Newsletter is a term used in English to refer to a regularly distributed publications, usually focused on one main topic of interest to its subscribers (news, important summaries, or updates). The word “newsletter” comes from the combination of two words – “news” and “letter”, reflecting its original purpose: to provide information in a letter-like format. Through a newsletter, companies can send regular news summaries, important updates like terms and conditions, or news like new products and their features and so on.
The newsletter is a direct marketing tool and it can be a relatively inexpensive way to inform your clients or employees, or any other subject you need to inform them about what you do or you can use it as just a reminder of your presence. Newsletters can be well targeted to a certain target group so that quite good effectiveness can be achieved. With a newsletter, it is possible to communicate with customers, business partners, prospects who signed up for the newsletter, fans, employees, or your friends (if they are somehow related to your business as you probably do not create newsletters for your parents how you live now :-)). Nowadays, newsletters are mostly in electronic form (email), but even nowadays they occasionally appear in a printed version.
In this article we will try to look into where the term newsletter came from, we’ll also look at the process of how to create the best newsletter ever and everything you might encounter when creating one, also we will cover the GDPR aspect you should know and all technical aspects you have setup before you send your first email newsletter.
So let’s start with the history of the word “newsletter”.
The history of newsletters dates back to the time before the invention of printing when information was distributed in handwritten form. With the development of printing technology, newsletters became a common way to share news and information among people with similar interests or within organizations and companies.
The concept of newsletters has been around for a long time, and it’s challenging to pinpoint the exact moment the first newsletter was created. However, newsletters, as a form of periodic informational publication, gained popularity with the advent of the printing press.
One historical example is the “Mercurius Politicus,” which was a newsletter published in the 17th century. It served as a means of conveying news and information to the public. As printing technology advanced, newsletters became more widespread.
In the modern context, the term “newsletter” often refers to a regularly distributed publication, frequently by email, that contains news, updates, or information about a particular topic or organization. The transition to electronic newsletters started in the late 20th century, coinciding with the rise of the Internet and email communication. In the digital era, newsletters have been transformed into electronic form, allowing for faster distribution and reduced costs.
The benefits of newsletters in a nutshell
- Sales promotion – newsletters can effectively promote sales by informing about special promotions, discounts, and new products. This is probably the reason why you should consider sending out newsletters at all, as it can be quite time-consuming (unless we are talking about the automatic setup of the mailing, where the maximum number of products you promote varies). Newsletters however do not have to be just about direct promotion, but also it can share information with your target group and can help you with building or just help you educate people because you can.
- Increase website traffic – a newsletter can contain links that lead readers back to your website, which increases traffic and can have a positive effect on the turnover of, for example, an e-shop or a project that sells advertising space.
- Brand promotion – regular newsletters help keep your brand in the minds of customers and reinforce its identity and users’ affinity with the brand.
- Low cost compared to effectivity/gains – compared to printed materials, the cost of distributing e-newsletters is minimal. Respectively, the most expensive part is the creation of the newsletter and the content for it. But the cost of sending out the newsletter is already minimal or nonexistent (you pay max for some tools like Mailchimp, Ecomail, etc.) compared to classic paper newsletters of the past.
- Targeted communications – newsletters allow people or organizations to communicate directly with a target audience that is interested in a particular topic or area. You can build a community tied to your brand. Sending regular newsletters builds a relationship between publisher and reader, which can lead to a strong community of supporters.
- Measurability – emails (= e-newsletters) provide the ability to track open rates, click-through rates, sales generated directly or through assisted conversions, and other metrics that help you understand how effective newsletter communication is for your business.
Other additional benefits of newsletters (why send out newsletters):
- Feedback – newsletters can also serve as a tool for soliciting feedback, responses to surveys, or promotional offers from selected customers (you can test the response before launching an expensive campaign, for example, so you can save some ad budget you will normally need to use for initial testing of your hypothesis), allowing you to better understand your customers’ needs and preferences and tailor your communications accordingly. And of course, last but not least – it saves you marketing money as you minimize the risk of mis-targeting the entire campaign. Equally, it can help promote the new products you sell better.
