You might think, “I’m just a local landscaping company/hair salon/photographer, who wants to read what I have to say in an email?!” Stop that right now. Obviously, your customers would, especially if they’ve subscribed already. You just have to figure out what they want to read. (Skip to the second half of this blog for more on how to do this.)

They spread brand awareness.

Ever get a really great email newsletter and share it with your friends or coworkers? Or maybe you see examples of newsletters in curated lists or online articles, and you think, “I should check that company out.”

Create on-brand email newsletters in both tone of voice and design, and you can make your brand easily identifiable to your customers. One way to do boost brand awareness is to include your logo somewhere in the newsletter (the top left of the page seems to be the best for brand recall). Another is to make sure your brand voice in every newsletter is on point.

They help you convert customers.  

A 2015 report showed that email generates $38 for every $1 spent. Talk about incredible ROI. And that was before the online shopping boom of 2020 when we were all bored and quarantined in our homes.

Need even more jaw-dropping statistics to convince you?

Alright, that’s enough numbers for now. The point is, email is still a worthwhile and beneficial marketing tool, as long as you’re creating one that gets opened and read. Now, let’s talk about that part.

How to create great newsletters

How do you put together an email newsletter that doesn’t suck? Here are some tips that we’ve learned over the years.

Offer unique, valuable content

When you’re known for giving readers email content that’s actually worth reading, it won’t matter as much if you’re running some kind of promotion or amazing sale. Your brand reputation is more likely to get you clicks in the long run.

What kind of content can you include? 

  • Advice on how to do something
  • Links to relevant articles or social posts about something in your industry
  • Customer highlights
  • Surveys

Whatever it is, try a mix of content and see what captures your readers’ interest the most. You can do that by tracking email open rates and clicks. #YouAreWelcome

Be personal and show off your personality. It’s way more fun reading a newsletter that feels like a person is speaking directly to you. Don’t be afraid to use humor, GIFs, or images if it makes sense for your brand. 

Have a consistent schedule

Don’t just send emails when you have news to share or something you’re trying to sell. This is exactly the wrong type of newsletter schedule to have. A consistent schedule will build a relationship with your readers.

How often you send newsletters is up to you. Once a day, once a week, biweekly, once a month? You choose. It’ll depend on your audience and their reading preferences. Remember to check your analytics to see which frequency, days, and time of day perform best.

Make it skimmable

Reminder: we are not suggesting you make it so skimmable that it looks like broetry. Please don’t do that. Just leave plenty of white space and make it easy to read. Check the readability of your background, colors, and font.

Be concise and straightforward. Get to the point. Don’t be a recipe blogger. You may have heard that shorter newsletters are better in general, but we think a better rule is to focus on the content itself. Give your readers valuable information and trim everything else.

Also, nearly half of all email opens happen on mobile, so check that your newsletters are formatted well across devices.

Quick extra email tips

  • Segment your email list so you can better personalize your emails. If you tweak your newsletters to serve different audiences, you’ll see better open rates.
  • Make it easy for people to subscribe to your newsletter. Have a form on your website, link to it on your social accounts, post a widget on your blog, etc.
  • Prune your email list regularly. You might think “the more subscribers, the better,” but what you really want is more engaged subscribers. Quality, not quantity.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t have to go all out on graphics and design. Plain text can work wonders.
  • Respond to replies. You’re building relationships with your readers, remember? Take the time to nurture those relationships.

Email marketing is alive and thriving

If you’re not using email newsletters to increase leads, drive sales, and engage your customers, you’re missing out! Follow our tips above for creating a great newsletter and we bet you’ll start to see those benefits.

Want more tips… delivered right to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter. We promise it won’t suck, and we’ll probably break at least 2 of our own rules.

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