An email list full of targeted subscribers is a fundamental asset for online success. But that’s only half the battle.
Next, you need to engage with your subscribers and provide them with value. You do this by writing a newsletter that people actually want to read.
But not everyone is confident in their writing ability. And if you fail to connect with your subscribers you’ll never convert them into customers.
In this article, you’ll learn exactly how we’ve gone about writing our email newsletter. You will find the rest of this content beneficial even if you’ve never written a newsletter before.
These tips helped convert over 30,000 of our subscribers into purchasers of our products.
What is a newsletter?
A newsletter is a publication that provides an update on current events or products. It’s distributed through email to subscribers, usually free of charge.
Newsletters are one of the most cost-effective marketing tools available. Of course, writing an effective newsletter requires time and good writing skills, but it can pay off big time.
Especially if you use email as your primary means of communication with customers or prospects.
But you already knew that much. What you may not know is how to write an effective newsletter. So let’s take a look at what goes into creating that winning campaign.
Tips For Writing A Newsletter
To write a good newsletter, you need to keep it short and exciting.
People only need 11 seconds to scan through an email and decide if it’s worth reading. You have to capture their attention within that short space of time.
But before you write a single word you must decide whether or not you need to send a newsletter.
Purpose of Your Newsletter
What’s the purpose of your newsletter?
Are you sending out a newsletter solely to generate more leads or traffic? Or do you have valuable information to share with your subscribers?
Will readers actually benefit from your content?
If not, try to avoid filling your subscribers’ inboxes with irrelevant content. Otherwise, most of your emails will end up in the spam folders and you’ll have a lot of unsubscribers.
Remember, there are a lot of people competing with you for a spot in your recipients’ inbox.
The only way to stay ahead of the competition is to provide content that enriches other people.
Assuming that it is your aim, let’s move on to the next step, deciding what type of newsletter to write.
Types of Newsletters
The type of newsletter you write will naturally depend on your intended audience.
There are 3 Types of Newsletters:
- Company Newsletter
- Consumer Newsletter
- Organization Newsletter
A company newsletter provides employees and staff members informed and keeps them focused on company goals.
A company newsletter is usually set out at regular intervals, eg. monthly. And gives updates on milestones, revenue, and losses, and overall performances. It also outlines company goals for coming time periods.
A consumer newsletter is sent out to customers, prospects, and clients.
The main purpose of this newsletter is to provide useful information to help customers better use your products or services.
It keeps your audience in touch with what’s going on with your brand and provides updates on:
- Product Launches
- Product Defects
- Affiliate Offers and recommendations
Digital marketers need to be good at writing consumer newsletters.
These newsletters are used to communicate both internally and externally.
Organization newsletters are sent to:
- Past, Present, and Future Partners
- Board Members and;
These newsletters have a unique mix of information that helps keep customers and associates abreast with updates, information, features, tips, announcements, industry news.
So now you should have a clear understanding of the type of newsletter you’ll be writing.
Let’s see how we can make our content more impactful.
Writing Impactful Content
Having a positive impact on others comes down to one simple thing, providing value.
If people feel like they wasted time reading your content they won’t make the same mistake again.
With each interaction, they must gain something that improves their lives or businesses.
To achieve this we focus on two things, Education and Benefits.
The key to educating your audience is knowing what issues they are facing. This is also known as your subscribers’ Pain Points.
With their pain points in mind, it will be easy to share tips, content, and resources to help them.
Let’s look at an example.
A lot of digital marketers struggle with generating enough traffic for their offers.
Writing a newsletter that explains how you were able to overcome the same issue will…
Educate and Inspire. From there you just need to show them how to replicate your solution.
Benefits sell. People don’t make purchases or take action because of features. They do so in hopes of getting some kind of benefits in return.
This allows you to enrich your subscribers’ lives while meeting your campaign objectives.
Let’s see another example.
Now that people understand how you overcame your issues with traffic, it’s time to show them how.
You can do this by directing them to a product, training, or software that helps them get more traffic.
But, just telling your subscribers that they will get more traffic by viewing your recommendation is not enough.
You need to say how this increase in traffic will benefit them.
What will they gain? Let’s say your audience is made up of hopeful affiliate marketers.
Well, more traffic means more leads and sales. With more sales, they can finally quit the 9-5 life.
Here, the benefit they’ll gain from your recommendation is freedom. Freedom from the corporate rat race.
Of course, these examples mostly apply to consumer newsletters. But the general concept applies right across the board.
When writing a newsletter you must ensure it is free of typos, grammatical errors, and false info.
There is nothing that says unprofessional more than an email that is poorly written.