- Building trust – by providing consistent and valuable information, you can build trust and expertise in your industry.
- Segmentation and personalization – thanks to modern email marketing tools, newsletters can be segmented and personalized according to different criteria, which increases the relevance of the content to individual subscribers/recipients and therefore can help you reduce unsubscribe rates.
Disadvantages of newsletters
- Overwhelm/oversaturation – recipients can be overwhelmed by the volume of emails, which can lead to their message getting lost among dozens of other email communications people get in their personal email boxes.
- Email filters – newsletter emails can sometimes be incorrectly marked as spam or can fall straight into the Promotions tab (with Gmail), reducing deliverability and therefore the percentage of people opening and reading your newsletter and visiting your website. However, this part can be influenced by how you end up designing the whole newsletter content-wise (like for example – emoticons and exclamation marks can easily cause your newsletter to be filtered as spam or promotion, so you need to constantly educate yourself and understand the key mechanics and how each different email clients work in terms of delivering and filtering and in general how it works technically is crucial).
- Design and content – creating an attractive and interesting newsletter takes time and skills in design and content writing. Alternatively, you need to have a tool that allows you to create email templates (or you need to buy them from a marketplace like Templatemonster.com, Themeforest.net, etc.) to send the newsletter to your audience on a regular basis.
A basic and (essential) guide to email marketing (what you should know before you start with newsletters)
GDPR represents a significant step towards strengthening the rights of individuals in the digital world and email marketing must respect this development. By getting the right consent, carefully managing your databases, and following good practices, you can ensure that your marketing campaigns are successful and compliant. Let’s start by first collecting email contacts for your newsletter.
Obtaining consent for newsletters
Consent must be given voluntarily and must be unambiguous. Specifically, you should aim to:
- Active consent – use checkboxes that are not pre-ticked to allow users to actively consent.
- Documentation of consent – keep a record of when and how consent was given, and prevent anyone from being able to insert an email into the distribution without verifying the email for example (i.e. I insert an email, I still have to confirm ownership of the email by clicking on the link and that you have this action recorded somewhere for possible review).
- Unsubscribe option – always provide an easy-to-understand way for users to unsubscribe. Unsubscribing should be as “challenging” as subscribing was. Many operators get around this point and try to make the unsubscribe process itself more complicated (where an action like “do you really want to unsubscribe” has several sub-pages that the user has to go through).
One of the most challenging things for email marketing managers to deal with is unsubscribing from emails. While the unsubscribe rate cannot be completely eliminated, it can be reduced through various steps and practices to keep the unsubscribe rate to a minimum. And what is actually a good unsubscribe rate for newsletters? The average unsubscribe rate should be around 0.1%. If your unsubscribe rate is higher than 0.1%, you should consider revising your email marketing strategy.
However, if someone unsubscribes from your newsletter, while you may be upset, it’s still better than having your newsletter/email marked as spam. Why?
Big paradox – how can unsubscribing a user from a newsletter actually help you?
- Your sender reputation remains intact – although unsubscribing means you’ve lost a potential client (perhaps forever), it doesn’t damage your reputation as an email sender. As a result, your overall sales funnel remains intact. Unsubscribing from an email means the user has no interest in your products or services – and that’s completely fine. Therefore, it’s better for them to leave your list than to stay on it but not engage with your emails.
- But you can understand why users unsubscribe – when a subscriber clicks on the unsubscribe link in your mail, you can redirect them to the preference center and ask for feedback. This lets you know the reason for unsubscribing and understand their expectations. It’s quite likely that you wouldn’t get feedback from everyone who unsubscribes, but those who do can share valuable insights with you.
