Email newsletters have become so ubiquitous that by the time I finish writing, I will probably have received five to ten of them. It seems every company uses them nowadays. In fairness, email newsletters are an effective medium for remarketing. They can help inform your clients and customers about new specials, new changes to your company, and remind them to shop. There is an entire industry built around automizing and targeting them. Large corporations have created large segmented lists that allow them to target small pockets of their email list to send the correct message. And with all of this thought put into what time of day to send emails, which segment to send emails to, and even the most minute details of fonts, colors, and spacing. However, oftentimes the most effective way to improve your newsletters is to rethink the content.
Checking Your Email Newsletter Insights
Many companies make the mistake of not looking at their insights or accepting “industry averages”. When you check your email insights you may often see that the average open rate, click rate, and unsubscriber rates aren’t great. This is partly because there are too many newsletters. But, that doesn’t mean you should strive for a higher engagement rate. It is important to consider what effects each insight metric. Here are a few guidelines to consider when looking at your insights.
- Open Rate: If your open rate is low, consider the following: when did you send the newsletter, what was the headline, how long has it been since the last newsletter, and how different is the headline from the last newsletter? To improve your open rate consider what effects your own chances of opening a corporate email. If the same company emails you too frequently, if the content is too similar, if the headline is too vague, you will see a dip in open rate.
- Click Rate: If you notice a low click rate, consider what your links are and what their calls to action are. Like building a strong landing page, a strong newsletter should have above the fold calls to action. The calls to action should stand out both in design and in content. If you notice a high open rate and a low click rate you may have one of the following issues: your email content was different from your headline (aka bait & switch), you did not have clear calls to action. To solve this think of your headline as a question and your first call to action as the answer to that question. If your newsletter is special there should be a sign-up link that says “Get $X Off Now!” before you even start scrolling.
- Bounces: Be aware of hard and soft bounces. Although this metric will not say much about your newsletter strategy, you should take the time to shrink your email list to the appropriate size (it can even save you money).
- Unsubscriptions: As an email newsletter specialist I often hear some version of this: “You have to accept that every email you send will cause a few unsubscriptions”. My reaction is usually “Yes, but also no”. Although it’s true that even a great email can cause an unsubscription, it shouldn’t be so easily accepted. In many cases, if you see consistent percentages of your audience unsubscribing you are either emailing too much or not emailing the right content.
Less Is More: Stop Spamming
An age-old adage is “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. To amend this for corporate newsletters: “if you don’t have anything valuable to say, don’t send a newsletter”. Too many newsletters have nothing important to say, and this creates diminishing returns over time. A lot of companies subscribe to the notion that as long as you have a click rate above 0% there is no “bad newsletter”. The issue is if your newsletters fall flat consistently, it won’t matter when you craft a great newsletter. Your customers will have unsubscribed. Barring that, they will have decided to associate your newsletters with meaningless content.
Exclusive, Engaging, & Entertaining Content
One of the best ways to improve your email marketing is to consider your emails as one of your services. If you want better email engagement rates, make your emails valuable. This will vary from industry to industry and from company to company. But before you think about segmenting your audience, changing the color scheme, or adding emojis to the headline, ask yourself “is this email valuable to the those who receive it”? Instead of viewing your newsletter as a product that benefits your company, consider how it could benefit its readers. Another way of achieving this is to ask: is this email exclusive, engaging, and entertaining.
- Exclusivity: One issue that is common for small companies is that their newsletter shares identical information to their website or social media. Your newsletter should tell it’s readers something they can’t find anywhere else. Simply sharing your company blog and hoping that it will improve that blog’s traffic is not a great strategy. If you offer special deals, offer a special that can only be found in your newsletters. If you share industry news or company news, don’t add another barrier by asking your users to click through to a blog. Provide the content in the email, and encourage interested readers to continue on.
- Engaging Content: “Call Now“, is not the best call to action. Your newsletter should not feel like an afterthought, or a conglomeration of content from your blog, website, & social media. You should strive to write your newsletter in a creative way. Above all, be visual. Images have higher engagement rates, take the time to include graphs or infographics. A slice of life piece from your office is also a great way to increase engagement. If you can include before and after images, images of your staff at work, or images of your products, it will go a long way to keeping readers in your newsletter.
- Entertaining Content: Consistently creating entertaining content is a surefire way of keeping your open rate higher. Have fun with your newsletter. Just like making an in-person sale, rapport goes a long way. Highlight your customers, their reviews, and stories from the workplace. If a reader enjoyed reading a newsletter, it might not matter what time of day the next one is sent, what emojis are used, or what the headline says, they will open it because they enjoyed the last one. The holidays are a great time to do something more than a stereotypical “Happy ____”. Some companies share decorations from their office, pictures from a holiday party, or find fun ways to connect their service to the holiday.
Learn More From Boston Web Marketing
Boston Web Marketing is a full-service digital marketing agency. We improve how clients across dozens of industries appear in Google & Bing searches, social media management, and of course optimizing email newsletters. If you are interested in getting specific tips on your email strategy, contact Boston Web Marketing.