For anyone who runs a business, the priority always is to get more customers, and the best way to do that is to increase traffic to your website. Email marketing campaigns are one of the most effective ways to achieve this, and an essential part of these campaigns involves sending email newsletters peppered with links intended to take people to your web pages. The journey of a prospect that began with a newsletter signup form ends with them converting into customers and then into loyal customers.
What is a newsletter?
A newsletter is a mass email sent to a mailing list informing them about the latest news, tips, and updates related to a brand or company. Newsletters are shared at regular intervals and only with those who have given their consent.
What is a newsletter’s purpose?
Newsletters are not necessarily meant for a hard sell. Instead, they’re a medium to build brand awareness and develop a strong relationship with the audience. While some brands do promote their latest products and offers in their newsletter, they are often packaged as a larger campaign alongside other important information.
Here are some common reasons why newsletters are sent:
Provide regular updates
Improve website visits
Motivate customers to make purchases, write testimonials, and check blog posts
Share brand ideologies
Send clarifications during crisis management
Promote upcoming events/sales
How often should you send a newsletter?
There is no definitive answer to this. It depends on the content and the audience. The trick is to hit that sweet spot—getting good open and click rates without annoying the subscribers. The best way to determine this is through testing different options and comparing the results.
Some brands send weekly newsletters, others choose to send once a month, and some even choose to connect with their subscribers fortnightly (every two weeks).
You can choose the frequency by analyzing the performance of your previous campaigns in the reports section of your email marketing software and see what gets you the best open and click rates.
What does a newsletter contain?
Before we dive into the kinds of content, let’s talk about a welcome email. This is often the first email one receives after they sign up for your newsletter, though it’s rarely part of the actual newsletter itself given that a newsletter is typically an ongoing series that people are opting to start receiving. Readers are likely to interact with your brand more if they receive a well-crafted welcome email that thanks them for joining the newsletter list and maybe even gives them an idea of what to expect in a typical newsletter. It’s the first impression that your brand makes.
Usually an automated email, it is a friendly hello to connect with new customers and encourage them to interact with your product or service.
While email newsletters can feature a variety of information, let’s look at five key pieces of content that are effective at helping inform readers and, eventually, converting them into loyal customers.
Newsletters are an ideal place to include announcements related to products, services, or initiatives. If the announcement is of the utmost importance, a separate email specifically devoted to the news might be necessary as well so the announcement doesn’t get lost in the mix or just in case someone decides to skip that particular issue of your newsletter.
Including announcements in your newsletters also gives you control of the narrative surrounding the announcement. To build a long-lasting and trustworthy relationship with your subscribers, it’s important to ensure that all the vital communication regarding your brand comes directly from you first. Prompt notification about any new product or feature release will assure them that the information is accurate. Newsletters are a great way to create excitement among subscribers about an announcement and the perfect place to include special offers for those who register or purchase first.
If you or your company have received an award or crossed a milestone, a newsletter can be the best way to inform your audience about that. This is another type of content that helps build trust and loyalty, because companies that share important internal news with subscribers are in a sense inviting their audience to become part of their family. Details on company events, achievements, or changes can also be shared, but always keep the audience in mind first.
Remember to always ask, “Why will our readers care about this news?”
If you’re a large company, changes at the top will have a direct impact on your products or services, so these might be of interest to your audience. But a slight promotion or job title change for someone they’ve never heard of might not be significant to them. Meanwhile, if your team is small and your customers interact with them regularly, they would be more inclined to be interested in their well-being. If you’re sharing about an important company event, remember to provide links and info that can take readers directly to a registration or contact page.
Educational content and industry insights
Another important use of the newsletter is to educate. In fact, this might be one of the most popular reasons for someone to opt in and receive a newsletter—learning how to use your company’s products better. Understanding the pain points of your customers can help you give them useful and actionable information. This could include tips and tricks or hacks to overcome certain difficulties.
Newsletters are also often packed with industry-specific knowledge related to your business or product. Though this may not be directly linked to your brand, it will help you project yourself as an industry leader. For instance, a pet grooming studio doesn’t necessarily have to talk about their clients or services all the time. Once in a while, they can discuss the health risks faced by animals during certain seasons or share links to shelters that need financial support.
If you are a news portal, a specialized blog, or a subject specialist, you can share content written by others with your audience simply by linking to it and maybe including a brief introduction. Not only does this help if you don’t always have your own content to share, but it also generates goodwill with those you’re linking to. Many blogging platforms use this format to dish out the best piece of writing they come across on their website.
Be it promoting your latest product or letting your subscribers know about an upcoming sale, including promotional content in your newsletter is a go-to strategy for any marketer. It’s also where a marketer needs to be the most careful, which is why we’ve placed it at the bottom here. When an audience signs up for a newsletter, it means they’ve already bought in on your product or service to a certain degree. Often they’re trying to learn how to use it better or want to know more about what’s going on at your company. The one thing they’re not looking for is to be sold to over and over again. This is why promotional content should be used sparingly. Less is more.
Promotional content tends to be picture-heavy and conveys a sense of urgency. As this is often the hardest sell you’ll see in a newsletter, keep this sort of content brief. People will often skim newsletters, so getting to the point of the offer quickly and then offering an appropriate Call to Action (CTA) button will net you the best results.
How long should a newsletter be?
The “ideal length” is not a hard-and-fast rule. It depends on the content and, mostly, the frequency. For instance, if you’re sending your newsletters out once a month, you’ll likely have multiple sections containing a mix of the types of content we mentioned earlier.
If you’re an ecommerce company sending out the best deals every week, you might have fewer sections and will be more reliant on images.
Regardless, leverage the power of linking out to content. Keep any body copy in your newsletter brief—maybe two or three sentences—and then provide a link readers can follow to read more on the subject. Obviously an exception to this is if you want to open your newsletter with a message from someone on your team. Even then, keep that short and to the point.
The best way to gauge the impact of the length of the newsletter is through A/B testing. Try different variations and study the results to see which version gained more engagement.
Choose double opt-in
A double opt-in subscription system means that people have to confirm they’ve subscribed to your newsletter before they receive it. This guarantees that your list only has valid email addresses by automatically eliminating typos made by people in the signup form and other issues. In the long term, this will help improve your domain reputation.
Personalize the content
Personalizing your email campaigns is a proven way to increase your open and click-through rates and can have a measurable impact on your ROI. You can do this by using merge tags, dynamic content, and segmenting your list.
A CTA button encourages your audience to take a tangible step—click here, read more, or sign up now are all great examples. They lead your audience towards becoming a customer or client. Every newsletter should have a key CTA you want to emphasize. Without one, your newsletter won’t make an impact because there will be no hook that inspires customers to take the next step.
The best part about newsletters is that they can be designed quickly. The ready-made newsletter templates of today’s email marketing software makes your job all the more easier. There are plenty of categories available, and you can use them without any coding knowledge.
So get started creating your first newsletter today!