Email newsletters can be a powerful tool, which is why they’re an extremely popular strategy, especially among B2B businesses. Recent research shows that as many as 42% of customers actually prefer to be reached via newsletters. But taking full advantage of their potential means not only following the latest email newsletter best practices, but making sure that your decisions align with your overall marketing strategy.
To help you develop a newsletter that’s fully aligned with your business’s marketing efforts, we’re sharing seven best practices for your email newsletter strategy that you can start implementing right away.
Why Newsletters are a Good Idea
Before we dive into the top email newsletter best practices that will help you reach your marketing goals, let’s solidify what newsletters are and why they’re such an effective tool for your business.
Newsletters are emails that update your subscribers on the latest news, tips, and resources related to your business and the products or services you offer. Whereas promotional emails advertise specific offers and nurture emails lead your audience through a sales funnel, newsletters focus on keeping your readers informed.
While newsletter, promotional, and nurture emails are all considered types of marketing emails and have some overlapping functionality, newsletters are unique in that they’re extremely versatile. What you include in your newsletter is up to you, and you have the freedom to talk about a variety of topics at once.
Newsletters also come with a variety of benefits:
They're the easiest way to talk to your audience.
Email marketing in general is the most direct way to reach your audience, but newsletters take it to a whole new level. With a newsletter, you can provide so much value in a single email, including news, blog posts, podcasts, product updates, and more—all while working toward your marketing goals.
They attract more qualified leads.
It’s not hard to sign up for a newsletter, but it does take at least a little bit of effort. The fact that a client subscribes to your newsletter is a good indication that they may already be interested in what you have to offer.
They improve your conversion rates.
Guiding clients through the buyer’s journey can sometimes be a long process. It takes time to nurture their interest and turn it into action. Newsletters can help them along by engaging them with valuable information about your business and how you can serve them.
Email Newsletter Best Practices to Enhance Your Marketing
Whether you’re new to newsletters or have been popping into your contacts’ inboxes on a regular basis for a while now, you can always optimize your strategy. And with countless resources available detailing the latest email newsletter best practices, you don’t have to look very far to find recommendations on the web.
But as a business owner with limited time to spare, you need to focus your energy on the strategies that will get you the greatest results. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of seven best practices you can start following today that will fit into your overall marketing strategy and increase the impact of your newsletters.
1. Set Goals and Choose KPIs
Any piece of content you create should be backed by intention, and your newsletter is no exception. When content lacks purpose, it ends up becoming a waste of your valuable time and resources—or at the very least fails to carry out its full potential. But how can you make sure your newsletter is serving its purpose if you haven’t first figured out what that purpose is?
To take full advantage of your newsletter as a marketing tool, review your overall objectives. What are you working toward and how does your email newsletter strategy fit into the bigger picture? Are you trying to increase engagement? Boost blog post views? Direct contacts to your Facebook Group?
Once you have a clear idea of what you’re aiming for, set specific goals for your newsletter and decide on the metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll use to track your progress. For example, if your goal is to boost blog post views, keep tabs on your newsletter click-through-rates (CTRs), as they will be a good indicator that your newsletter is successfully directing traffic to your blog.
2. Keep the Newsletter Consistent With Your Brand
Branding is a powerful awareness tool. Elements like your logo, fonts, colors, and even your messaging help show your audience who you are and what you value, increasing your recognition and building brand loyalty. With your newsletter being such an important contact point with your audience, it’s vital that it aligns with your brand’s personality.
Make your newsletter fully aligned with your brand by maintaining the same design elements and messaging style as your other marketing assets. This will ensure your newsletter is doing some of the branding leg work and fostering meaningful connections that turn your contacts into clients.
3. Make Your Subject Lines Count
No matter what type of emails you’re writing (whether welcome emails, webinar follow-ups, or product promotions), subject lines are crucial—which is why they make our list of top email newsletter best practices. They’re the first thing your audience sees when your newsletters hit their inbox, which means if your subject lines aren’t piquing their interest, you’ll have a hard time getting them to open the emails.