If you don’t have time to proofread your newsletter, consider hiring someone who can. Online tools like Grammarly are quickly becoming a writer’s best friend.
That said, sometimes you may not write in your native language. Let’s say English is your second language.
It’s said that after 15 years old, it’s impossible for anyone to become a native speaker of a new language.
So it might be hard for you to structure all your sentences correctly.
In this case, you can use that to your strength. Overcoming any language barrier in itself is an inspiring accomplishment.
Try to incorporate these unique concepts when writing a newsletter. Also, experiment with different fonts to find the best fonts for newsletters in your particular niche.
It will help differentiate you from everyone else in your subscribers’ inboxes.
The Anatomy of A Successful Newsletter
A successful newsletter will include most of the following elements:
- Curiosity Based Subject Lines;
- Valuable Content;
- Captivating images and/or GIFs;
- A primary call-to-action;
- Company & Personal Details
- Unsubscribe link.
Curiosity Based Subject Lines
Your newsletter’s subject line is the first thing your subscribers will see. It needs to inspire enough curiosity to get people to open your emails.
As the saying goes, “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning”.
The concept here is to tease your readers. Get them to wonder:
- What does this mean?
- Did that really happen?
- Am I missing out?
- Is that true?
Here are a few curiosity-based subject lines that worked really well:
I’ve said this several times already but it’s worth mentioning again.
Every interaction with your subscribers must bring value to their lives or business.
Keeping your audience’s best interest in focus is the key here.
In exchange for trying to enrich other people’s lives, you’ll gain their loyalty.
And it doesn’t have to be anything complicated either.
A value-based email can be something as simple as:
- Sending a New Years’ greeting.
- Recommending a useful resource
- Offering existing customers a discount
- Providing extra free training
Captivating Images and/or GIFs
Using images and GIFs in your newsletter is an effective way to boost click-through rates.
Remember, once your email is opened you’ll have just 11 seconds to get people interested in what you have to say.
Visually appealing content will help to grab the reader’s attention. At the same time, they help to break up texts and make them easier to read.
Of course, it would be unwise to use images or GIFs that aren’t congruent with your content or brand. If you do add images to your newsletter ensure it’s something your readers need to see.
As for GIFs, it’s best to use them sparingly.
Too many GIFs can become distracting and may seem unprofessional.
GIFs should be no more than a few seconds long.
Create your own professional GIFs using the GIPHY platform.
Call to Action (CTA)
Before writing a newsletter you must have some specific goal in mind.
In addition to providing value to your readers, what do you want to gain from your newsletters? What action do you want your subscribers to take?
Do you want them to:
- Reply to your email?
- Visit your website?
- View your products or services?
- Download content?
- Give you feedback?
Whatever your goal is, it should be clearly stated with a Call-to-Action.
Including a call to action in your newsletter increases the click-through rate by more than 20%?
Here’s an example of a solid call to action.
“Click The Button Below to Download Your Free PDF“
How well people engage with your CTA will determine your campaign success.
We’ll expand on this topic further down in this post!
Company & Personal Details
You may think your email address is enough for readers to recall who you are but trust me, it’s not.
You should include personal or company details in the Signature of your email.
This can be done by using a signature. A signature is a perfect opportunity to brand every email you send. It helps to reinforce who you are and what you do.
You may want to include the following in your email signatures.
– Name – Position – Phone number – Email – Website – Logo –
Adding a personal image to your signature will work wonders. It helps to “humanize” your brand and gives your readers a face to relate to.
Adding a signature also gives you one more chance to add links to important information.
Like it or not, people will unsubscribe from your email lists from time to time.
Your role is to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Otherwise, they’ll take the next best option to stop hearing from you – marking your emails as spam.
If many people mark your content as spam you will have deliverability issues.
Most of your emails will not get sent to your recipient’s inbox. And this will ruin your sender reputation real quick.
“It’s better to have 10 subscribers than one email marked as spam”.
To avoid this unnecessary burden, include an unsubscribe link in all your newsletters.
Writing A Newsletter People Want To Read: Best Practices
It’s time to get down to the meat of the matter. How exactly do you write these highly engaging newsletters?
Let’s break it down starting with the subject lines. In digital marketing circles, getting open rates of 5% is considered exceptional.
Well, we have been able to get open rates of over 16% consistently following these tips.
How To Write Effective Subject Lines
A good rule of thumb with email subject lines is to keep them short and personalized.
Keeping Subject Lines Short
Most of the time, only the first 40 characters of your subject line will be visible to your readers.
But that’s all you need to inspire curiosity in your reader.
In fact, the shorter the better.
