When is the last time you were really excited about creating an email newsletter?
If you just scrambled to find an answer, trust us, you’re not alone. Let’s be honest, email newsletters aren’t easy; in fact, they’re actually pretty hard. But why?
Truthfully, email newsletters can make marketers really nervous. Without one solid focus you have a pretty good chance of turning your email newsletter into an information overload, or a hot frazzled mess. No pressure, right?
And the fact of the matter is that when it comes to email newsletters, most people think about the salesy pitch emails they get from companies on a weekly/monthly basis. They’re not personalized, tend to feel spammy and I’d venture a guess to say you rarely open them (and when you do, you find little to no value in the content).
In other terms, they just plain suck.
But does that mean you shouldn’t have a newsletter? Or if you do have one, you should throw in the towel? No, it just means you shouldn’t have that kind of newsletter. Your goal should be to create an email newsletter that your subscribers love not that they immediately trash or file away.
You want a newsletter that:
A) Your subscribers actually open
B) Your subscribers don’t immediately jump ship
C) You don’t get spam complaints
D) You’re not aggressively marketing / selling yourself
E) You’re getting thank you notes in reply
F) All of the above (best of the best)
Today, our post will not only get your email newsletter to see the light of day, but help you take it to the next level and truly ‘wow’ your readers. Let’s take a closer look at five common mistakes we all make and the solutions that will take your email newsletters to the next level.
1) Focus on Creating Quality Content
As a content marketer, I understand how difficult it can be to create content that strikes home every time. Combine lifeless copy with a poor content strategy and now you have really lost the interest of your readers. So when your content falls flat or it’s missing a goal altogether, how do you impress your readers the next time around?
Let’s face it, as marketers (no, as humans), we’re bound to make mistakes. However, your email newsletters don’t always have to be one of them. Take your email newsletter to the next level by cutting your content down and honing in on a few different highlights from the month. With email newsletters it’s important that you only address news that is actually valuable and well, ‘newsworthy’.
Also think of your email newsletter in terms of your business blog or recently launched eBook. What made that piece of content really successful? Was it your witty humor? Was it that eye catching title? Or was it the topic? Regardless of what got your blog post the five minutes of fame it deserved, try and think about how you can integrate that same type of content strategy into your next email newsletter.
2) Don’t Forget to Focus on WHO You’re Targeting
In the world of inbound marketing, who is at the heart of all of your marketing campaigns? Well, let’s see...
Who do you write blog posts for? Your personas.
Who do you center your ebooks and whitepapers around? Your personas.
The same rings true for your email marketing efforts. Newsletters can be a great way to engage with your audience, but if they fail to resonate and speak to their needs, you will lose their interest and they will end up on your unsubscribed list faster than you can say “persona”.
The truth is, if you fail to personalize your content (example: it’s evident that you’re sending this email to everyone and their mother, regardless of the emails intention), or you forgot to break up your content into relevant sections; you’re likely to determine the fate of your email newsletter before you even hit send.
Have you ever heard of segmenting? If you haven’t, segmenting is your emails new best friend. It’s a strategy for breaking up your email list into very specific groups; by demographic or whether they’re a lead or an existing customer, etc.
Segmenting also helps us marketers exceed the expectations of our readers and really dive into the subjects that pertain to their interests or what drove them to subscribe to you in the first place. By segmenting your readers you can send the right email to the right person, increasing your likelihood of a conversion.
And who doesn’t love a good conversion?
3) Double and Triple-Check for Grammatical Errors
As a content marketer that lives and breathes copy day in and day out; trust me when I say, nothing is more embarrassing than grammatical errors. But even the most savvy copywriters and content marketers can miss that comma or mistake ‘their’ for ‘there.’
Not only are mistakes embarrassing for the content creator, but even just one small grammatical error could take away from your business's credibility. Our job as marketers is to provide educational and persuasive content; when your content is a mess and full of errors, you lose that persuasion and credibility.
Just because you have your Senior Copywriter behind the scenes on your email newsletter, doesn’t mean you should send it out without giving it to your Editor, or another member of the content team. As we said before, even the best of the best can make mistakes. Try utilizing a checklist when you're in the editing and proofing phase, and don’t forget to triple proof each piece of content before you send it out!
4) Provide Value
Email Newsletter Mistake
One of the biggest misconceptions of marketing is that it’s all about getting your leads to buy something. Essentially, they’re selling rather than marketing.
When it comes down to selling a product or service, marketers (especially traditional marketers) focus too much on what it is that they’re selling, and trying to get as many people to purchase as possible, without acknowledging the ones they’re targeting and where they are in the buying cycle.
While this approach may work for big-name brands, it’s not always the case for small to midsized businesses. Sending an email that promotes a product or service isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you don’t know who you’re talking to you, you run the risk of pushing them farther away rather than pulling them through the funnel.
Instead of bombarding your audience, start thinking of ways you can attract your audience to your business without pushing the hard sell. To be successful you need to provide value and offer a solution; and we have seen first hand how the approach can make or break a business.
Take it from us, taking a deep dive into what your audience really wants from you will go a long way in the end.
5) Don’t Forget Your Calls-to-Action
Are you looking to boost your blog subscription list? Are you looking for your recipient to forward your email newsletter to a friend? Well you totally missed the mark if you forgot to include a call-to-action (CTA) in your email newsletter.
Pick a primary CTA, like ‘Subscribe to Our Blog!” And then have a couple of other secondary CTAs featured around your main call-to-action. Don’t forget to keep them relevant and to a minimum. The last thing you want is for your secondary CTAs to outshine your primary CTA.
There is no doubt that email newsletter have the potential to be one of the most valuable and effective channels that you can leverage in your strategy or your next campaign. With these five tips in mind you’re sure to take your email newsletter up-a-notch and start wow-ing those readers of yours!
Originally published Jul 3, 2014 11:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016