- Your list will only have qualified leads – most often, your list will get subscribers who have no intention of buying anything from you. As bitter as it may sound, not everyone is interested in the products or services you offer. These potential customers are not good candidates for your services, so it doesn’t make sense to keep them on your contact list. Therefore, whenever such an “uninterested customer” unsubscribes from your email list, it’s actually OK for you.
- Unsubscribing users allows you to identify gaps in your email marketing strategy – if you start noticing too many unsubscribes, you should analyze your email marketing strategy and see if you’re sending too many emails. You should check if your emails are relevant to your recipients and their buying journey. Making the necessary changes to your HTML email template will help you reduce your email unsubscribe rate and allow you to create HTML emails that have the greatest resonance with your target audience.
How to reduce the newsletter unsubscribe rate?
- Segment your email list – segment your subscribers into different groups based on their age, gender, education, demographics, job title, past purchases, and other parameters that match your industry and business type. By segmenting your email list, you can send out personalized emails that are more relevant to your subscribers. The most effective segmentation criteria are purchase history, demographics, and what kind of products they visited or what product they are most engaged in. You can select two unique segments to get started and continue building more email campaigns with advanced segmentation options.
- Map your content to match the buyer’s journey – whenever you get a new subscriber on your list, you can send them a welcome email and try to gather additional information to understand their preferences. You could use an automation software tool to enable dynamic segmentation and help you create better emails based on the current stage of the buyer (is he just collecting information, or ready to buy something?). If you want to create an effective email automation workflow, you can easily contact me for a short consultation.
- Inform subscribers about alternative communication channels – if a subscriber decides to unsubscribe from all emails despite your best efforts, they should know that you are also active on social media in case they want to stay in touch with you or receive important company news. Include social sharing buttons in the footer of the unsubscribe page or in the preference center so that subscribers still have a chance to hear from you (although the chance is pretty slim with unsubscribes).
- Monitor the load time of your emails – email load times vary depending on the email client and users’ devices. You should have a fast email loading time, which will leave a better impression on the reader. Don’t add too many images or heavy visual elements to your HTML email template; they can cause slow email loading.
- Send emails on a consistent schedule – receiving emails at a specific time sets the right expectations and helps you build your brand better. For example, every Wednesday and Thursday evening at 8 p.m. I receive emails from WordStream in which they share interesting articles related to their industry. This consistency makes me look forward to their emails and learn more about their services. You can build something similar with your audience.
- Analyze the frequency of your emails – determine the right email frequency for your segments. Here, you will definitely need to run a few tests on email frequency, and through trial and error, you will need to figure out what frequency of sending is optimal for your business. So that you can safely say that you are not sending too many or too few emails to your recipients.
- Take customer feedback seriously – whenever someone unsubscribes, ask them why they unsubscribed. Solicit feedback from the customer at the time of unsubscribing so you can adjust your email marketing strategy to reduce unsubscribes in the future. Even if feedback from an unsubscribed user doesn’t bring that same user back, it will help you shape your future strategy and reduce unsubscribes.
- Send personalized and exclusive offers – motivate your customers with personalized offers they can’t refuse. Not only will this keep their attention, but it will also discourage them from unsubscribing. Try to explain what they will lose for example. Don’t bother them with too general (non-personalized emails) which are sent to all people without any segmentation. You’ll just lose your subscribers soon.
- Break/holiday (from mailing) – when your customers decide to unsubscribe, there’s not much you can do about it unless… you offer them a 30-day break from your emails, for example. A rejuvenating break may be just what they need.
- Give customers the ability to edit their email preferences – redirect the logout link to the preference center where customers can change their preferences and be sure to put all these sub-subscriber/login changes into practice as soon as possible. The worst thing for a subscriber is if they change their preferences (for example, frequency or topics of interest with your newsletter so they receive less or more relevant content – so they haven’t unsubscribed completely, but are close to that decision) and no change from your side occurs. Or he unsubscribes from the mailing list and still gets your emails the next month… That just pisses him off. But for now, let’s talk about some of the most interesting examples of how to tune out email unsubscribes that might help you reduce your unsubscribe rate. More creative ideas that you can use when designing an unsubscribe page (to unsubscribe users from your newsletter):
- Giving rational reasons to stay (or come back/not unsubscribe) – for example: you will lose discounts. You will not have access to exclusive news, etc.
