If you’ve neglected email marketing at your business because you believe 99% percent of your newsletters will just end up in the spam folder, you’re throwing away countless conversions every month.
Newsletter campaigns are direct messages to readers that you know are already interested in your business. They’ve interacted with you enough for you to capture their email address, and the only thing stopping them from converting is a well-crafted email.
In fact, if you’re already creating quality content for a blog or social media campaign, sending out a newsletter that converts can be as simple as repackaging your best work into an email format. Our marketing team believes most small businesses can do this in less than 8 hours of work per month. See for Email Newsletter Tips for yourself.
Your opening salvo
Every worthwhile copywriter knows that the first thing a reader sees has more impact on their memory than anything else, so don’t let it go to waste. And no, we’re not talking about your newsletter’s first sentence -- we’re talking about the subject line.
Aside from your company’s name, those few words are the first opportunity your readers have to hit the Delete key, so make them count. Which would you be more likely to open?
Write compelling subject lines based on the following rules to grow the readership of your campaigns and direct more visitors to your site:
- Don’t use the same format every time
- Make the first phrase something specific that by itself would interest readers
- Keep it short (no more than 50 characters)
- Don’t use caps or exclamation points (these can trigger spam filters)
Make sure it’s readable
Again, you might think that we’re talking about the words in your email, but we’re still not there yet. Even if you’ve mastered the art of writing subject lines that consistently get over 30% of readers to open your newsletters, they won’t be worth squat if the content isn’t optimized for both mobile and desktop viewing.
In its State of Email report released in March of 2017, Litmus reported that 54% of all emails were opened on mobile. If your content doesn’t adapt to whatever platform readers open it on, you could see bounce rates skyrocket to well over half of all recipients.
Get to the point
Most business owners are aware of their target audience’s declining attention span, but what sort of numbers do you think they can actually expect? A mere three seconds according to Movable Ink’s 2014 US Consumer Device Preference Report, which measured how long users spent viewing emails.
The report was divided into three categories: 0-3 seconds, 3-15 seconds and 15+ seconds, and more than 50% of readers fell into either the first or second category. That’s a large enough portion that should force you to consider condensing your newsletter content into a handful of headlines and summary sentences.
Our marketing team recommends including 4-6 segments, each with one- or two-sentence blurbs. Readers can open your newsletter, scan the headlines, blurbs, and images in just a few seconds without missing out on anything.
Seal the deal
Every newsletter should be a series of steps that bring your readers one step closer to your website, and ultimately contacting you directly. First was your subject line, which you wrote to convince as many readers as possible to open the email. Then you peppered your email with varied content in an attempt to keep readers interested for more than three seconds -- now what?
Silly as it might sound, the color, shape and size of your “calls to action” (CTA) have huge impacts on click-through rates. For Pronto clients, we usually include about 4-6 CTA buttons which are colored to match the company’s logo. Combine that with a few words that promise immediate results -- like “Get started now,” “See more deals,” and “Try it for free,” -- and your newsletter will become a sizable portion of your site visits.
Test your newsletter's performance
Content isn’t the only thing that makes a great campaign. What time of day and how frequently you send your emails will make a world of difference in how readers respond to it. We’ve already discussed the best way to go about determining these factors in a previous blog post, but the point is you should constantly be improving performance.
Segment your email list into two or three different groups and optimize your scheduling by comparing results between groups. Once you’ve picked a time and date, spend one or two newsletters A/B testing each of the variables listed above. For example, one month on which subject line style gets the most open rates, one month on how many segments results in the most click site visits, and one month on which CTA design is the most successful.
BONUS tip: delegate your campaigns
Take a step back and ask yourself, “Do I really have the copywriting, graphic design, and data analysis resources to create an effective campaign every month?” Because if we’re being perfectly honest, you might. Consider these prerequisites:
- Cloud newsletter management software runs about $25 per month if your list has less than 2,000 addresses.
- Subject lines, headlines, and segment summaries should be about 1 hour per newsletter (significantly more you if you don’t have existing content to link to).
- Mobile optimization and testing comes in around 2 hours per newsletter.
- Images, layout and CTA design clocks about 2 hours per newsletter.
- A/B testing and data analysis should account for 2 hours per newsletter.