Are you frustrated because few people open your emails and read your newsletter?
To write an effective email newsletter, you need to think about your readers' needs first and foremost.
- What do they want?
- What would they find valuable?
- What problems do they want solved?
If your newsletter content talks more about you, your product line, your company’s goals, or what’s happening in your world, then you’re probably leaving your subscribers bored to death.
It’s no wonder subscribers aren’t paying attention if your newsletter doesn’t focus on solving problems for them.
In this article, you’ll learn how to structure your email newsletter so that subscribers love reading it.
What Is an Email Newsletter and Why Should You Create One?
An email newsletter is a long-form, written communication that gets delivered to subscribers' inboxes regularly (usually weekly or monthly). It’s a great way to keep in touch with your audience and keep them informed about your product, company, or industry.
Sometimes called email updates or simply “newsletters,” these long-form messages are traditionally sent via email, but they also show up on websites and social media channels.
Why Your Newsletters Must Become Unique
There are so many people sending out email newsletters that most subscribers get overwhelmed trying to keep up with them all. This is one reason why it’s important to make your newsletter stand out from the crowd.
Here are some ideas to make your newsletters unique.
Add personality. Make sure the tone is friendly and relatable, not stiff or formal. If you sound like a robot with formal language that’s difficult to read, your readers will stop reading in no time flat.
Include content that benefits subscribers' lives with tips they can apply in their own lives. Make the content educational, inspirational or entertaining.
If you’re creating video or audio newsletters, then that’s another way to bring your brand personality to life in an exciting new way.
How Frequently You Should Send Out a Newsletter
If your business sends out press releases, product announcements, and sales emails regularly, you probably don’t need to send out another email until at least a few days go by.
Some businesses like to keep their subscribers up-to-date on the latest news and product announcements. They’ll send out additional emails throughout the week even though it’s all about one company or one particular product line. However, your subscribers can feel overwhelmed if you overdo it.
Here are some helpful rules of thumb for how often you should send out newsletters.
- If your primary objective is to drive more sales or leads, aim to send out a newsletter at least once per month.
- If the main goal of your email marketing campaign is to deliver content, consider sending out a newsletter once per week on average.
- If you want to keep in touch with your audience more regularly, but not daily, then aim for about once every two weeks.
What to Include in Your Newsletter
The most important thing about writing a newsletter is that it’s easy for subscribers to read and understand. People have limited time and attention spans. Here are some helpful hints for writing better newsletters.
Keep it Simple and Easy to Understand
Your readers will get confused or bored if you pack too much into one message. Focus on the most important things that you want your audience to take away from the newsletter.
Front-Load Your Email with the Most Important Information
It’s not a bad idea to include some secondary information deeper into your newsletter. However, make sure to put your most valuable content first. This lets people get out of their inbox as quickly as possible after they’ve read through it.
Be Honest and Transparent
Tell subscribers what they can expect from your newsletters. Make sure you deliver on those promises.
If you let them know what to expect ahead of time, chances are most people remain happy to open your emails. They’ll appreciate that you stayed true to your word.
Write a Series of Emails that Build Upon One Another
This is especially important if you’re using email marketing to promote your business or launch a new product. For example, let’s say you’re promoting a book and want to send out three emails over 10 days.
Announce the new book in the first email with some basic information. The second email could introduce a few of the key points from the book and some valuable lessons that readers can learn.
By day 10, you might send out a final “book summary” email with a link for people to buy your book.
Don’t “Bait and Switch” Subscribers
You don’t want your readers to unsubscribe after reading the first few sentences of your email. This happens when your subject line promises one thing and the email copy goes in a different direction.
Tips for Writing Great Subject Lines
Writing a subject line is one of the most important things to consider. Even if your content is amazing, most people will never bother to open it if you don’t have a compelling subject line.
Here are some things you can do to make sure that more people read what you have to say.
Make Them Curious
The best way to write a good subject line is by making the reader think about something.
For example, “The Most Unforgettable Quotes from Muhammad Ali” would work as a subject line if you’re sending out an email about the most memorable quotes from boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
Keep it Short and Sweet
The shorter your subject line is, the more likely it will get opened by busy people scanning through their inbox.
Don’t Get Sales-y
No one wants to feel like you’re selling all the time. If you’re not providing value in your subject line, chances are your audience will delete your email without reading it.
How to Structure Content
Put simply, ensure your content is easy on the eyes
Use images sparingly. Some pictures work well, but you don’t want your audience to feel distracted while reading because too many visuals get in the way.
Create white space so the content is easy to read. Don’t try to pack too much information into a single email. Use line breaks often to create one-line sentences and short bursts of text.
Use larger fonts. Some people read your emails on cell phones. Make the fonts big and easy to read.
What Tone of Voice Works Best for Email Newsletters?
The tone of voice is critical when your goal is getting people to pay attention. Avoid sounding too formal or stuffy. Use these tone of voice tips.
- Use words like “helpful” instead of “useful.”
- Avoid using first-person language (e.g., saying things like “I think” or “In my opinion”). Instead, you can use phrases such as, “Our research shows that.” This type of language helps you sound more credible without being formal.
- Don’t get clever or cute. Keep it simple so that it’s easy for everyone to read.
What to Do After You’ve Sent the Newsletter
Getting subscribers to read your newsletters doesn’t revolve only around the content and when you send it. Pay attention to the following tips about what to do after you’ve sent off your latest newsletter.
Don’t Send an Immediate Follow-up Email
Try to avoid sending multiple emails. Most people will consider this spammy behavior. It can also come off as desperate and make you seem tedious.
Check Your Analytics
Use analytics to find out which content ends as the most popular with your audience.
If some parts got skipped over a lot, consider rewriting it the next time around. At the same time, you can also use this information to decide what topics you want to focus on in future newsletters.
Follow-up With Your Readers
Following up helps open the lines of communication between you and your audience. You might only hear from one person here and there. However, everyone getting your follow-up attempts realizes that you’re a real human being.
Ask Readers to Contribute
Asking for contributions is a great way to get your audience involved. It makes them feel like they’re an active part of the community that you’ve built. If someone has something interesting to say or share with everyone else, remain willing to let them do so.
Create a New Email List
If you have two separate, unrelated audiences to cater to, it’s best to keep them on different lists. Otherwise, you’ll alienate the first subscriber group each time you send content for the second group. Over time, many people will unsubscribe as they become confused about why you’re sending content unrelated to their needs.
Send an Email Asking How Readers Feel
People appreciate when companies listen to what they have to say. Periodically, ask for feedback about how to improve future newsletters.
Are you more excited about sending out the next newsletter to your subscribers? As an action step, select two or three of these tips and start using them. Pay attention to how they work. Then, add a few more tactics until you’re running a successful email newsletter.