Maybe you’ve heard that newsletters drive conversions, but do you really know why that is? Learn why to use a newsletter, what makes a compelling newsletter, and how to build a newsletter that grows your business and turns buyers to brand fans.
An email newsletter is like a paper newsletter, in that it keeps your audience informed of what you’re up to and passes on can’t-miss deals and special announcements. Newsletters only go out to those brand fans who have opted in to hear from you, which means you’re speaking directly to your most passionate and loyal customers. No pressure, right?
There are many potential reasons for wanting to start a newsletter…. but if you aren’t clear on why your company needs a newsletter at this time, odds are you won’t create a very good newsletter. The best newsletters have a tight focus that controls everything from layout to content blocks shared within. Before you roll out your newsletter, decide why you’re doing it, what the focus will be, and how it aligns with your overall marketing and branding strategies.
Newsletters share news and cultivate community. As such, they’re often used to:
Your newsletter’s success starts with your subject line. If it’s not interesting, the majority of your readers simply won’t open it. While you can count on high open rates with emails that have "Sale" or "Coupon Code" in the title, that won’t work every time. One simple trick is to evoke curiosity by teasing newsletter content in the subject line.
Savvy marketers know that a strong newsletter isn’t very promotional. Perhaps 10 percent of every issue’s content directly promotes brand services or product. The rest of the content entertains or informs your audience. You might share sneak peaks of what’s under development, interview major industry players, or share editorials from your staff. Let your "why now" for creating a newsletter inspire you in brainstorming the type of content to share.
If you’re still stuck on what type of content to include, let this inspire you: A Nielsen Norman Group survey found that 40 percent of readers responded positively to these newsletter items:
The call to action or CTA is where you get results. Newsletters typically have multiple CTAs, but these shouldn’t compete. Your call to action likely depends on your marketing strategy. If you’re trying to build brand awareness, you might ask readers to share the article with a friend. If you’re running a special offer, you’ll want readers to buy before the deal closes. Keep your language simple in a CTA so readers know exactly what you want them to do. Then track metrics on your mailing list to evaluate which CTAs resonate with your readers.
No matter your niche, consistency is key. This means that once you decide to do a newsletter, you need to send it out on schedule or you risk losing readership.
With so much riding on the newsletter, it can be easy to get writers’ block just thinking about it. That’s where content writers come in. You can leave the hard work to someone else, sure, but how do you know that person really gets what you’re trying to do?
First, look for experience — both within your niche and with email newsletters. They require a different mix of skills than blog posts or web copy. A writer whose a strong match for your brand will often share qualities with your target audience and thus be able to speak their language naturally (which makes you sound like you get it).
You’ll also want a writer with detail orientation, a vibrant command of the English language, and impeccable spelling and grammar usage. With any type of content writing, you get what you pay for. When you’re marketing your business and trying to increase conversion rates, you don’t want to be putting out content with typos. So always hire the best writer you can afford, because your business is worth it.
Writers work with clients in different ways, but newsletter writers will generally want to know about your audience, your products, your competitive advantage in the industry, and your brand’s personality and voice. Strong writers will then pull from this information to put together newsletter copy that speaks to your audience about what’s important to them — and to you.
Successful newsletters continue to evolve after launch. Track open rates and clickthroughs to learn what your users love about your newsletter and what’s not as effective as you hope. After a few issues, you’ll have the perfect balance.
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