American government officials are experts at keeping their email subject lines short:
Generic subject lines do work. But why be generic when you can get so much more personal with your audience.
It’s a common practice to collect as much personal data as possible from leads with an optin page.
This may include name, email address, city, age, and gender.
With this data, you can write more personalized emails. This allows you to speak to each subscriber on your lists individually.
Let’s say you have a subscriber on your list named Bob. Which of the following subject lines do you think he’ll be more curious about?
“Hey Bob” or the more generic subject line “Dear Customer.”
Definitely the first option right?
Here’s another example:
“Hi Bob! It’s time to check out our latest product.“
Bob will get the feeling you are writing specifically to him. He’ll want to know what you have to say.
If Bob had recently purchased a product from your company, you could use something like:
“Bob, thank you for the purchase“, or even just:
“Thanks again, Bob!“
Try not to overthink this. Keep your emails short and simple even when personalized. Use these examples as your reference:
Admittedly, it may take a while to personalize each email you send from a free platform like Gmail.
That’s one reason why email automation tools have become so popular in recent years.
Adding personalizations to your emails can be easily done using autoresponders like Mailvio.
Mailvio allows you to customize all emails you send to your subscribers. And all with just a few clicks. Saving you hours of time.
Write Informative Subject Lines
Information-based subject lines are a great way to state what value you have to offer in your emails.
With only a quick glance, readers will instantly know if your content is important to them or not.
Informative subject lines work best to provide product, brand, and company updates.
They can be as simple as:
- “Announcing the newest version of our popular __________!” or:
- “The newest version of our __________ is now available!“
Be sure to use promotional keywords or phrases that also inspire curiosity.
For example, if your product is “the world’s most powerful blender,” your subject line could read:
- “The world’s most powerful blender is now available!” or:
- “Introducing the most powerful blender on the market!“
A vague subject line like “New product launch!” or “New product!” it’s unlikely to draw much attention.
Highlight Incentives and Promotions
Incentivised subject lines work really well with past and present customers.
People who spend money with you once will likely do so again if they had a good experience the first time around.
Sometimes, they just need a little nudge.
Let’s take a look at 8 impressive promotional subject lines with an example:
The idea here is to tell customers how much they can save or how much more they will be getting for the same cost.
Notice how the above subject lines are clear, and build curiosity.
And a few of them include one important aspect which takes us to the next point, Urgency.
Subject Lines With Urgency
Quite a few people will open your emails and be interested in your content but won’t take action.
Whenever people feel they have more time to think things over they will. And this could lower your conversion rates.
So, get people taking action fast, you’ll need to add some sense of urgency to your subject lines and your CTA.
As usual, here’s how it’s done in real life:
Avoid Using Spammy Words
There is no point in writing a newsletter if it ends up in the spam folder. Your subscribers will never see it. That’s why your newsletter subject lines should be spam-free.
Avoid using words and phrases that will trigger spam filters. This include:
- Click Here Now
- Get Rich
Also, be careful of spammy syntax. Some people have come up with clever ways to get around spam filters.
For instance, instead of writing Money, they’ll write something like M.O.N.E.Y.
Spam filters are really smart and will pick up on this.
Lastly, email subject lines should not be in all CAPS.
Adding An Effective Call To Action
We’ve already mentioned the importance of including effective CTAs in your email campaigns. Now let’s go into more detail on how to make your CTAs work for you.
Here are five tips to help you out:
- Make them short
- Use authoritative language and action words
- Create a sense of urgency
- Choose a prominent location
- Offer incentives
Make your CTA short
Just as with your subject lines, you want to keep your call to action short and to the point.
No one has all day to read your Call to Action. Make sure that they are bold and not hidden within a cluster of texts.
It’s a good idea to have your call to action as stand-alone sentences or simple buttons.
Use Authoritative Language and Action Words
Keep your call to action specific. Don’t be afraid to tell your readers exactly what you want them to do. Be direct. This will increase the chance of your readers taking the desired action by up to 70%
Try using active verbs like go, visit, shop, sign up today, download, or start now.
“Download the free report now” or;
“Start your 30-day trial”.
Avoid industry jargon or buzzwords as much as possible when crafting a CTA.
Add a sense of urgency wherever you need people to take action.
You’ve already seen how to do this for your subject lines. The same concept applies to calls to action.
For best results, your CTAs should always include some sense of urgency.
Add a countdown timer or use phrases like;
“Hurry! You’re about to miss out,” or “offer expires soon” to add a sense of urgency.
Use these tactics sparingly as they tend to lose effectiveness if overused.
Consider offering an incentive if you want to make it extra easy for subscribers to engage with a CTA.
