Sending email newsletters is one of the most efficient ways to keep in touch with your customers and boost brand awareness. Do you feel like your open rates could be higher and your overall engagement could be better? Stay with me for three simple tactics to improve the content of your email newsletter and reap more benefits from your email marketing.
Why your email newsletter content matters
A lot of newsletters start off with a bang. Some of them grow and become even better. Others seem to wither away. What makes that difference? Oftentimes, it’s how willing you are to improve your content and offer your audience something exceptional – every time.
It doesn’t mean you have to go away to college to pick up a new bag of skills, but a little bit of learning and resourcefulness can go a long way. Figuring out what your audience wants and needs is key. That will help you come up with better content, increase engagement and strengthen your brand in the long run.
Here are some easy ways to start learning more about your subscribers so you can send the best type of content they could get:
• Simply ask them. Use a survey platform or dedicate a newsletter to this particular goal and gather insights from your audience. It helps to include a few bullet points that describe the different types of content you could send. They could easily take their pick, then you can follow their suggestions when creating your content plan.
• Use social media. Keep an eye on every comment people leave on your pages. Apart from responding, take notes of their observations – they may lead you to new content ideas. Also make sure to join some of the most popular Facebook groups in your industry and follow hot hashtags on LinkedIn and Instagram.
• Read your reviews carefully. Responding to every review you receive is a must – it shows people you care about what they have to say. But consider looking at your customers’ reviews as a source of content ideas. Take note of what they mention the most and the challenges they face. Then, put together a list of resources you can create to respond to those needs: blogs, infographics, e-books or educational videos.
No, let’s look at three unexpected ways to improve your email newsletter content.
Share the unexpected
What would you expect a restaurant’s email newsletter would include? A description of the chef’s weekend specials, or when the summer menu is debuting? Sure. Would those be good ideas to include in the newsletter? Of course. However, wouldn’t it be interesting to surprise the readers?
So, share the unexpected. For instance, the chef could share some anecdotes about what he or she likes to make at home or serve his children. Maybe a member of the waitstaff could write about what they like to make and somehow tie it back to the restaurant – like mentioning their favorite item to bring home.
Think about the corollary with your email newsletter. Give them what they would assume you would, but also an occasional curveball.
Let someone take over sometimes
Every once in a while, consider giving someone else the reigns. A fresh voice can keep things interesting and keep your readers on their toes. Who should do this? The person with the best ideas!
Find out who would like to contribute and ask them what value they would add. If they have some writing ability, all the better. Otherwise, you can always help edit or add additional content to the newsletter.
Let’s say the CEO always writes your email newsletter. Consider thinking outside the box and even having an intern or new hire share their perspective. Your readers will appreciate this unexpected change of pace.
Feature your customers and subscribers
An unexpected way to improve your newsletter content is to feature some of your fans: your subscribers and customers. Those who enjoy reading your newsletter would likely be delighted to contribute with some writing and/or a picture.
Also, in your promotional emails, don’t hesitate to use reviews as social proof. User-generated content is efficient at getting more leads and increasing conversions.
Imagine you have a rare bookstore with newsletters going out every other Wednesday. You always get great feedback from Alice who says you have the greatest newsletter for antiquarian book collectors.
After a few gushing emails, it’d be smart to ask her to contribute an article or even interview her about how much she loves your book shop. She’ll probably forward that newsletter to a number of her friends and her loyalty to your brand will only grow. A lot of the readers will probably see themselves in her and this will in turn strengthen their connection to your brand as well. They may ask you to feature them in an upcoming newsletter.
Make sure people actually get your newsletter
This seems self-evident, but it’s a grand point that many completely miss. You have to address the issue of email deliverability. Your junk folder is filled with spam, but every now and then a good email finds its way in there. Why?
Usually, a good email list goes bad due to negligence. It’s the same reason people get cavities. They don’t practice good hygiene and don’t see a dentist regularly. Email lists have hygiene too and one of the best practices is to use an email validation service periodically.
Email validation is when you remove the invalid and problematic email addresses from your list. Contacts become invalid: sometimes people abandon them or they are using a college/university or employment email address and their situation changes. That address that they don’t use anymore causes your newsletter to bounce.
This has a negative impact on your email sender reputation, which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use to get a handle on who is a spammer and who’s legitimate.
Validating your list regularly improves your deliverability. Without its regular use, you’ll end up in the spam folder. And how often do you think your subscribers check their spam folder?
One more thing: awareness is key. When crafting your newsletter, always ask yourself if anyone should care about your content. Will the recipient enjoy or find it useful? If it’s boring to you, imagine how they feel. So, always ask yourself, “How is this interesting and relevant to my audience?”.
The best email newsletters are always considering their audience. Don’t send something just because everyone else does. If you’re always improving, you’ll always be growing.