When it comes to crafting subject lines, engaging but concise is the way to go. You have around 41 characters to work with, so experiment with different angles and see what your audience responds to. (If you need some inspiration, check out our email optimization workbook!)
That said, while there’s plenty of room for creativity, there are some tactics you should avoid. Using spammy words could rub your audience the wrong way, and research shows that including the word “newsletter” in your subject line could actually decrease your open rates—something you should definitely stay away from if you want your newsletters to enhance your marketing efforts.
4. Make it Personal
When your audience feels like they matter to you, they’re much more likely to be interested in working with you. That means you should integrate personalization into your email newsletter strategy.
The easiest way to add a personal touch is to put a face to your business! When people feel like they’re interacting with a real person, they feel motivated to engage. Consider adding your photo to your newsletter and sprinkling in some personal details that will make your audience feel like they know you.
You can also experiment with segmentation so that your content resonates more deeply with different facets of your audience. For example, if you provide both done-for-you services and do-it-yourself products, you could create unique versions of your newsletters and send them to the audience members most likely to be interested in each offer.
In addition, you can further personalize your newsletters through dynamic content. Almost all email providers allow you to add names to your subject lines, and you can further connect by celebrating important milestones, both for your business and for your readers! Podcast anniversaries, birthdays, and book publications are all great opportunities to create a deeper level of connection between you and your audience.
5. Experiment to Find What Works
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s important to try out different tactics to find what works for your business, audience, and marketing goals. You can take this idea to the next level by making A/B testing a regular part of your process.
A/B testing involves testing different versions of a single email to see how a small change impacts your results. There are countless elements in your newsletter that you could experiment with, including your subject lines, calls-to-action (CTAs), visuals, tone, email length, and more.
Take some time to play around with these components and monitor your results—though be careful to test only one at a time. Otherwise, it’s hard to know why one thing worked over another! Once you’ve found which options work best, make them a regular part of your newsletter.
That said, even once you’ve narrowed in on the most effective choices, it’s a good idea to conduct periodic testing. Your audience and business are ever-evolving, which means your email newsletter strategy should too!
6. Create Engaging Content
The content of your newsletter is key to supercharging your marketing efforts. Depending on your goals, you can include many different types of content that your readers will find valuable—and providing your audience with something of value is how you build lasting relationships.
Every business’s newsletter is unique, but some of the most common types of content to include are:
- Blog articles
- Podcast episodes
- Product promotions
- Exclusive offers
- Event invitations
- Free resources like checklists or flowcharts
- Press releases
And, of course, news!
If you aren’t sure what to include in your newsletter, look to your audience and your competitors. Surveying your current contacts or checking out what others in your industry are doing can give you a pretty good idea of what your readers may be looking for. Though not officially on our list, market research is a definite best practice for email newsletters and beyond!
On the flip side, make sure not to go overboard with content. In fact, when newsletters get too long, they quite literally get clipped by your email provider. To keep your audience engaged, feature only the most important content, and keep in mind that the items you talk about first will be viewed by the greatest number of readers.
7. Include Persuasive CTAs
If you want your newsletter to support your marketing efforts, perhaps the most effective strategy is to include persuasive CTAs that clearly direct your readers to where you want them to go.
Whether that’s your latest blog article, the landing page of your newest product, or a cool resource you think they’ll benefit from, giving your audience their next steps will eliminate the guesswork and give you some influence over the customer journey.
To make sure your readers actually do what you want them to do, use strong action verbs and clear language rather than “click here” or “follow this link.” You should also make sure your most important CTA appears first in the newsletter. And, as already mentioned, it wouldn’t hurt to do some A/B testing to find the formula that boosts your CTRs.
Optimize All Your Emails With Strategy Support
Your newsletters aren’t the only emails you can optimize for marketing success. With our content strategy support services, you can get one-on-one support from an expert strategist who will help you design a stellar funnel that builds trust, converts contacts into clients, and maximizes your results.