Why is email marketing a vital part of any marketing strategy?
The answer is simple: email allows you to reach a large number of potential customers at a relatively low cost.
According to Constant Contact, email marketing has an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent — 3,500%! That’s a huge return on investment and it’s one of the reasons why email should be a key part of your marketing strategy.
On top of that, email newsletters give you the opportunity to:
- Increase website traffic
- Expand social media engagement
- Build brand loyalty
- Increase sales
- Establish thought leadership
- Boost webinar or event attendance
Working for an agency, I’ve seen some jaw-dropping success stories—across a variety of industries—as a result of strong newsletter strategies. From what I’ve learned, there are some common denominators that really seem to drive that success.
Here are fourteen checklist items to consider when putting together your email newsletter strategy!
- Determine your approach
- Grow your subscriber list
- Segment your audience
- Cross-pollinate to grow your platforms
- Let your customers share the love
- Create personalized content
- Be helpful, not pushy
- Mix it up with evergreen and seasonal content
- Be human
- Make sure newsletters are mobile-friendly
- Send at the right time
- Automate to establish consistency
- Learn how to measure your success
- Test, test and test some more
14 Email Newsletter Strategy Tips
Without further ado, let’s break down these fourteen best practices for email newsletters.
1. Determine your approach
First and foremost, you need to consider what you hope to accomplish with your newsletters. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
WHY Are You Sending Email Newsletters?
What results are you hoping to achieve with your email newsletters? This is where your key performance indicators (KPIs) come in. Without established KPIs, you have no way of knowing whether your campaigns are performing to your expectations.
WHO Will Be Getting Your Newsletters?
The days of “spray and pray” email distribution are long gone. Segmenting your audience is the best way to communicate messages specific to your customers’ interests and behaviors.
WHAT Will Be in the Newsletters You’re Sending?
Create valuable, high-quality content and visuals that speak to your audience, so you can nurture leads into customers, build thought leadership and grow your community.
WHEN Will You Send Your Newsletters?
Using the “Goldilocks” method (not too few, not too many, just enough) establishes a reliable pattern that promotes consistency and trust.
2. Grow your subscriber list
More contacts in your database means more people to email. You’ll find it challenging to grow your email marketing revenue without increasing your list size over time. Building your email database should always be a top priority.
Promoting a high-value offer on your website is an effective way to capture emails. Consider offering a guide, ebook or checklist — any resource that interests your audience. Creating relevant resources builds trust and engagement.
3. Segment your audience
Segmenting your list enables you to create targeted groups of people with similar interests. You can then create personalized content that speaks to customers’ specific needs and behaviors.
Mastering this strategy enables you to give customers what they want, when they want it. Marketers who use email segmentation see a 760% increase in revenue on average.
4. Cross-pollinate to grow your platforms
Another way to expand your email database is to promote your newsletter on your other marketing channels, like social media or on your website. Conversely, include links in your newsletter that direct your customers to follow you on your social channels.
5. Let your customers share the love
People love to share useful and interesting content with their social circle. Even if your subscriber list is small, those subscribers can be valuable referral sources and help grow your email list organically. Make “share” and “subscribe” CTAs prominent in your newsletter so new visitors can sign up easily.
6. Create personalized content
Sending personalized content to your segmented lists is the best way to increase customer engagement. Your email newsletter content should speak directly to your customers, addressing their pain points and offering them solutions.
You can also create content that applies to a customer’s stage in the buyer’s journey. For example, you can send educational content around your products or services to prospects who aren’t quite ready to buy.
7. Be helpful, not pushy
Email newsletters need to educate customers, provide value and earn their trust. Newsletters that are overly “salesy” can be off-putting. Now’s your chance to share thought leadership and provide valuable, in-depth resources that make people want to continue engaging with you. Slowly increase the depth at which you communicate so that you have reason to continue to dialogue with them.
8. Mix it up with evergreen and seasonal content
Avoid the same ol’ same ol’ newsletter content. Combine evergreen content with seasonal, topical or trendy content for variety. Break up sections with headers and keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use language that’s easy to read and gets to the point quickly. Break a complicated subject or how-to into steps that help your reader digest the information easily.
9. Be human
Address readers in the second person (use the word “you”) so it feels like you are speaking to them directly. Acknowledge and address their concerns. Ask for feedback and input. Let them know that you value their business and that you want to help solve their problems.
10. Make sure newsletters are mobile-friendly
To avoid a low click-through rate, make sure your newsletters are mobile-friendly. As many as 70% of recipients will ignore or delete an email immediately if it’s not optimized for mobile devices. Here are five mobile-friendly design tips to help you increase conversion rates:
- Keep subject lines short: 30-35 characters maximum
- Use a single-column layout
- Keep image sizes small to shorten load time
- Write concise copy with larger fonts for easy reading
- Use CTAs instead of links for maximum clickability
11. Send at the right time
Is there a “best” time to send email newsletters? It’s an age-old question that marketers have debated for years. Every person has a unique schedule or time of day they prefer to read emails. You’ll need to test sending your emails at different times to see when you get your best open rate.
Pro Tip: Seventh Sense is an AI-based tool that determines the ideal time to email each customer in your database based on when they typically open their emails. It allows you to set up email campaigns that deliver over a set period to ensure each contact gets the email at the most convenient time. Over time, you’ll see better open rates, shortened sales cycles and higher engagement rates.
12. Automate to establish consistency
Now that you know when to send, how can you do it most efficiently? If you’re a small business or have customers in different time zones, creating email schedules can quickly become problematic. Using email automation workflows can be a lifesaver.
13. Learn how to measure your success
Reviewing the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will help you determine whether your email newsletters are delivering the results you expected. Here are some common email marketing KPIs you should track:
- Open rate: The number of emails opened out of the total number of emails sent
- Bounce rate: The percentage of emails that have failed to deliver for permanent reasons (an invalid email address) or temporary reasons (a full mailbox)
- Click-through rate (CTR): The number of clicks you receive out of the total number of views
- Conversion rate: The percentage of subscribers who complete the desired action (e.g., made a purchase on your website)
- Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of subscribers who opt-out of your email list
14. Test, test and test some more
A newsletter that broke records a year ago may not work today.
A/B testing reveals what works in your email newsletter strategy (and what doesn’t), helping you optimize for open rates and conversions. Beyond helping you earn more clicks, testing is a continual process of understanding your audience and ensuring you’re delivering value.
Here are some elements you should routinely test to ensure long-lasting success:
- Is your sender name recognizable to your subscriber? If not, they probably won’t open your email.
- Your subject line is crucial: does it catch your readers’ attention by addressing their pain points right away?
- Is your content specific enough to appeal to your reader?
- Is your newsletter layout attractive and easy to read, with eye-catching images?
- Are CTAs clear and compelling, directing the reader to take the next step?
Refine Your Email Newsletter Strategy With Human
Have you been sending your email newsletters sporadically, with no cohesive strategy to guide you? Implementing these tips will help increase customer responsiveness and engagement, improving your campaign performance and ROI over time.
If you’re a small business with resources that are stretched tight, our email marketing experts can take your email newsletter strategy from good to great.
Feel free to reach out – we’d love to chat with you.