How to create newsletters that people will actually read
July 27, 2017
Some people say that newsletters are one of the cornerstones in the online marketing mix. Others say that in the era of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, no one really needs the newsletters. The fact is: Newsletters refer directly to a recipient. Therefore, they get not lost automatically in the data stream under which the social media is produced every day – not to mention search filters. However, a decline in the opening rates of the newsletter can be observed from year to year. We wil now tell you how to manage to inspire customers for your news emails.
Look into the statistics
Sendinblue (provider for E-Mail Marketing Software) publishes every year statistics on the average open and click-through rates in email marketing. As it shows, almost 36 percent of the recipients opened their newsletters in 2014. In 2015, it was only 24 percent. In 2016, the opening rate dropped to 23 percent. On the other hand the click-through rates (CTR) on a link within the newsletter improved. It was 12.4 percent in 2015 and 14.1 percent in 2016. This can be interpreted as a sign of optimized mailings. Once the newsletter was read an action of the reader followed.
A view on this quick analysis of the statistics shows that it becomes harder for the newsletter to be noticed at all. Whether this is due to social media networks such as Facebook and others or the increasing volume of mailings, we cannot tell. The fact is that those who want to score with newsletters cannot permit themselves any mistakes and must offer genuine reading incentives to their readers.
6 Typical mistakes in the creation of newsletters
1. The newsletter is only advertising
Probably the most common reason why newsletters disappear unread in the trash is the equalization of newsletters and promotional mails. Newsletter, however, means news letter. The countless offers for a flower bouquet at a special price are certainly not news. The recipients know which senders only send advertisements. They do not read their mails at all and you just click the delete button.
2. Too frequently mailings
Newsletters should be sent regularly. But does it have to be daily? The recipients get used to it and don’t even look inside. In addition to that, the sender should honestly ask himself whether he really has interesting news and information to report to the recipient every day.
3. Uninteresting topic of the subject
The topic is, so to speak, the hook the reader should bite into. If the bait is just a “super offer” or a “unique opportunity” it is hardly different from the other baits.
4. Promise too much
If the subject promises more than the newsletter gives, the readers will punish you. Therefore keep your promises.
5. Words without an end
A long novel can bring much joy and pleasure. A long text in an email scares. The recipient wants to be able to quickly filter out the relevant information from the message. Interminable gibberish prevents that.
6. Images instead of texts
Images can make a newsletter appealing and loosen it up. But if you only set pictures or even send a single graphic as a message, you will not be able to reach many recipients. Almost all email programs suppress the display of graphics for security reasons. They are also not visible on smartphones as the loading consumes data volume. Pictures are shown only if the recipient of the ad accept the load. If the recipient does not agree, he will not even know what the newsletter is about.
14 Tips for newsletters that arrive recipients
1. Meet the requirements of the target groups with several newsletters
Those who want to reach their respective target group, must provide the information that interests them. But how do you know which subject is appealing to every single one of your recipients? Just ask. You can create a newsletter that invites users to select their favorite topics. Now you can send the appropriate newsletter to each subject area and fulfill the wishes of your recipients.
Note: You can, of course, poll the desired topics when registering for the newsletter. However, you should not make the application too extensive. The more fields have to be fill in, the more likely they will leave. Only when a basis of trust has been created, users are willing to give further information.
2. Address every recipient in a personal way
If you know the name of the recipient, you should address him by his name. Of course, you can also provide other individual information. It is true that the more personal the recipient perceives the newsletter, the sooner he will read it as well.
3. Do not send anonymous emails
If the email comes from an impersonall non-reply email address, it will be difficult for the recipient to respond. In addition, a real name adds a personal feeling to the email. In general, the recipient should always have the possibility to respond. Using this way you get in touch with your customers or prospects quickly.
4. Formulate an interesting subject
Arouse attention with the subject. What is interesting, of course, determines your target group. Try several ways to formulate the subject. You will quickly find out which formulation finds approval of your readers. Do you like questions in the subject? Do you want concise keywords? Does a promise catches on?
Note: Use professional newsletter software, so you can see how many times your messages have been opened. This allows you to check the success of each subject.
5. Soft topics can bind recipients
Add soft topics to your newsletters. They are a welcome change from the “work and everyday life” of most of the recipients. The recipient feels comfortable when reading and reads the newsletter to the end.
Examples of soft topics:
Software provider → the funniest operating errors
Environmental protection association → pets of the members
Weather Newsletter → when the weather surprises even the meteorologists
Football club → the favorite cooking recipes of players
Window Manufacturers → the most unusual ways in which windows can be destroyed
Online shop → the most extraordinary return reasons
News portal → the most embarrassing typos
6. Clear structure
Work with short paragraphs, subheadlines and lists, to give your newsletter a clear structure. This allows the receiver to quickly capture what the text is about. Longer articles or texts should be linked. The addressee can then decide for himself whether he wants to read more about a topic.
7. Name graphics
If you are working with graphics and images in the newsletter, do not forget to name them with an ALT attribute. In this way the recipients who suppress the display of graphics have the ability to understand your newsletter.
8. Short sentences
Formulate your concerns/requests in short sentences and common words. This way they will be easily understood.
9. Stay concise
Stay concise and and get quickly to the point. Just when you formulate a call for action it should never be hidden. Tell your recipient what to expect from him and what he may expect in turn.
10. Useful information instead of advertising
There is a phrase “A man’s praise in his own mouth stinks”. In a newsletter the stink ousts customers off. Therefore refrain from self-promotion and provide useful information. The customer always rewards helpful information.
Car repair shop → “How do I change my tires”
Optician → “Tips to the care of plastic glasses”
Online shop → “Determine the right dress size without measuring tape”
Power provider → “Power saving tips”
Experience has shown that, on mondays, recipients are inundated with things that have accumulated over the weekend. After 6 pm, only a few people are still working. On Friday, they are going home earlier. Depending on the target group, you should set the correct sending time. It is best to test different times of the day and days of the week.
12. Suitable rhythm
A newsletter with technology news can appear every day. A newsletter with information from the world of beekeeping is certainly rather suitable for a sending on a monthly basis only. Depending on the subject, the rhythm should be chosen. It is important not to flood the subscribers. In addition it should be ensured that sufficient relevant information can be accumulated during the period of publication. In any case, set a specific day on which the recipient can always count on the receipt of the newsletter.
13. Do not forget smartphones
When designing your newsletter, never forget that the design should be responsive for smartphones too. You can also work without HTML elements and create a pure text newsletter instead. It is displayed equally well everywhere and has the advantage that graphic elements do not have to be reloaded. This conserves the data volume of the receiver.
14. Unsubscribe option
You certainly do not want to lose any subscribers. If a recipient decides to refrain from receiving their newsletters, do not make it difficult for him. Put a link at the end of the mail. This is fair and makes your newsletter legally safe.
“I am writing a long letter because I do not have time to write a short one,” Voltaire, Goethe, Twain, Marx and also Pascal have said this. What applies to the letter applies to the newsletter too. It takes time to formulate the newsletter effectively and to the point. If you do not want or cannot take the time, simply use external service providers. Texts for your newsletter can be ordered e. g. at clickworker → Text services by clickworker.
If you have further suggestions or tips for creating newsletters, please write to us. If you wish to have a different topic that should be discussed, we look forward to your suggestions and ideas.
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