Successful NewslettersRegular communication through newsletters maintains the line of communication between you and your readers. By following the guidelines that Striata uses, your newsletters will be successful.
Five important elements that make an email marketing newsletter’s content successful:
- Know your readers.
If you know who your readers are, you can provide relevant copy to them and the tone can be set. You have to speak to your readers, rather than at them. Focus is also important in terms of what you are trying to achieve with the newsletter. A greater focus is possible if you know who you are speaking to. This does not mean that you need to know your readers’ individual likes and dislikes, but rather, understand your target market and address them accordingly.
- Establish the goals of your newsletter.
With the launch of each newsletter, there are specific goals in mind and the goal behind the content is what your readers have come to expect from following issues thereof. For example, if your newsletter was launched as a promotional email, to provide tips on a specific subject or a newsletter dedicated to news, stick to your original goal. If you are going to change content, tell your readers about it and ask for their feedback.
- Don’t over-communicate.
You shouldn’t attempt to produce copy that encompasses all your products/services and send it to everyone on your database. Over-communicating your company’s products/services could mean that you are annoying the recipients with copy that has no relevance to them. If you want to include additional copy, informing them of new products/services or to cross-sell any others to them, you should provide links with clear headings in the body of the e-mail and if they are interested, they will proceed further themselves. Another aspect to consider, in this regard, is including too much copy in the e-mail. The e-mail should provide your readers with short and concise bits of information. If there is a lot of information to include, supply a table of contents, or buttons down the side, so that the click-through to the relevant information is quick and easy.
- Invite reader comments.
Reader feedback shouldn’t only be included when there is a change in the newsletter; rather, inviting comment is an essential element in every newsletter. The words of your readers can make interesting content in either reader contributed thoughts and ideas, or reader questions, followed by your own answers. You could also consider having a separate section with reader feedback, which encourages more people to respond, as well as providing for interesting reading. The subject that has prompted one reader to respond could also be interesting to others.
Email lends itself to immediacy, which means that copy distributed must always be relevant to today or even now. Email lends itself very well to delivering timely content, and as a result, readers expect that information delivered in an emailed newsletter is up to date. There’s nothing worse than an e-mail that contains links to sites that no longer exist. Subscription or contact information that is no longer correct or functional (dead email addresses or URLs) is equally annoying.
Develop a valuable newsletter
- Create an emotional connection.
Think of the chat shows you enjoy – it’s usually because there is an emotional connection between you and the host. The same reason you may watch a show or read certain magazines or newsletters.
Of course, trying to create that connection with an email newsletter is a lot more difficult, but you can stick to certain styles to create a bond with recipients.
Don’t just give facts, try telling a story. If it is difficult, due to the nature of your newsletter, try creating that connection with your introductory copy, your welcome message and your goodbye message. These are all touch points with recipients that can make them feel like you are talking to them.
- Read your newsletter aloud.
If your newsletter could talk, would it be a lecture, a conversation with you or a mass of words with no relevance to your world-view?
You need to imagine what your newsletter would sound like if it was spoken. Then, bearing your target market and customer in mind, ensure that the way you are writing to them is how they would expect to be spoken to.
There is nothing worse than pretentious or even hip and trendy language being sent to customers that don’t fit those moulds. Don’t communicate your way, communicate in a way suitable for your customers.
- Talk to them in a manner that they will understand.
Have you ever been to a conference or event because the topic was good, but once there, you didn’t quite understand what was being said?
Well that’s what it feels like for your subscribers when you go into technical detail about a product or service in your newsletter. You need to remember that you could be speaking over their heads.
Try not get too technical and involved within the email and refrain from using internal lingo and acronyms. Rather explain everything in layman’s terms and direct them to a web page for more detailed information. There is a difference between knowing something yourself and trying to communicate that in the email.
- Become important to your reader
Is the information you provide important to your reader? If subscribers see you as an information resource, they will be more likely to open your email. Think of the areas in which you would like your customers to see you as an information resource and develop content around those areas.
So, for example, if your company is in the technology / financial services markets and you want to tell subscribers about your products, use a portion of your e-zine to give subscribers tips around how to manage their network and tips on PC shortcuts (for IT) or how to manage their budget (for financial) and then include products thereafter.
- Show how helpful you are
You also need to think about whether your subscribers think you are helpful – do you solve their problems? Of course this type of content doesn’t apply to all newsletters (if you send out a joke a week, you’re not exactly going to want to solve people’s humour problems).
One way to do this is to list the questions that are frequently asked by various customers and answer each question in a short paragraph that can be included in every issue of your newsletter.
You could also consider giving tips on how readers can achieve more from your product or service. If your newsletter is not focused on products and services, consider giving tips that are relevant to their industry (ask the experts to provide copy if need be).
- Keep relevant, consistent, and relevant!
The recipients of your newsletter have subscribed for a reason (e.g. they wanted your news articles or tips on a particular subject), so don’t chop and change the focus of that newsletter.
There is nothing more annoying than receiving a newsletter you are interested in and the next issue that arrives is trying to achieve something completely different – like trying to sell you a product, when you have subscribed to receive news.
Keep the content relevant to your audience and consistent with what you’ve promised you will provide as part of the email newsletter.
- Striata can help you communicate with you customers regularly and effectively – Need more info? An eMarketing specialist is just a click away …