Email newsletters have lost their luster. When they first started coming out, a good fifteen years ago, they were very powerful and quickly found a place as an effective marketing tool.
But just because they have lost their luster does not mean they no longer work. Some B2B businesses and organizations have experienced great success with their email newsletters.
They find that their information gets shared, visitors come to their websites, and purchases of their products or services increase significantly over the years. We have one client – a consulting firm – that attributes a great deal of their success to their monthly “blast” as they call it.
However, not all them work. Some fall flat, the unsubscribe numbers jump, and in time the it ends up in the marketing bucket called, “Yeah, we tried that. Didn’t work”
And still other seem to do well, they are just not great. What ever the case, here are eight suggestions to help make good email newsletters great:
Who’s behind it. The most successful email newsletters are those that are supported from the C-suite. It can take time to determine if any marketing program is successful or not. Support from the top will provide the time needed to reach a worthwhile conclusion.
Look and feel. Sometimes, the simpler an email newsletter looks, the better. The look of the template should complement the content. You don’t want the look to take center stage.
Know your readers. In most cases, this is easy. Your readers are those people that purchase or might purchase your products or services. If delivered to those people that have no interest in your products or services, its call spam.
The 90/10 rule. The more promotional a newsletter is, the less well-received it will be. Focus on educating your reader 90 percent of the time and promoting your organization ten percent of the time.
Subject line. There is no way around it. The subject line must catch the reader’s eye and do so in less than a second. If coming from a well-known individual, start the subject line by saying: “From Bill Smith,” add the semi-colon and place the title. Other suggestions include:
- Using action-oriented words (Dine Out with Sports Star….)
- Create a sense of urgency (We Need to do this Now)
- Use numbers; interestingly, odd numbers in the title tend to be more eye-catching than even numbered numbers
- Use an emoji. Even when used in business email newsletters, studies find that the use of an emoji often results in a higher open ration.
ALT text. Make sure all images have ALT text. Many organizations post their newsletters online as well as distribute them. The ALT text will help the search engines find it.
Maintain the database. It is very important to update the newsletter database on an ongoing basis. Its true, subscribers are going to be leaving. That is always going to happen. But we want to keep adding new subscribers. We had one client that had not updated their newsletter database in years. Subscribers were leaving but none were coming in to take their place. It should have been no surprise this newsletter was failing to make the grade.
Make it easy to unsubscribe. I have been trying to unsubscribe from a newsletter distributed by LinkedIn for months. Every time I do so, the site asks me an assortment of questions as to which newsletter I want to unsubscribe to (based on the list, it is not clear which one I am receiving), which newsletters I wish to receive, why I want to unsubscribe, and on and on. This is too complicated and makes me unhappy. Make it easy to unsubscribe.
Samples of some of our newsletters are located here.