Everchanging social media algorithms have increased the importance of building your email list. Instead of being left to the possibility that your client or prospect may scroll past your post, email gives you direct access to their inbox. 99% of email users check their inbox every day, with some checking 20 times a day! So once you land, how can you ensure they’re reading your content?
We’re glad you asked.
What Is A Newsletter?
First, it’s important to really understand what a newsletter is. A newsletter is sent directly to someone’s email inbox, offering exclusive content, access, offers, and announcements. Emphasis on the “EXCLUSIVE”! This is not a place to regurgitate blog posts or social content. Your client gave you their precious email in hopes they would see a valuable return. Are you providing it?
Define your value proposition
To help identify your value, you need to know your ideal clients. For small businesses, this is where your persona work comes into play. Using their roles, goals, and challenges, you can offer them support and resources. For those of you with established email lists, look at the content you’ve previously sent. What general topics have the highest click-through rate?
Knowing what interests your clients most allows you to craft your newsletter’s value proposition or USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
A Newsletter’s Value Proposition will help:
- Get your clients excited about your offer
- Create meaningful content
- Increase your open AND read rate
Now, define that value in a sentence or two to make it easy to share on your website and throughout social media. For example:
Get exclusive [ fill in the blank ] delivered to your inbox.
It’s important to be specific. I can get “ideas” or “content” from anyone, but from you, maybe it’s “cookie recipes,” “get rich tactics,” or “hair salon marketing strategies.”
Join our free newsletter for [fill in the blank].
Again, what can your business provide directly to someone’s inbox that they can’t get anywhere else? Think “daily news in 5 minutes or less” or “expert insight from our leading physician.”
For GreenCup Digital, our newsletter provides everything small business owners need to know about their online presence.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Now it’s time to deliver on your promise!
First and foremost, you need to craft email subject lines that get opened. Once the magic click happens, the moment has finally arrived for them to lay eyes on your email.
Match Your Brand Aesthetic
Before a single word is read, your email’s design sets the tone. And as with most things in life, first impressions are everything. Now that doesn’t mean flashy text and spinning graphics. The design of your newsletter should match your business’s branding to help with brand recognition. It can also play off your value proposition.
If your claim to fame is daily news in 5 minutes or less, plain HTML text with valuable links and a few emojis is fine. After all, you don’t want readers distracted by graphics when you know they want a quick read!
Now, if you’re giving away cookie recipes, I expect something warm with graphics that make me press my nose against the screen wishing something became of “smell-a-vision.”
Together, your persona work, USP, and branding should create an email newsletter design worthy of reading.
Write Great Content
It’s really that easy. Newsletter content should be simple, straightforward, and prompt the user to take action. One of the most important rules is to ensure you’re balancing content between educational and promotional. Nobody wants to be spammed by your services.
A good question to ask yourself is: Would your customers pay to continue receiving your newsletter?
Even if it was just $5? If not, why?
A few tips to help include providing relevant content and personalization. By using segmented email lists based on user preferences, you can deliver the content they like most. One way to help with segmentation is by asking for customer feedback.
Now referring back to the cookie recipe example, maybe you have users broken into two segments novice and expert baker. This month on social, you’ve focused on mixing dough and have received great engagement. Now it’s time to send your newsletter and to keep your content relevant. You want to stick with this same theme but don’t want to reiterate what you’ve already said on social.
Consider sending a more complex recipe with multiple mixing steps and links to 3 favorite mixers for expert bakers. For novices, send a simple one-bowl cookie recipe and create a custom video showing them dough consistency when it’s under mixed, mixed just right, and over mixed – helping them learn to perfect their next batch of cookies!
Not only does the segmentation offer personalization helping them in their baking experience, but you can also use their name within the email and conversational writing style. Maybe the email opens with, “John Dough, cookies don’t have to be technical. To help, I’ve created a quick video so you can master dough consistency when mixing up your next batch of cookies”.
Great content doesn’t have to be complicated. Review your marketing strategy for the month and your USP to continue to deliver simple, relevant, and helpful content to your client’s inboxes.
With mobile traffic accounting for more and more website traffic, it’s essential to consider how often users view your newsletter from their phones. Launching a mobile-responsive email design can increase mobile clicks by 15%! Your email service provider should provide analytics regarding the device and browser being used to open your email.
You’ll also want to make sure your images have alt text. It’s a good practice for all image use, but email can be tricky if people don’t have images enabled. If you’re the type of business that likes using graphics as a call to action versus text, this is especially important! Alt text will appear when images aren’t loaded, showing users what they may be missing otherwise.
Next, make it easy for people to unsubscribe. It seems strange if your goal is to build your email list, but remember you’re putting this email to work! If a subscriber doesn’t enjoy your content or is not going to purchase, don’t let them use up valuable space. A transparent unsubscribe process also helps ensure your emails don’t get flagged as spam. Besides, making a user hunt for a way out creates frustration. Is that the last thing you want your business remembered for? Your product or service may not be the right fit for the subscriber now but might be later on.
Lastly, TEST! Your first newsletter won’t be perfect. It will continue to grow and evolve just as your business is. Testing subject lines, design, content types, and call to action will help you continue to strengthen your newsletter.
Write That Newsletter
Ready set, write! Here’s the push you’ve been waiting for. With over 4 billion daily email users, 64% of small businesses use email marketing to reach customers. And before you use the excuse of a saturated market, first consider that the email marketing market was valued at $7.5 billion in 2020 and projected to increase to 17.9 billion by 2027. Email is not saturated; it’s growing, and now is the time to take the leap and start using its benefits for your business.