Email newsletters are still one of the most effective marketing tools. You’re putting your content right into the hands of your prospects, clients and fans.
Twitter is hit and miss. It’s a bit of luck to post at the moment your followers are checking their streams. Facebook is even more problematic. Only 17% of your Facebook Page posts reach your fans on average, unless you’re willing to pay to promote your posts.
Email on the other hand goes right to the intended recipients. The challenge is getting them to open and read it.
1. The cream rises to the top
If you want your email to be read, create great content. It’s that simple.
There is a finite amount of time and attention we can give to email. If you waste your readers’ time or send them garbage you won’t get many more chances to engage them. It’s easy for readers to unsubscribe or mark your content as spam if you misstep.
Write for your readers, and give them what they want.
If you’re not sure what your readers want, ask them. Honor their time and attention, and only send them content they will value.
2. Nurture Relationships
Email is an intimate form of communication. It’s between you and the recipient. It’s a one-on-one conversation.
Look for opportunities to engage your audience beyond the email newsletter. The richer the relationship you have with your readers, the more likely they’ll seek out your content.
The challenge for nurturing relationships is time. It’s one thing to call or meet most of the people on your list when it’s under 500 names, but entirely different with 10,000 or more subscribers.
The larger your list becomes the more creative you have to get with relationship building. Always look for ways to personally reach out to your audience and foster deeper relationships.
3. To read or delete, it all starts with the subject
The subject line is the most important part of your email.
The subject is your headline. It’s the piece of compelling copy that draws a reader in, and lets them know what the email is about. And if the subject is dull or obtuse, the email will be discarded.
An effective subject should meet 3 criteria:
- Short. Create a subject with 10 words or less—5 to 7 words is ideal.
- Direct. Tell the reader what the email is about. Don’t beat around the bush.
- Catchy. Find a hook or a catch that gets the reader to think, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.”
4. But wait there’s more. The first 2 sentences support the subject
You have a bit of wiggle room to draw in the reader beyond the subject line. Email programs like Outlook or Gmail usually show the first 2 lines of text in the message. This gives the reader a quick caption of what they’re about to read.
Start your email out with a bang. Those first 2 lines of text coupled with a compelling subject may be the make or break criteria for getting your email read.
5. Test, test, test
There are no one size fits all strategies for email newsletters. The strategy wraps around your content, your audience, and your relationship with them.
And like relationships, email newsletter strategies evolve with time. What worked a year ago is no guarantee of success today.
Every email you send is an opportunity to test ideas, measure and adapt. Keep testing and evolving over time. If you haven’t updated your email templates or content strategy in 12 months, they’re probably out of date.
Your turn: What tips or suggestions would you add?