Create Relevant Subject Lines
Most people go through their inbox at least once a day to remove irrelevant email. There’s just too much email and too little time so it’s critical for your emails have a subject line that makes people want to read more. People are looking for an excuse to delete your newsletter – don’t give them one! Don’t use a subject line like “Our October Newsletter.” Instead, use something that grabs attention like an interesting topic or headline from the newsletter, such as “Venture Capitalists Explain How to Get Funded” or “Inside: Exclusive Interview with the Dalai Lama!”
If you’d like to encourage people to forward you emails, try this: The Association for Interactive Marketing (AIM) always adds “Pls. Forward” to the end of their newsletter subject lines. Supposedly it has more than doubled their circulation! With Campaigner, you can run two separate campaigns to send one newsletter, changing only the subject line. Campaigner’s reporting feature will allow you to compare open rates and optimize your subject lines.
Don’t make your subject lines too long, and don’t use acronyms in an effort to make them shorter, this is a sure-fire way to get your email deleted!
Use HTML with Text Backup
While text-only newsletters were common a few years ago, times have changed, and most people prefer to receive their newsletters in HTML. But it’s still a good idea to have a text version as back up for the handful of recipients that cannot read email in HTML, or prefer text.
With Campaigner you can build your email in HTML and automatically create a text version with one click.
Length and Frequency of your newsletter
The more frequent your newsletter, the shorter it should be. People will happily open a short “Joke of the Day”; but almost no one wants to get something longer every single day! So, keep dailies to a page or less and weeklies to 5-7 pages or less. Biweeklies (every two weeks) and monthlies can be longer – but only if you have truly fascinating information to share.
With Campaigner you can schedule your emails to go out at any time, making it easy for you to plan the timing and frequency of all your email communications.
Make it Easy on the Eyes
Here are two easy tricks to make your email newsletters more visually appealing and more likely to be read:
See how it will look as you create the content: When you are writing a newsletter, set your word processing program so you are writing in the same format that will appear on recipient’s screen. For text-based newsletters, this means 10 point Courier type going 60 characters (five inches) across. In the majority of cases your audience will read you newsletter on their screen so your job is to make this as easy as possible.
Always add a hyperlinked table of contents at the top. On-screen readers don’t want to work hard to find pieces of valuable information in your newsletter. Tell them up-front what will be in it so they can click or scroll quickly to the section of their choice. In fact usability studies show most people won’t look beyond the first screen of information if there’s not something immediately interesting to them. Give them a reason to scroll down!
With Campaigner you can preview your email in HTML while you create content so you’ll know as your building your template and layout exactly what it looks like.
Tone and Attitude
Every brand has its own tone and manner, which is adapted to various contexts – formal for official documents with legal implications, more casual and direct for promotional materials. While print newsletters tend toward the formal, email newsletters do not. The best email marketers in the world, no matter what industry they are in – say the same thing: make your newsletter’s tone personal and casual. People want to see a little humanity behind the corporate mask and respond better to newsletters written by one particular person at a company who they can get to know over time through little personal comments in the emails.
It is sometimes hard to get used to writing in a casual tone for an official communication. It can feel risky, even scary. But chances are it will work far better than old fashioned “corporate-speak.”
With Campaigner you can preview and send test versions of all your emails. Why not try out a more casual tone, and copy a few people on it to get their impressions. You may be surprised!
Your best resource is your own email inbox. Take an hour in the next day or so to go on the Web and sign up for some newsletters. Start with your top competitors’, but also choose a few on your favorite hobby or topics you’re interested in. Look for good ideas you can use; note what makes you open an email (or delete without reading); form an opinion on what formats are easiest on your eyes; consider the tone. You’ll be surprised at all the ideas you’ll end up with, often from the most unlikely sources.