- Showing the loss in a funny way with a funny picture – for example, it’s 7 am in Prague, our email manager hasn’t woken up yet and you’re about to ruin his day. Will you unsubscribe later when he wakes up? What do you say? Or you can get the kittens involved :-). There’s more of a chance that someone will be happy to share this URL and get at least additive traffic, but the point is to explain that even with this “boring” site you can do wonders if you have the developer capacity and time to play with these details.
- Personalizing the unsubscribe page – you can provide the unsubscribe page with, for example, some personalized offer on how you can bring the user/customer back into the fold of your marketing (e.g. individual discount, etc.).
Newsletter recipient database management
When managing the database containing contact details and other information about your users who have subscribed to your newsletter, you must ensure that the data is up-to-date and secure (i.e. the database cannot be “leaked” or “hacked”, as you are responsible for all the personal data of all users). Regularly review your database and remove outdated or unnecessary data (emails that have not responded even after opening the email several times or emails that simply don’t exist = this also counts towards the domain rating that individual email clients like Gmail or any other email providers work with – if you send too many emails that don’t even get delivered to the recipients or there are delivered to non-existent mailboxes, your emails may eventually start falling straight into spam).
If you outsource the agenda associated with your mailings, ensure your teams are trained on GDPR and know how to handle personal data properly.
What to follow when writing newsletters and mistakes to avoid
Ensuring successful email marketing is not a piece of cake.
I would break it down into points related to getting an email before the actual creation of the email. The points associated with writing/designing the newsletter itself. The other points to remember, are a little bit more general (this could also include the parts related to techniques focused on minimizing unsubscribing/unsubscribing users that we covered in the above sections already).
Maximize the number of emails sent to your mailing list and minimize the reasons for unsubscribing
In order to get the maximum number of contacts, the email input window must be clearly visible (where the user enters his/her email and gives consent to receive newsletters.
There can be used different types and designs of various pop-up windows (but pop-ups must be well adapted for a responsive design as they can cause problems for users on mobile devices or just can easily interfere with other pop-ups – typically you have one window for the first customer discount, plus another pop-up with new products you launched and also another cool window again just to collect emails for the newsletters… not a cool idea).
There is also often a problem with the timing and conditions of pop-ups – sometimes they are set to run after an event sequence, for example, and the timing is so unfortunate that the pop-up is annoying or doesn’t serve its purpose. An example might be targeting an event where you’re on the site for a long time, reading a product description, and suddenly a window pops up, which you close immediately, and after another five minutes, it pops up again (because someone set the condition not for one five-minute interval, but an infinite loop of five minutes). or you show the user a popup saying that you have a super discount on the first purchase just for him – you drew him as 25th in the order and he gets a 20% discount and a few minutes later another popup pops up saying that he will get a 20% discount for something else = at that moment the user loses confidence in the fact that he really got something just for him exclusively and the initial enthusiasm for the purchase drops, he may get angry (you lie in his eyes, etc.), the reactions may be different.
With conditions like that, you can soon get lost and it can be an incredible mess.
You should be able to explain why you want me to sign up (what I get, what benefit – often the motivation is a discount, but it can also just be industry news – for example, this feature is used by various associations or law firms to compile their insights and practice experience once in a while that you wouldn’t otherwise get, or news about newly passed laws = you get a summary or legal analysis on a particular issue for free, etc.).
It’s also definitely a good idea to indicate how often the mailing will be sent (to eliminate the user’s fear that if they leave you an email, you won’t spam them every day for the next two years), and figure out how to minimize unsubscribes (see recommendations above).
