In abandoning generalization for personalization, the traditional newsletter is getting lost amid the hustle and bustle of email marketing automation. While sending super-relevant triggered messages is a must, newsletters should be recognized as the bread and butter of your email marketing mix, where you’re free to add some zest.
Newsletters are mutli-purpose and can be very effective; they incentivize buying, educate readers and build brand advocacy. They’re one of the few communications you can ‘send to all’. You should see your general newsletter as a blank canvass that you can style and frame, oozing your brand’s character so that it arouses curiosity among readers.
Below are 5 tips that’ll help to spice up your newsletters:
Employ ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out)
It may sound obvious but if you want to drive value for those tempted to subscribe to your newsletter, it’s important that you sell it to them. Detail the types and frequency of content you’re going to be sending, as well as highlighting any unique benefits and offers, making the sign-up irresistible. What’s more, think about prominence; rather than hide the newsletter sign-up form at the bottom of your homepage (which is too often the case), place it in the website header or employ a popover.
Expand your newsletter offering and give your audience choice
Diversifying your newsletters is likely to give them more appeal, too. For example, depending on your organization, you could offer a few types of newsletter focusing on various topics or categories which interest key audiences, maximizing your chance of achieving sign-ups. The New York Times doubled its subscriptions within three years to 13 million by ramping up to 50 different newsletter streams. By giving consumers choice of what to receive, you put them firmly in the driving seat which helps build engagement and brand trust.
dotdigital customer Shortlist Media delivers stellar content to its subscribers, which is shaped by their preferences, behaviors and feedback. ‘Stylist’ online magazine – an award-winning title of Shortlist Media – dynamically displays content based on the readers’ preferences in every newsletter. By selecting topics of interest – such as travel, books and fashion – subscribers remain highly engaged.
Make sure your content has that ‘je ne sais quoi’
Content is currently going through a renaissance period and marketers are increasingly recognizing its value. Lackluster content will instil boredom and indifference whereas meaningful content will inspire intrigue and advocacy.
For your content to pack a punch, ensure that your message is clear, relevant and inviting. What’s more, signposting your content with dazzling images will help make your newsletter more attractive and subsequently more digestible. Lastly, pepper your content with your brand’s personality, injecting a recognizable tone of voice that’ll grab subscribers’ attention. Download our free copywriting cheatsheet for more content tips.
Be playful and interactive
Interactive or kinetic design can draw readers in and keep them engaged. With inboxes becoming more and more cluttered, it’s a great way for your newsletter to stand out from the crowd. The email channel – which is traditionally very static – is transforming into a dynamic form of communication; in fact, Litmus ranked interactive emails as the #1 email trend in 2017 .
Consider containing your copy in an interactive burger menu or combine with imagery to incorporate a ‘flip-effect’. Cloaking your content is a nice way of simplifying the email body while inciting curiosity through impulsive all-to-actions (CTAs). Likewise, CTAs designed with a pulsing effect are eye-catching, bringing the reader’s focus back to the desired action. But remember, while it’s great to be creative, it’s also important to test your interactivity and see what works best for your readers.
Keep it light and simple
Crowded inboxes can be overwhelming and subscribers will naturally cherry pick or look out for the brands they know will deliver valuable content. And just because the recipient has opened your email doesn’t mean they have lots of spare time on their hands: they’re looking for something that’s easy to take in, simple to understand and very much to the point. Without these three things, their undivided attention is lost and that’s too big a risk for marketers to take. Traditionally, newsletters were deemed as a one-size-fits-all email, but today that just doesn’t cut it.
For a well-designed newsletter that’s easy to digest, make sure that the email isn’t too long, the look and feel is fluid, and the tone of voice is sharp and on-brand. Perhaps employ a tetris-style body which splits the newsletter into sequential digestible chunks. Remember, consistency is key in terms of design, color and copy – this will enhance the newsletter’s scannability, maximizing readers’ engagement.
In the ever-evolving age of automation, it’s important to strike the right balance between standardization and customization. Rather than allowing your general newsletter to become redundant, reframe it as a melting pot of inspirational content that provokes, fascinates and entices the reader.