Originally conceived as a vehicle for sharing company news with existing customers, the newsletter has evolved from a lengthy, printed mailer long on promotion, to a compact, digitized brief delivered by email. Not surprisingly, many email newsletters are never opened, much less read. Why? Because your newsletter is competing with hundreds of other incoming messages, being filtered to spam or junk folders, or falling into the “old email address” black hole. Those aren’t the only reasons your email newsletter isn’t performing. Here are four common mistakes marketers make with email newsletters and how to fix them.
Yawn. Your content is all about you. Contrary to its name, a newsletter should offer more than news. In fact, your content should follow the 90/10 rule with 90 percent of it educational and 10 percent promotional. Newsletter articles that focus on industry news or best practices, and offer insights and advice, will remind recipients about your expertise, but without the hard sell. No matter what you’re writing, all content follows the same three guidelines: be yourself, be trustworthy, be concise. When it comes to your newsletter, these tips are golden.
Your subject lines are forgettable. Your email subject lines should entice the recipient to open the email. Keep them short and interesting. Yes, “Join ACME at TechEvent,” is short, but not that interesting. Instead, consider, “Three trends we’re watching at TechEvent.” This specifically describes what readers can expect to learn and suggests a quick read with just three trends. You can easily include a link to more information and a call to action (CTA) for readers to connect with you at the event.
The format is too busy. Okay, you have a limited shot at getting your newsletter opened, but that doesn’t mean you should cram every font, color and image possible into your format. Newsletter recipients are more likely to read content that is visually appealing and easy on the eyes. Limit font styles, sizes and colors and incorporate adequate white space for a clean, approachable look.
Frequency is inconsistent. As with so many things, consistency is key. In the case of customer newsletters, frequency is a balancing act. Send too often, and you run the risk of annoying recipients; too seldom, and they may not recall your brand. Once a month is good for B2B companies, whereas B2C brands can get away with higher frequency since they routinely offer promotions in their content. Either way, be sure to establish a consistent schedule for your newsletter to give your readers something to look forward to.