Technically correct settings for email distribution
Ensuring technically correct settings for email distribution is key to achieving successful and efficient communication. Whether you’re managing a large-scale email marketing campaign, automating workflows, or simply striving to maintain optimal deliverability, having the right configuration is crucial. From setting up DKIM and SPF records to managing subscriber lists, these technical aspects play a fundamental role in safeguarding your emails from spam filters, enhancing overall deliverability rates, and fostering positive recipient experiences. In this context, attention to detail in the technical components of email distribution is the foundation for achieving desired outcomes in the realm of digital communication.
- Proper configuration of DNS records – it is key to ensuring the deliverability of your email messages. Here are a few steps and factors you should consider to maximize the deliverability of your emails and minimize the risk of them being marked as spam:
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework) – An SPF record defines a list of allowed servers that are authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain. This helps identify legitimate sources of email and reduces the risk of your messages being considered spam. Make sure you have created and set up your SPF record correctly.
- DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) – DKIM is a technology that digitally signs your email messages to verify that they are from you and have not been modified along the way. This increases the credibility of your emails.
- DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) – DMARC combines SPF and DKIM to allow you to determine how emails that do not meet these authentication methods should be handled. DMARC also provides you with reports on how your emails are processed.
- PTR (Pointer = reverse DNS) – a PTR record is a reverse record to an IP address. If you have a PTR record that matches the IP address of your sending server, this can positively affect the deliverability of your emails.
- IP address deliverability and reputation – monitor whether your IP address has a good reputation. If it has been used for spam or illegitimate activities in the past, this can affect deliverability.
- Uniqueness of content – ensure your email does not contain code or words that are often associated with spam. Keep in mind that certain keywords can cause a message to go to spam.
- Unsubscribe and unsubscribe options – unsubscribe and unsubscribe options should always be present in your email messages. This increases credibility and the chances that your messages will not be considered spam.
- Proper format and structure – properly formatted and structured emails with relevant content are less likely to be flagged as spam.
- PTR and HELO/EHLO records – make sure your sending server names (HELO/EHLO) and PTR records match the domain you are sending emails from.
- Well-maintained email database – keep your email database up to date and remove invalid and inactive addresses. The more you don’t issue failed delivery attempts, the better for your reputation.
- Quality content and relevance – the best way to avoid spam is to send emails that are relevant to the recipient, and that have quality content.
- Check blacklists – regularly check to see if your IP address or domain is listed on any of the blacklists.
It’s important to remember that each email provider may have their own rules and algorithms for filtering emails or marking them as spam/moving them to the junk folder (or not delivering them at all). Therefore, you need to regularly monitor the deliverability trends of your emails and make adjustments if necessary based on the data collected.
Setting up subdomains for sending emails
There are several important reasons to set up DNS records for sending emails from a subdomain that can positively impact the delivery of your emails and increase the credibility of your sender.
Why it’s important?
- Separation of traffic – by using a subdomain, you separate your main domain from your email distribution. This minimizes the risk of any email delivery issues affecting the overall reputation of the main domain.
- Increase trustworthiness – properly set up authentication records (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) for the subdomain increase the trustworthiness of the sender. Email servers know that your emails are legitimate and authentic.
- Reduce the likelihood that messages end up in spam – email servers use authentication records to decide whether to accept an email or mark it as spam. Properly set up records for a subdomain improves the chances of your messages being delivered to the main inbox.
- Better tracking and management – having a separate subdomain allows for better tracking of the results and traffic of your email campaigns.
Overall, properly configured DNS records for sending from a subdomain help increase the delivery success rate of your emails, minimize the risk of them being considered spam, and build a positive sender reputation.
Here’s a step-by-step process:
- Step 1: Create a Subdomain Start by creating a special subdomain that you will exclusively use for sending out emails. For example, if you have a main domain “vasefirma.com,” you can create a subdomain “news.vasefirma.com” for sending out newsletters.
