When having your web site designed, a key element is an opt-in marketing box to capture email subscribers. Many companies are guilty of spending a lot of time and energy building their subscriber list, but only a day or two on their newsletter campaign strategy and design. Here’s our advice for creating a newsletter your customers will engage with.
First, decide why customers should read your newsletter. Don’t be tempted to hash together a poorly executed monthly newsletter just because your competitors are doing it. Most people are time-poor and tired of unsolicited mail. Be strategic and aim to exceed your customer’s expectations with your newsletter. Is it a good read? Is it educational? How do your customers benefit from reading it? Do some research into newsletters within your industry to evaluate strengths and weaknesses. Which newsletters do you read, which do you unsubscribe from and why?
Once you have researched competitor newsletters, re-assess your own company’s goals. Are you trying to get new leads? Do you want to prompt repeat orders from existing customers? Having a carefully segmented distribution list will ensure that each newsletter is targeted to the correct demographic at the appropriate time in your customer’s journey.
Be sure to balance the content between educational, entertainment and promotional. If you wish to avoid recipients unsubscribing at an alarming rate, keep promotional content to less than 15%. Rather than packing your newsletter full of company news and product launches, create one clear, enticing promotion and include an obvious call to action. Avoid the temptation to splatter your newsletter with buttons that dilute your real goal. Feel free to link out to pages you want customers to read (including third-party sites if it improves your trust and value reputation) but check the call-to-action at the bottom of pages you own. Keep your goal consistent.
The title of a newsletter is of paramount importance. Get it wrong and few people will open your superbly crafted newsletter, never mind read it. Experiment with several titles and ask for feedback from colleagues. Keep it short and always about the customer – not about your company. ‘We’ve won an award!’ is about your company and will send your customers to sleep. ‘The Most Romantic Places to Celebrate Valentine’s Day’ is about them. Be daring, creative and innovative, but remember that the title should be a true reflection of the content of the newsletter. Nobody likes to feel tricked.
Successful newsletters are often designed so that customers can scan content quickly — allowing them to cherry-pick what they want to read. Newsletter design and copy should be minimal, non-distracting and feature click-bait titles with an enticing excerpt and a link to the complete article hosted elsewhere.
A newsletter can be more effective if it focuses on one topic, rather than announcing every piece of news and product launch your company is pushing out this month. Depending on your industry, you could plan ahead to suit the holiday calendar. For example, creating timely newsletters related to Christmas closures, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, sporting events and national awareness days.
On a practical note, we have all received newsletters where images don’t show up due to HTML settings. Be sure to include alt text when uploading images so the recipient can at least read a text description of the image instead.
Use it cross-channel. The days of a newsletter being confined to email are over. Once you have created content, as well as putting it into an email template, disseminate the articles through all of your social media channels. Think of social media posts as bit-size chunks of a longer newsletter. Put them out on the same day as your email campaign. If your newsletter posts are interesting, your customers will come to expect them and will be more likely to share or comment. Newsletter campaigns deserve your time. They drive traffic to your site and boost your profile. If you’d like help devising newsletter campaigns or on any other aspect of digital marketing, contact The Web Designer Group for information on our social media management and marketing services.