What Makes a Good Newsletter: Effective Practices & Great Examples
Email is a flexible tool which applications are not limited to standard promos only. There exist several types of email campaigns, and a good marketer needs to know how to take advantage of every type:
Somehow, it turns out that the last category is paid the least attention. Companies spend time and effort to craft engaging welcome series and creative product recommendations, but their drive seems to go down when it comes to a newsletter design. We want to fix this misconception and are ready to prove that a well-though newsletter campaign can be as good revenue booster.
Let’s start with the basics. Email newsletters are emails that companies send to their subscribers to inform on their latest news, products, or service updates. With a pack of useful information inside, they have good chances to be opened. That means they increase the number of active readers and improve the quality of the contact base.
Additionally, your business needs these emails not least because they are good at increasing the conversion coming from the email channel.
Some companies have a marketing strategy entirely based on bulk newsletters. But more often, email newsletters are teamed up with promo campaigns. It helps make sales less aggressive: the subscribers take a break from commercial offers, but do not forget about the existence of the company. Although newsletters usually don’t contain evident CTA buttons such as Order Now or Add to Cart, they also generate prospects who can later evolve into customers.
How Newsletters Turn a Subscriber into a Customer
What makes the email recipient purchase a product or use the company service? An exclusive offer or the best price. However, the exclusiveness of your offer may not last long, as your competitors also monitor the market, and can add new products or drop the price at any time. To make people buy from you, you need to win their trust, and this is where good old email newsletters step in. Show customers you know their preferences and provide the useful content they would be interested in.
What to Put in a Newsletter
Good email newsletters must be informative and up to date. There are many reasons to get in touch with your readers:
- Weekly or monthly digest.
- Updates on blog posts, YouTube videos, and recent events.
- Personalized how-to recommendations and instructions. Consider adding to such emails some elements of animation: as they say, it is better to see once than hear a hundred times. Moreover, GIFs can save space and avoid lengthy descriptions.
- Upcoming corporate events. Planning to hold a conference or webinar and think your subscribers can be interested? Send them a smart email invitation, including all the necessary information: the event program. announced topics and speakers, time and location, etc. With the help of the newly introduced AMP technology, you can now let people RSVP to an event straight in the email body, without downloading extra pages.
- Contests and challenges.
- New products or services.
- International and local holidays.
The above email newsletter examples aren’t an ultimate guide; they are here to demonstrate that there is always a reason to connect with your customers. Sales offers and product recommendations aren’t the only reasons to knock on the inbox door. A company’s birthday, new social projects, corporate photoshoots, recent research and surveys, updates on company services - don’t be afraid to share what’s going on in the company’s life.
What Businesses Should Send Out Newsletters
B2B or B2C, basically any company can use email newsletters, adapting the content to their product features.
However, there are industries that can benefit from newsletter campaigns more than others.
- News and entertainment platforms. Their job is to keep you aware of what’s new around the globe, and emailing a relevant newsletter is the best way to do it.
- Educational enterprises. Be it an online language school or a yoga instructor training course, such businesses thrive on paid events, such as courses, seminars, webinars, and workshops, and a newsletter is a good way to inform when you hold one.
- Consulting companies. Although their business presupposes selling information, they often share pieces of useful content for free. Why? First, with so much information on the Internet, subscribers will find what they need one way or another, so it’s better if they find it in your mailings. Second, when they need a professional service in the related industry, you’ll be the first they’ll come to.
- Health and beauty. Newsletters work well to promote new drugs or beauty products: a campaign with comprehensive info on new-to-market sedatives or dermal fillers can be sent to corresponding specialists, clinics, beauty salons or medical magazines.
All these newsletters help build the brand's reputation and lay the foundation for further fruitful relationships. A commercial offer from the company the subscribers have already gotten familiar with has more chances to turn into a complete purchase. Even if people have never bought your products before, a series of well-designed email newsletters may create an illusion they’ve been using your service for a while.
- Online and offline retailers. Although newsletters’ main function is to introduce new information rather than actively generate sells, many companies manage to combine both functions.
The Rise and Shine campaign by reBloom is a good example of how to do it smoothly: they first provided a bit of useful info on how to get better sleep, then insert a CTA offering to put the newly acquired information into practice, and then invited to read one more related topic.
The newsletter by Stylist Live is a real trove of valuable info: it includes the insight into the beauty and fashion news, informs on the upcoming festival, introduces speakers, gives a promo code and offers to buy a ticket. Not bad for one email, isn’t it?
How to Design a Good Email Newsletter
In the eSputnik’s email editor, you can create a newsletter template, save it and use for all next campaigns: you’ll only have to fill it with relevant content.
In one click, you can also see how a newsletter would look like on a desktop or a mobile device:
This is a rather important feature; according to Blue Hornet, 70% of recipients immediately delete emails that are incorrectly displayed on a smartphone. So before sending, run a test and make sure your campaigns look as intended on any device.
Whatever design you’d opt for, your newsletter will most probably contain the following elements:
Sender. A sender name is the first thing people see when they receive an email, and it determines whether it will be open to a great extent. Newsletters can be sent on behalf of the company or a company’s employee, for example, a customer service manager (using a corporate domain, of course). The latter option makes emails more personal and lets your recipients see there are real people behind your campaigns.
Subject line. You have just a few words to convince the recipient your email is worth reading, and so they should be organized with extra accuracy.
- You probably have a story to tell, but don’t spill it out straight in the subject line. This part should be short and laconic.
- The first 3 words should be the most eye-catching and informative, as they are the main area of focus.
- Avoid misleading promises and fake offers. The subject line should correspond to the content of the newsletter and summarize its main idea.
- Use simple and understandable language even if you write about extra complicated things. People scan their inboxes in seconds, so avoid complex sophisticated words that need additional definition.
Header. It has to contain your logo and corporate colors and fonts to promote brand recognition. The image should be associated with what the reader will find inside. Try not to overlay it with too much wording, as cluttered images look messy and not appealing. A content list put at the top helps navigate through the email and improves the overall reading experience.
Body. Think over an easy-to-read structure: organize text in short paragraphs and provide them with visual and audio support. Since a newsletter is more about information than entertainment, it most likely contains much text, which yet doesn’t mean it should be boring and monotonous: images, photos, GIFs, rollover effects, video - try every format and see what suits your style most. Even a simple emoji put at the right place can spruce up a seemingly plain text.
Footer. Apart from contact info and social links, you can equip the footer with more options: let people print the copy, update preferences, or invite them to forward the newsletter to friends. If the material is interesting, why not share it? If you send an email newsletter on behalf of a company representative, consider adding their photo to make a campaign more human-like.
Now, when you’ve crafted an interesting and engaging newsletter, you definitely want as many of your recipients to read it. If your newsletter subscribers have also allowed to send them web push notifications, you can send a quick short push to notify on the newsletter delivery. App users may receive additional mobile push notifications that will invite them to check the inbox.
What’s more, if you use Advanced Segmentation in the eSputnik system, you can see in your segment what contacts have both email addresses and web push tokens. This allows building more targeted campaigns and reaching customers on different levels.
We’ve named the article Newsletter Effective Practices for a good reason. The Best Email Newsletter Practices would have sounded more catchy, but you know that there’s no such thing as the best, ultimate or the only possible. What works for one business, may be a total failure for another. As with any other emails, you need to craft newsletters based on your audience’s needs and preferences: short or long, plain or dynamic, bright or unicolor, fancy or simple - try different options and analyze what works better for your readers.
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21 December 2018
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