- Step 2: MX Records Set up MX (Mail Exchange) records for your subdomain to point to the IP address or hostname of your email server or email provider that you will use to send out from this subdomain. This tells the email servers where to look for mailboxes for that subdomain.
- Step 3: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records for the subdomain Correctly setting these authentication records for the subdomain is critical. SPF (Sender Policy Framework) determines which servers are authorized to send email from your subdomain. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) add digital signatures and rules to email processing, which increases the trustworthiness of the email.
Domain/Spam Score for newsletters
Domain or Spam Score is a numerical rating that email servers and filters use to assess the likelihood that a message is spam. This score can consist of various factors such as:
- SPF, DKIM and DMARC records – are used to verify the sender’s identity and the authenticity of the email.
- Message content – evaluates whether the message content contains characteristics associated with spam, such as a nonsensical keyword (cheap, offer) or a large number of links or emoticons, or other special characters (exclamation marks).
- Sender reputation – this takes into account whether the sender’s IP address is reputable.
- Unsubscribes and complaints – if many people are unsubscribing or marking messages as spam, this can negatively affect the score.
- Blacklists – if an IP address or domain is on one of the blacklists, this can cause a higher score.
A higher Domain/Spam Score means a higher likelihood of a message ending up in spam. It’s important to make sure you have the right DNS records, authentication methods, and quality content to minimize this score and ensure your messages are delivered to the recipient’s primary inbox.
What do they remember when creating newsletters?
- Transparency and clarity – make sure your communications and consent forms are clear, concise, and transparent. The customer should know exactly what they can expect after agreeing to receive your newsletter, how often, and what you are likely to deliver (and what the main benefit is, why they should sign up for your newsletter).
- Consistent GDPR compliance – have clear processes for data management and protection. As I mentioned above in the GDPR, data protection, and cookie policies section you will find a lot of relevant content on this topic.
- Simple unsubscribe – ensure the unsubscribe process is simple and easy to access, which increases subscriber trust. Admittedly, a lot of brands try to make unsubscribing as complicated as possible with all sorts of extra questions and confirmations, but that’s already beyond the pale (unsubscribing from a newsletter should be just as complicated as signing up)
- Control over people’s data from the newsletter – give subscribers easy access to their data and the ability to edit or delete it.
- Responding to queries and complaints – have a process in place to respond quickly and efficiently to data protection queries and complaints.
- Regular updates and training – keep your procedures up to date with the latest legal changes and provide regular training to staff (unless you handle everything regarding the newsletter yourself) to keep them up to date with best practices and legal requirements. Always remember that trust and transparency are key to maintaining good relationships with your subscribers and protecting your brand from potential legal complications.
Mistakes to avoid when writing and executing newsletters
- Mailing too often – less is sometimes more. If you overwhelm your users with a lot of emails, sooner or later they will unsubscribe. It’s better to be more creative with your content than to overwhelm your users with quantity.
- Complicated language and hidden terms – Avoid using complicated legal language or hiding important information in small print or long, cluttered documents.
- Misleading tactics – don’t obtain consent through confusing or coercive tactics such as vague wording or pre-filled consent boxes.
- Inadequate data protection – inadequate data protection and failure to adhere to security standards can lead to data leaks and legal problems.
- Ignoring subscribers’ rights – don’t ignore subscribers’ rights to access their data, correct, delete or restrict processing.
- Inadequate information – inadequate documentation about obtaining consent and processing data can make it difficult to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR.
- Failure to respect opt-out – if a subscriber requests to opt-out and you ignore the request, you may be in breach of the GDPR.
How to write newsletters?
The guide to creating an effective newsletter includes some important rules and tips on how to write content and design to engage your readers. First, however, you need to know who you are writing for.
- Define your goals – first, set clear goals for your newsletter. Do you want to inform, increase sales, gain new subscribers, or something else? Goals will help you determine content and tonality.
- Focus on your target audience – do you know your reader? Is your newsletter written for young mothers? Or for technology enthusiasts? What interests each of these groups? How do they talk? What sites do they visit, and what information do they consume? In short, try to tailor your content to the needs of your target audience.
