6 Elements of a Great Email Newsletter

by Warren Lutz – Contributing Writer and PR Professional

Create content that compels your readers to want to click thruBecause of their low distribution costs, email newsletters can be a marketer’s best friend—yet very few newsletters actually contain “news” or anything else worth looking at.

If you want an email newsletter that readers won’t delete, it needs to have these six things:

1. Value.

Your newsletter absolutely must contain information your audience can use.  Don’t just sent product announcements and special offers. Educate readers with how-to articles. Alert them to scams and safety hazards. Hold contests and give them a chance to win something. Give them the scoop about what’s really happening in your market. And don’t just use one of these items—use several and mix them up, so there’s something for everyone.

2. “Come hither” headlines.

More than anything else, the subject line of your email newsletter will determine whether it gets deleted or passed around. For crying out loud, be bold! And no, that doesn’t mean writing in ALL CAPS or using a bazillion exclamation points. Just pique the interest of your readers, for example…

5 Crazy Things People Are Doing With Our Product

The Lawsuit That Could Change the Way You Do Business

Boost Meeting Turnout With This One Trick

How to Convert Facebook Leads for Free

Are You Vulnerable to Next Year’s Heartbleed Attack?

A word of caution—you’ll want to avoid headlines that are overly negative or that use terms that are potentially sensitive to certain readers. If you aren’t sure about a particular headline, get opinions from your team. But don’t be afraid to have fun, either.

Sample email newsletter template3. Eye candy.

There are plenty of free and inexpensive newsletter templates available to choose from. But if you want to stand apart, consider having your newsletter professionally designed. Remember, your newsletter will be the first thing many people see about your company. Don’t squander that first impression. If you’re debating whether to outsource the design work, keep in mind that newsletter design is generally a one-time cost; once you have “the look,” you’ll be able to use it again and again.

4. Good timing.

Spread out the distribution of your newsletters so your audience doesn’t get sick and tired of hearing from you. Bi-weekly or monthly is ideal. Also, create a publishing calendar and commit to it. Sending out your newsletter only when you feel like it makes your company look disorganized—and it’s too easy to forget.

When is the best day and time to send out your newsletter? It depends. But if you are serious about fully leveraging your email newsletter, you should test out which days are best based on how often your newsletter is opened and how often readers click on its links. Most capable marketing vendors can help you with this research.

5. Short n’ sweet.

For each newsletter, select only the best news items you have available, make them short, and use short sentences. You want readers to be able to scan the newsletter quickly and get on with their day. If you do need more room to tell your story, give readers a few paragraphs and then “jump” the article to your website with a simple link.

6. Easy access.

It should be super easy for someone to subscribe to your newsletter. Advertise it on your website, in all communications with clients and prospects, and in the newsletter itself. Encourage subscribers to forward it to their friends. And of course, broadcast it on social media and blog its contents.

The bottom line is that newsletters ARE a great tool, but only when they are done correctly. Take it seriously—and ask for help if you need it—and you’ll see some serious results.

Additional Resources:

How to Create a Killer Email Newsletter

15 Email Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Email Newsletters Guidelines and Examples

For Email Newsletters, a Death Greatly Exaggerated

Further Reading:

How to Write for Email vs. Social Media vs. the Web [INFOGRAPHIC]

Using Brand Journalism to Tell Your Story

5 Things You Must Do With Visual Content

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