So your landing pages are working like a dream and you’ve captured enough leads to last you a lifetime. But being an experienced marketer, you should already know by now that leads never last a lifetime – you need to cultivate and nurture them in order to see the fruits of your efforts.
Email newsletters are a great way of taking things to the next step; building lasting relationships whilst, if they include promotional content, driving more revenue. The key is to make sure your subscribers actually read them. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 7 things you need to know in order to get your email newsletter read.
1. Subject lines
Most people will trawl through their inbox at least once a day and remove irrelevant emails, just to create more space for the day after. Anything that’s not of use or interest to your subscribers will be immediately scrapped. That’s why it’s crucial that your emails include a subject line that will make them want to read more – as quickly and concisely as possible.
Thankfully, you’ve already had plenty of experience, writing super-effective headlines for your landing pages. The key here is to approach your email subject lines in the same way:
- Keep it short - Email subject lines will get cut off if they’re too long, particularly on mobile devices. It’s generally recommended that subject lines be kept at a minimum of 50 characters to make sure readers scanning their emails will see the entire the thing. However, if you can get your message across in fewer characters, then it makes it a lot easier for readers to consume.
- Lead with value - People aren’t going to take the time to open up your email unless they know, straightaway, that it’s going to be of great benefit to them – they’d much rather just delete it. Value kind of ties in with relevance here (much like it does in a landing page header) so you’ll want to lead with a good reason why people should read more.
- Clarity over creativity - You want emails to grab attention, but not at the expense of clearly conveying the content of the email. Just like landing page headers, your subject line needs to be obvious. Another thing to avoid is acronyms. They may save on space, but they also appear too complicated and slightly spammy.
- Use action orientated words - In order to motivate readers to click, you’ve got to include words that demand action. Think about the kind of copy you use in your landing page CTA. Verbs are a great way of firing up a positive response and inspiring people to take action.
2. Email topic and goals
When it comes to compiling the content for you newsletter, it’s best to determine what your topic is beforehand and keep everything tight, as opposed to jumbling together a mismatch of unrelated content that strays from your main message. Try to think of each edition of your newsletter as an individual landing page – it’s purpose and your message needs to be made clear throughout.
Speaking of purpose, this is where you need to think about the overall goal of each newsletter going out. Do you want people to share your brand, upgrade their membership, or make a purchase? Or maybe you just want people to visit your website. Either way, you’ve got to decide what is most important/beneficial to you and tie all this in with your content topic – including a primary call-to-action nobody could possibly misunderstand. Again, apply landing page fundamentals to how you go about administering your CTA.
3. Cater to your readers, all of them
One of the top reasons email users unsubscribe from a business or non-profit email subscription is that the content is no longer relevant. If you’re sending out the same ‘blanket’ content to absolutely everybody on your list, then your chances of engagement are going to be slim.
Segmenting your mailing list – as you would serve different traffic sources multiple variants of your landing page – and delivering tailored content is going to make engagement more effective and avoid unsubscribes. It’s pretty much common marketing sense.
How you decide to segment your list is entirely up to you. But you may want to start by identifying large groups that share similar ‘personas’ and go from there – continuing to break each group down until you have a more specified set of metrics. For each newsletter you send to each group, there will now be a clearer idea of what kind of content needs to go out, according to what’s most relevant, and a goal that will be more achievable from your end and more appealing from theirs.
4. Length and frequency
There’s no set rule about how long your emails need to be, or how frequently you should send them out. But there are a number of things to consider, in order to keep recipients engaged and prevent them from switching off:
- Give good content, but don’t make your emails too long - Be quick and concise with your content. As with landing pages, you want readers to be able to glean the meaning and purpose straightaway.
- Send out emails regularly, but not too often - It’s important that you maintain a strong brand presence by sending out email regularly, but not at the expense of flooding your recipients’ inboxes every day. It’s all about quality over quantity.
- Keep a routine, but shake things up a little - Some of your readers will be eagerly awaiting the next edition of your email newsletter, so you need to make sure they can rely on you. However, throwing in the off ‘special’ edition now and again will help keep things fresh.
5. Interesting, useful content over promotion
The main reason you’re sending out email newsletters is to keep your subscribers in favor with your brand. You want to keep them interested in you and value you as a company, and this means issuing content they can use above self-promotion and sales.
On balance, you really should be giving your subscribers content that’s only 10% geared towards promotion and sales, with the remaining 90% dedicated to something they can use.
6. Make it easy for people to unsubscribe
It may sound counter-productive, but making it easy for people to be able unsubscribe from your newsletter will fare you well in the long run. Not only does it demonstrate a considerate courtesy to your subscribers, it also prevents your email from being marked as SPAM before it goes into their inboxes.
7. Make sure images have alt text
People won’t always have images enables, so you need to ensure any images going out on your email have one essential component: alt text. Alt text is the alternative text that appears when images aren’t loaded in an email. This is especially important if your CTAs are images – you want people to be able click where they need to, even if the image is not enabled.
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