How to access the newsletter content
What should you follow when writing content for your newsletter?
- A catchy headline – the headline is the first thing the reader sees and is a key influence on whether they decide to open the newsletter and continue reading. Keep in mind that the headline should be concise, clear, and imaginative. Use words that evoke curiosity, and emotion, or address a problem or need readers have. Think about what you yourself would be interested in. Questions can sometimes work well in the headlines (it will stimulate curiosity and thus increase the click-through rate to your website and thus the traffic).
- Clear structure – the structure of the newsletter should be logical and easy to read. Use short paragraphs so the reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the text. Headings and bullet points then help organize the content and allow for quick browsing. Make sure that the main points are prominently highlighted.
- Relevant content – each piece of content in the newsletter should have a clear purpose and meet the needs of the readers. Do not overload the newsletter with unnecessary information that is not relevant to the topic. Stick to the (ideally one) topic of the newsletter and try to be as concise as possible (no one will read a mile-long newsletter and even creating one would be unnecessarily expensive). If you have more information to share, give readers the option to follow up on your website or in a longer article linked to from the newsletter. Or split the newsletter and send it as a continuation in the next round.
- Personal touch – personal communication in a newsletter can strengthen relationships with readers. Reach out to readers on their behalf and try to tailor the content to their interests. If you have data about their behavior, use it to personalize the content (for example, segmenting the products the newsletter will cover or offer – if you know you have selected users who play the violin, they probably won’t care that you stocked new pianos). Personalization like you use customers’ names correctly, you know it is Mr./Mrs can also help. The less artificial the email looks (like it should not look like a general message for a big bunch of receivers), the better feeling the user will have when receiving that. The better the feeling, the less motivation to unsubscribe now, and the higher motivation users have to go and click on something in that email and possibly buy something. In short, you’re writing it for the people, try to be human then in your emails a bit and not write everything like a machine without a soul. It helps a lot if you think about the motivation behind why I should open it, read it, and then do something like this. For example, how strong would that motivation be for you if you got a similar email from someone else?
- Visuals – images, graphics, and videos can greatly enhance the appeal of your newsletter. Use them to illustrate your content to make it visually appealing. Make sure the images you use are sharp enough and make it clear what you want to say (the newsletter is not cluttered). Sometimes you also need to review that you are still sticking to the theme of the newsletter (often when creating a newsletter, you forget what the goal was or what you wanted to convey and it becomes a “mishmash” where different messages fight with each other and the reader gets easily lost in it = you don’t convey any message).
- Call-to-Action (CTA) – every newsletter should contain a clear CTA that calls the reader to action (and it should be clear what they should do and where they should click). Be specific and tell them what you expect them to do – for example, buy, subscribe, share, or download. CTA elements should be visually distinctive and easily identifiable.
- A/B testing – A/B testing helps you figure out what works best for your target audience. Test different headlines, images, CTA buttons, and even different versions of your content. Track test results and use them to optimize future content and newsletter design.
Email automation and how to deliver newsletters efficiently
Email automation is key to effective email marketing. It allows you to send personalized messages to the right people at the right time without the need for manual work. This short summary will show you how automation can make your newsletters more effective and efficient.
Benefits of automation newsletters and email marketing in general
- Personalization – automation allows you to segment your subscribers and send targeted content tailored to their interests and behaviors. For example, if a user signs up for a mailing, you can automatically send them a discount on their first purchase without having to do anything again (create an email, design it, etc.). Or you collect business cards from a B2B event and scan them into your mailing tool, where you have defined that after 2 days an email will be sent to that attendee thanking them for visiting you at your booth, etc.
- Time efficiency – setting up email campaigns to trigger based on specific actions or time intervals saves time and resources. Simply these days, the software can calculate when to send an email for the best effectiveness (open rate/click rate to your site).
