The anatomy of a successful newsletter

· Email marketing,Featured,Writing

There isn’t a formula for a winning newsletter – nor should there be – but effective ones have some things in common. 

We’ve dissected email marketing content to give you the insider edge on getting yours opened, read and achieving your goals. Read on to find out what makes a successful newsletter.

1. Subject is everything

Who knew a little combination of words could hold such power? Writers. Writers knew! The subject line of your email is the deciding factor for the newsletter you’ve worked so hard on being opened, ignored, or worse still, at the mercy of spam filters. A catchy subject line lures the reader in with a promise of what’s to come. Think questions, top 5s, how-tos, time-sensitive offers and interesting turns of phrase that pique your reader’s curiosity. Resist the urge to summarise the content of the email – leave the reader wanting to know more. And think visually too. If it suits the tone of your industry and message, emojis can be an effective way to cut through a cluttered inbox.

2. Give them a snippet

The often-overlooked snippet is the line of text that displays beneath the subject line in your inbox. Many email campaign tools will automatically draw the first line of text into this space. However, manually entering a snippet enables you to take full advantage of this precious inbox real estate. Use it as a follow-up to the subject line: perhaps as the pay-off to a witty line or offering a second reason to open it. Keep it to 40-50 characters for maximum impact.

3. Call me by my name

You know that feeling of snapping to attention when you think you hear your name? There’s a psychology behind using your readers’ names in your introduction text, and even (sparingly) in subject lines. Your database likely has your subscribers listed by first name, and most email platforms make it easy to include personalisation tags. The result is a piece of communication that makes your reader feel special, understood and spoken to in human terms.

4. Keep it short

How long should it be? It really depends on your audience. While some will enjoy a leisurely read the length of a blog post, many others will skim read. Always err on the side of brevity, with text broken up into subheadings, lists, bullets and easily digestible information.

Think of it as writing to a friend who’s short on time.

5. Engaging content and visuals

Successful newsletters have something worth saying. Make sure that your copywriting is engaging and your topics interesting. Regularly check email statistics to see what types of content resonate with your readers. Images should load quickly and be used thoughtfully – there’s even a trend towards using plain text emails that are aesthetically closer to personal emails. Remember that 40-50% of emails are opened on a mobile device, so always optimise and test them before hitting ‘send’. As for links and buttons – more than one is best but don’t overwhelm the reader or distract from your message.

6. The unsubscribe button

Helping your readers to peace out is probably not top of mind for marketing professionals, but it is required by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Subscribers need to give consent to receive emails that is “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”. This should take the form of a clear unsubscribe button that doesn’t require further steps or logging in.

With these features, your email marketing communications will present your brand in a more favourable way to customers, strengthen brand loyalty and increase conversions.

EdenFrost has a wealth of experience in writing, creating and optimising newsletters – contact us if you'd like some help with yours.

By Alison McGarry, Writer/Content Specialist

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