Savvy Speaks: ENewsletter Best Practices

Savvy Speaks: ENewsletter Best Practices
Savvy Sisters - Wed Jun 22, 2011 @ 12:47AM
Comments: 11

ENewsletters are a great way to stay top of mind with your prospects and customers. But what makes a great eNewsletter and which ones go straight to the recycle bin? The Savvy Sisters have some advice on the subject:




Lure 'em In

To build upon Jamie's point below, write a subject line that entices the audience to open your newsletter. Just make sure there's a clear connection between the subject line and what's inside (think of your subject line as a headline). It's a big turnoff to feel like you were tricked into opening a newsletter, only to be disappointed by content that doesn't deliver on the promise of the subject line.



One Not-to-be-Missed Topic

Newsletters that are filled to bursting because they are crammed with everything but the kitchen sink are overwhelming and very uninviting to the reader. It's okay to have some standard sidebar content, but try to keep to one primary topic. If you consistently have multiple topics that require coverage, maybe you need multiple newsletters. For instance, you might have one communication that deals with user features, one that deals with industry coverage, and one that deals with special offers. 

Once you've settled on your primary topic, make sure it's one that's important enough to garner your readers' attention. Your newsletter shouldn't be another online ad or billboard for your brand, it should provide a benefit to your audience by delivering content they care about. Time-saving tips, exclusive access to special deals or webinars, important account information. 

If you can deliver the good stuff in an easy-to scan format, you'll at least get the open ... then it's up to your offer to make sure you get the click. 



The other Sisters covered some great tips for writing; I am going to speak more to the nuts and bolts of eNewsletters. First, make it easy to load; go graphic-lite or skip the graphic altogether. Most email programs will not download the graphic without permission from the user, which is an extra step (read: annoyance) that they may or may not take.

Second, make it convenient to read. If you have more than one article, include a quick preview of each at the very top, with links to skip down to the specific article the reader wants to look at.

Third, make it easy to get more information. Keep the articles short and to the point, but always include links to more information on your website.



Design and target market are important!

As someone who primarily focuses on content I am still very respectful of designers.  Particularly when it comes to newsletters.  I know as a reader of many e-newsletters that poor design will get you a "delete" from me everytime.  The design needs to allow me to quickly scan and jump to the different articles of interest to me.

Also use a single design template but customize your newsletter based on buyer persona, target area, etc.  Nothing makes me more frustrated than a generic newsletter from a large company when I only care about 10% of their product line.

An example is a local hospital welcomed me to my new home recently with an survey asking about my families healthcare needs.  I could "choose" which newsletters I wanted.  I got to skip the one on "maternity care" but subscribe to the one on "adolescent sports medicine".

I am much more likely to read that newsletter when it shows up in my inbox because it is customized to my needs.  On the flip side the hospital where I had my kids several years ago still sends me info on their remodeled birthing suites.  They know how old my kids are!  Do they really think that is the most relevant info to market to me?



6 best practices

Last year blogged about "Content Marketing Group Therapy" for an e-newsletter. In this series of posts, Graham kilshaw from Interference Technology shared his newsletter and the community provided advice. He'd make changes and report back.

While every e-newsletter project is different, here were some of the key things Graham implemented:

  • Make sure your newsletter has a specific objective. You need different content for customer acquisition vs. customer retention.
  • Tease them with a specific subject line. 50 characters max.
  • Layout is key.
  • Think about your call to action. When do you want to use e-newsletter content to draw people to your website?
  • Develop a checklist to make sure you have consistency in every newsletter.
  • Make content conversationad and interersting.

Wendy Thomas


Make sure it has a a punch

Make sure your enewsletter is lively, relevant and sings with its own unique voice. Every single article should deliver value to your customer. You should always keep them saying hmmm, I hadn't seen it that way before.

No one wants to read about every award you've received UNLESS the value of the award can be applied to others. How can you use the lessons learned of the award to make your other clients' lives better?  

And do us all a favor and leave out those fake employee of the month awards. Give people some credit for being intelligent, no one liked reading those fluff pieces when they were in hard copy what makes you think they'll like them anymore electronically? 


What are your best practices for eNewsletters?

Share them here!

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