Although we live in the world of social media, email isn’t going anywhere. It’s still one of the most popular forms of online communication, and there’s no reason to believe this will change.
For marketers, this is exciting news. A digital newsletter is an excellent opportunity for you to connect with your audience to drive engagement and sales. And it’s also an effective way of building brand awareness and affinity.
Newsletters can effectively leverage your email list into sales. But you need to have a great newsletter to do so.
The average conversion rate is only around 1 percent, largely because people are inundated with poorly crafted email marketing. If you can create an exciting newsletter that gives people what they want, then you can turn this marketing tool into a powerful engine for sales.
Nail the Subject Line
The biggest challenge in email marketing is getting people to actually read what you send them. And your only hope is to hook them with an enticing subject line. There’s no silver bullet formula here, but there are two things you should always have in mind: be personal and be relevant.
People can spot overly promotional emails from miles away, and they’ll get ignored, or worse, marked as spam.
Think about why people gave you their email address in the first place. Was it for promotions or information? And what specifically do they want? Discounts and bundle deals? Or do they want resources on how to maintain the products they buy from you?
Do your research by first asking people what they want. But also do some A/B testing. Send out two different newsletters with different subject lines. Then, compare open rates. The one that does better is striking the right chord with people, and it’s what you should be pursuing moving forward.
Pay Special Attention to Design
If someone does open your email, you still only have a few seconds to grab their attention and get them to read on to your call to action. The design is critical for this.
Make sure your newsletter has a clear visual hierarchy. Each newsletter should have a specific purpose. Maybe you want people to download your eBook, or perhaps you are pushing a certain product. Don’t bombard people with attention-getting content, as all this does is confuse the reader. It’s best to keep things simple and clear.
On a similar note, make sure the layout is clean. Don’t try to put too much in one space. Remember that most people are not going to read through the newsletter like a book. Instead, they are going to skim it to find what’s most relevant to them. Consider breaking up the different items into a simple description and image, using the “read more” button as a way of keeping the newsletter clutter free, and also of convincing them to click through to the website.
Furthermore, make good use of colors and directional cues to highlight certain aspects of the newsletter. Red tends to convey urgency, whereas blue is far softer. Black is most professional, but that may or may not be your desired effect. Consider bringing in some design experts to help you get it exactly right, as this stuff can have a major impact on the success of your newsletter.
Write Great Headlines
Just like the email subject line is critical for getting people to open your newsletter, your headlines will determine if people actually read your content. You need to quickly convey to them what they stand to gain by reading what you’ve sent them. Otherwise, they’ll tune you out and you’ve lost your chance at making a sale.
When writing headlines, put yourself in the shoes of the reader: you’re busy running around, on the train into the city heading to work, flipping through your phone. What’s going to make you stop and click on something? It’s a challenging psychological exercise, but if you can learn to align your strategies with the needs of your audience, you’ll see engagement and conversions rise.
Sympathize With Your Readers
One thing that many newsletter writers forget about is the power of anxiety. People work hard for their money, and they try not to spend it away on silly things they don’t need. And they’re deathly afraid of wasting their money.
The more aware of this you are, the better chance you have of connecting with people and encouraging them to make a purchase. Don’t be afraid to address these concerns head-on, saying things like “it’s easy to waste money on … because there are so many options out there, but here’s why you’ll be thankful you went with, xyz.
Pepper this into your content. This creates a soothing effect for the reader that will make them more comfortable with your brand and also with the idea of buying something from you. Obviously, you don’t want to overdo it with this but consider building more of it into your content and you should see engagement and conversions go up
Make It Easy On Them
You’re working with a very small amount of time to get people’s attention and move them into purchase mode. As a result, ensure you are making this process as easy as possible for readers. Don’t bombard them with lots of links to choose from, or with lots of different offers.
Instead, align your design and content so that your calls to action stand out and are easy to understand. The purpose of your newsletter is to get people to take some sort of action, and they know this as well, so be as clear as possible as to what that is.
Remember, less is more. Keep the design sleek and the content relevant, and this should help move people from their email to your website to make a purchase.
Newsletters have often been thought of as a place for building engagement and brand awareness, not necessarily for conversions. Yet things are changing. If you can leverage your newsletter into improved company performance, this will significantly improve the value of your business, something that will be very important if you ever decide to sell your business. And now you have the tools to do it, so it’s time to get to work building a better newsletter.