Have you ever had a bad dream about work? From a marketer’s point of view, it would probably be a meeting about acquiring new leads. After hours of brainstorming, suddenly someone comes up with a BRILLIANT idea of… sending a newsletter. At this moment, you can wake up screaming. But wait, maybe newsletters don’t have to be marketing beasts that scare your audience away? We’ve identified the scariest newsletter mistakes that can make your emails feel like flesh-eating zombies to subscribers.
A Nightmare on Email Marketing Street
If you are not convinced that newsletters are an effective tool, then I have some good news—this has already been checked. DISQUS asked 1,421 people if they subscribed to newsletters and 70,6% of them admitted to subscribing to at least one!
Sometime earlier, Marketing Sherpa conducted a study that showed that as much as 72% of adults in the US prefer to receive messages from companies by email (and this is definitely more than the audience of TV commercials, social media, personal communication or from phone calls).
So how can you encourage all these enthusiasts to subscribe to your newsletter? Here are some good tips:
• Use clear and visible sign-up forms with an eye-catching subscribe button. The best location of the form will depend on your overall website design. At Synerise, we decided on a sticky form in the right tab of the page, which is constantly visible while the visitor is scrolling the page. This way, they can see it during their entire visit to the company blog.
• You can also add a sign-up button to your Facebook fanpage or include a link to the newsletter in your personal email footer:
• Reward subscribers for sharing their contact information by sending a one-off discount, or a free piece of content, such as an infographic or how-to guide.
The phantom of all-in-one bundle newsletters
Are your newsletters as long as mummy’s bandages? This problem results from the fact that newsletter writers feel the urge to cram everything they can, which results in a frightening mix of PR stories, presenting new products, blog updates, event photos and more.
What can you do to avoid such situations? The rule is simple – one newsletter, one issue. Keep it focused and don’t let it be a Frankenstein of random parts sewn together.
Try to look at the newsletter through the prism of the final recipient and their potential interests, not the information that you want to put there to satisfy yourself.
Spend more time and create two different variations of the newsletter. For example, prepare newsletters addressed to your customers (discounts, new items in stock, educational content) and business partners (links to business info, company news or pictures from the events you participated in).
Use newsletters to help you achieve specific business and marketing goals.
Below you will find a scary list of informative content which could be used in your newsletter – maybe you’ll get inspired:
• Blog posts
• Tips and tutorials
• Company events
• Webinars and videos
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Promotion vs. Education
Let’s be honest: writing about products is our marketing bread and butter. But why would our clients want to read about this every month (or every day)?
Newsletters should not look like a promotional leaflet from the supermarket. You want to engage your clients, make them emotionally attached to your brand, and not scare them away with trivial things that may or may not interest them.
So what can we offer customers instead? The answer is simple: education. They will appreciate more detailed, valuable information supported by a specific offer more than an offer supported by random data and photos.
Subject Line Vampires
After you have created the content of your newsletter, it’s time to send it. But what guarantee do you have that customers won’t remove it right away by sending it to the trash folder? What’s the best way to at least get them to open the message? There is no perfect solution here but in practice, you can encourage them to open the message by using the appropriate email title.
Many marketers make a basic mistake by trying to make their newsletter titles compatible as part of a series and referring to the name of the month, company, or just by putting the word “newsletter” in the email subject line.
There is a better way. The idea is always to draw interest and engage your recipient. If you get their attention, they will click on the received email. Here are some examples of how Thrillist does it (perfectly):
Call to Action: Do It Now!
Keep your content scannable. If you have an old template that looks like it’s covered in dust and spider’s webs—clean it up and make it readable. Check it out how Banana Republic did it:
Remember to use content blocks, bullet points and other visual elements. Keep design both minimal and tidy (while complying with your brand book).
Take special care about the most important element – call to action buttons. Make them visible and encouraging the recipient to take further action. Lead readers where you want them to go—a product page, social media channel, blog, etc.
And always remember: a newsletter is not meant for selling, but for building a long-term client-relationship.
TIP: Speaking of time, be like a werewolf transforming EACH full moon. Send newsletters regularly, as promised (daily/once a week/once a month), not when you remember to do it. Thanks to this, you will be perceived as a committed and credible brand🙂 No one likes those friends who contact us only when they want something once in a blue moon, right?
Haunted Ending: Let Readers Unsubscribe Easily
Always choose the lesser of two evils. It’s better to let readers resign calmly than to have your mailbox and social media feeds full of claims about spamming.
Remember that in accordance with applicable law and good practices, placing the unsubscribe button in every marketing email is mandatory, so try not to take it personally. Put it in a visible spot.
Here are some reasons why people resign from newsletter subscriptions (or do not decide to subscribe anything at all):
TIP: It is a good idea to put a questionnaire on the newsletter resignation pagewhere you ask about reasons for unsubscribing. The information you gather can be used to stop the outflow of users – for example, maybe you’ll get feedback that you should change the frequency of sending the newsletter so you don’t flood email inboxes with too many messages.
Creating a campaign from scratch: everything you need to know
At this point, you should know quite a lot about the newsletter theory. But what steps should be taken to create a campaign?
First of all, you need to choose the type of subscription to receive the newsletter. You can pick from three different options:
- without agreement - the customer will receive the newsletter automatically;
- single opt-in - before the customer receives the actual newsletter, they will be sent a confirmation message
- double opt-in - the customer will receive an email with a link in which to confirm the subscription.
The next step is to decide on the “from” email address, which will be visible to the newsletter recipient.
Make sure it’s simple and immediately recognizable as your company email address, for example “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Then, you should think about the look of the newsletter template. On most platforms, including Synerise, you can choose from ready, pre-prepared templates, or create your own from scratch, either in a drag-and-drop creator or using HTML code.
To make the content you post in the newsletter more engaging, remember to add some elements from the following list:
Newsletter Mistake Busters to the rescue!
Making friends with newsletters is not as difficult as it seems. Just make sure that you learn from your mistakes. If you stick to this advice and will test everything before sending you will refine the style and content of your message until it is fully optimized.
Remember also that the newsletter, like every email campaign, has the benefit of being measurable, so check from time to time on the relevant stats and fix elements as needed.And on the occasion of Halloween, together with Edgar A. Poe, we wish you that the midnight newsletter knocking on the mailing door was something terribly brilliant, not “nothing more”.