You can do this by adding a discount, free e-book, or another type of bonus to your CTA.
Digital marketers are experts at providing bonuses. This works exceptionally well when your incentive is congruent with your CTA.
We have had great success in the past implementing this idea.
For your next call to action, try using some version of the following:
- “Download the free report now and get 50% off!“
- “Click here to start your 30-day trial now.“
You can also use incentives in place of bonuses. These work really well:
- “Click here for a chance to win $100!”
Be sure to deliver on whatever incentive you promise.
Choose a Prominent Location
The rule of thumb is to add your call to action only if they’re needed.
You do not want to insert CTAs all over the place just hoping people will act on them. Embed them wherever they may be relevant in your email body.
And remember: People scan emails rather than read them from top to bottom. Make sure not to bury your call-to-action where it will be missed!
You can also add a P.S. section after your email signature that provides more information and a call to action.
How to Boost Newsletter Engagements
Writing a newsletter with great subject lines, valuable content and good CTAs will earn your emails a place in many inboxes.
But how do you get into those inboxes? It starts practicing good list hygiene to boost engagement rates.
Here are 5 tips that will help you do that:
- Clean Your Email Lists
- Remove inactive subscribers;
- Segment Your List;
- Limit the frequency of your email campaigns;
- Use mobile-friendly email templates;
Clean Your Email Lists
Removing Spam Traps and other invalid emails from your list must be done before sending an email.
Failure to do so will result in most of your emails ending up in the junk or promotion folders.
You’ll also incur a high bounce rate and poor sender reputation.
Which will over time, lower your engagement rates and cause deliverability issues.
Thankfully, cleaning your email list only takes a few seconds using an affordable list cleaning service.
Remove Inactive Subscribers
Poor engagement rates don’t sit well with email clients. In fact, many of them will begin blocking your emails if you have a large number of inactive subscribers.
It’s a good practice to delete subscribers who do not interact with any of your emails at least once every 3 months.
You can also attempt to re-engage with your subscribers. This is best done by sending emails to remind people why they signed up to your list in the first place.
These can be very effective when done right.
Segment Your List
List segmentation allows you to send relevant information to individual groups of subscribers.
People will engage more with content that pertains directly to them. This will boost your engagement and click-through rates.
And the likelihood of your emails getting marked as spam will drop considerably.
Think about the different demographics of people on your email lists.
It is a common practice amongst digital marketers to segment their lists by:
- Purchase Date
- Email Openers
- Inactive Users
- Products Bought
Limit Campaign Frequency
Email marketing campaigns work best when they’re sent out on a regular schedule.
According to data collected by Experian, the optimal number of emails you should send per month is between 6 and 10.
If you send more than that, subscribers might become overwhelmed and unsubscribe from your list.
But still, it’s important to stay in contact with your subscribers so they won’t forget about you.
So how often should you send newsletters and other email campaigns?
The best way to find out is by conducting A/B split testing.
Try sending different volumes of emails over set periods of time. For instance, you could send 20 emails in one month then send only 10 the following month..
You can then compare the results in terms of open rates to determine how often is best for your list.
The more targeted and responsive your subscribers are, the better your results will be.
It’s also important to consider the timing of your emails.
Each person on your list will check their emails at times most convenient to them.
If your campaigns are delivered outside of their “email checking” hours, your open rates will be low.
Most autoresponders now allow you to check what time your subscribers are most likely to open your emails.
Use Mobile-Friendly Email Templates
Billions of people open their emails on their phones. When writing a newsletter you have to also consider the templates you use.
Your email templates must be mobile-friendly and responsive. Otherwise, your readers will have a poor user experience.
Using Mailvio To Improve Engagement
Regular email service providers like Gmail and Yahoo have very limited functionalities.
They are great for sending personal emails but are not reliable for business efforts.
The solution is to choose an autoresponder like Mailvio to get the best from your campaigns.
There are many other autoresponders to choose from but…
When it comes to ease of use and affordability, Mailvio is the logical choice.
Here’s a quick overview of some of Mailvio features:
To test drive this autoresponder for yourself, click here.
We have written countless newsletters and other types of emails using these same techniques.
And our campaigns have been consistently impressive. Generating open rates of over 16% and higher than normal click-throughs.
Of course, our results are not typical. And We do use Mailvio to automate all of our campaigns.
Be sure to implement what you have learned today the next time you are writing a newsletter.
Then come back and share your results in the comments below.
Wishing you success on your next campaign.
Steven is the co-founder of Mailvio and oversees the operations and technical strategy and implementations. Steven has been an online entrepreneur since he was 14 years old and has been running SaaS companies for the last 10 years.