- Consistency – automation ensures that your communications are consistent and regular, which is key to building trust and brand. Quite simply, the more often you remind people, the better your brand will become ingrained in their subconscious.
How to set up automation
- Choose the right tool – choose an email marketing platform that supports automation and offers the necessary features (Ecomail, Mailchimp, Smartemailing, Quanda – there are many similar tools).
- Segment your users – divide your subscribers into groups based on their behavior, demographics, or past interactions.
- Create an automated workflow – set up a series of emails that are automatically sent based on specific triggers such as purchases, anniversaries, or site interactions.
- Test and optimize – regularly test and tweak your automated campaigns to ensure the best possible performance. Send yourself a test from time to time on a created email on Gmail, or iCloud, or try sending the email to Outlook, see how it looks, or test it in any of your local email providers, etc.
Design and templates – an attractive visual presentation is important
Design and templates are essential for attracting attention and keeping your newsletter readers interested. A well-designed email can increase engagement and conversion rates.
Principles of effective design for newsletters
- Clean and simple – keep the design clean and unencumbered by unnecessary elements.
- Responsiveness – make sure your templates are responsive display well on different devices, and display correctly in different email clients with nothing blocking them (for example, with Outlook, images may not display and it’s good to know how the entire email will look in text-only form).
- Consistent branding – your emails should reflect your brand, including your logo, colors, and typography. In short, not every mailing should be completely visually different. You should have some graceful elements and colors fixed in your design manual.
- Make use of pre-made templates – many email marketing platforms offer a library of templates that you can use as a starting point. This will make it easier and faster to create when you don’t have to design everything from scratch. You can then just duplicate proven templates and templates and edit text or images next time.
- Use a visual hierarchy – arrange information so that the most important information is the most visible.
- Optimize images – use high-quality but optimized images to make emails load quickly.
- Test on different clients – make sure your emails look good on different email clients and devices.
Analyze and optimize newsletters for continuous improvement
Analysis and optimization are essential for understanding the effectiveness of your newsletters and for continuously improving them. Tracking the right metrics allows you to adjust your strategies for better results.
Key metrics for analysis of newsletters
- Open rate – the percentage of subscribers who opened your email.
- Click-through rate (CTR) – the percentage of subscribers who clicked on a link in your email.
- Conversion rate – the percentage of subscribers who took the desired action (purchase, site visit, interaction with an element, click on a button, etc.).
- Revenue (turnover)/profit (profit) – in the long run, you also need to track what the email campaigns brought you and how much they cost to create. Is it worth it? Isn’t it better to reduce the frequency because they don’t bring in as much and pursue other activities? Or on the contrary, do they work perfectly and should you pay more attention to newsletters in the future?
How to perform analysis and optimization for newsletters
- Track and analyze metrics – use your email platform’s tools to track performance. Not only that, take a look at web analytics not only for direct conversions but also assisted conversions, because for example, a lot of turnover is helped by newsletters not as the first touch point in a series, but in the whole digital ecosystem they can play an irreplaceable role in combination with other marketing channels.
- A/B testing – test different versions of your emails to see which elements work best. As it takes a lot of time to create your newsletter, it’s a good idea to spend a few extra minutes testing elements that you think could perhaps have a positive impact on a user’s buying behavior, so be sure to test what you can. But you have to have a head-to-heel so that you can then evaluate the tests reliably as well. It will do you no good if you have 100 variations that you don’t manage to evaluate, or you’ve changed 4 elements in one template at the same time and now you can’t decipher which of these changes caused a radical change in the outcome of an email campaign.
- Customize content and engage subscribers – adjust the content and timing of your emails (when and what is best to send) based on the data you collect. A lot of this relates to the point above (A/B testing). Try to find out directly from subscribers what they like about your emails and what they would like to change.
Automation, design and analysis are key components of successful email marketing. By using these strategies, you can increase the effectiveness of your newsletters, improve the user experience, and achieve better marketing results.
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