An email newsletter is an email that's distributed on a regular basis that includes company updates and other useful branded content. Effective email newsletters aren't purely transactional. They will help foster a deeper bond between customer and company, drive traffic to brand assets (website, YouTube channel, podcast), and promote your product/service.
Newsletters have become a go-to method for routine communication with customers. Just like with anything that is common, it's easy to get lost in the crowd. To stick out, organizations must provide their subscribers with valuable content that keeps them clicking back for more.
Below we have outlined keys to an engaging company newsletter!
It's important to set and meet your subscribers' expectations. That means email marketers claiming to have a weekly or monthly newsletter should take this commitment to subscribers seriously. Ideally, the newsletter would also be sent on the same day of the week every month. For example, the first Monday of every month.
It can be difficult to deliver this consistency. Especially, if you wear many (or all) of the marketing hats in your organization. Things come up and things change. Your boss might think working on a new project is more urgent than the email newsletter you've routinely sent out for years.
To avoid this debate we suggest planning ahead. Once you have established a routine, you should know what content is needed for the newsletter. For example, you might need a video, blog post, and a photo of the week from a customer. Make sure the wheels are set in motion for these content pieces long before you hit send. Proofreading and sending tests should be the only steps left to take on the day you hit send.
The fact is the content is crap in a lot of newsletters. No one (not even your mom) wants to open an email and read through a compilation of self-promotional ads. A successful email newsletter provides readers with unique content that provides them with value.
Hubspot recommends that only 10% of the content of a newsletter should be promotional. The rest of the newsletter should be reserved for educational content. That doesn't mean every email has to include a profound lesson about your industry or that you're limited to a singular type of content
But newsletter content should be useful and timely. It's the perfect opportunity to inform subscribers of your upcoming event, new product, and/or new retail partner. Or you can include a graphic (animated or static), link to a YouTube video, or your latest blog post.
Using your newsletter to promote your latest YouTube video or blog post are both great ideas. However, your brand's top fans are going to subscribe to your YouTube channel and/or go directly to your website to read your latest blog post. The best way to attract people to any platform is by having great content that they can't get anywhere else. That's why streaming companies engaged in a bidding war for the rights for Friends.
We know that creating quality content is not cheap. So we understand that a lot of small businesses don't have the time or budget to create content that is exclusive to each marketing channel. That being said, we recommend brands have at least one element of their email newsletter that is exclusive, even if exclusivity is created by early access.
For example, a local farmer's market could create a video series featuring tips from local farmers. This video series could be available only through the farmer's market newsletter until the series is over. At the conclusion of the email campaign, the series could be distributed widely on social media to those who aren't subscribed.
User-generated content (UGC) is photos, videos, etc. that are posted to social media by fans of a brand. Large brands like Nike have more UGC to sort through on social channels than they could possibly use, while other brands may not have any.
If your brand is small, then you may have to encourage customers to create and share content featuring your product. That doesn't mean paying an influencer to pose with your product and share it to their social media account but it does mean creating a strategy to generate, gather, and use UGC.
In the image above, Wagwear uses UGC alongside customer testimonials on its website. Wagwear provides cute photos and social proof to help customers make the decision to purchase.
To get started with UGC, create a hashtag for your UGC campaign. Once you've settled on a hashtag, create social media posts and an email to launch the campaign. This content will explain why you created a hashtag, how to use it, what the content will be used for, and the advantages for the customer to post using the hashtag. The advantages could be entry into a contest or the opportunity to be featured in the next newsletter.
Being featured in company communications may not seem like much of a prize, but customers love to see themselves on brand accounts (especially the social media generation). And featuring your customers on your digital channels does much more than stroke your customer's ego. UGC has been found to have a significant impact on perceived authenticity, brand engagement, and purchase decisions.
It's easy to incorporate UGC into your newsletter! Create a photo of the month, use the photos to create a graphic, or pull in a variety of photos to highlight a certain product.
According to Stackla, nearly 80% of consumers say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
According to Convince & Convert, 35% of email recipients decide to open an email based on the subject line alone. This means that your email subject lines shouldn't be an afterthought for your email newsletter and it shouldn't be the same subject line every time.
Don't be the marketer who sends their newsletter with the subject line "Monthly Newsletter" or "May Newsletter". This bland subject line will only convince your most dedicated subscribers to clickthrough. They might even put off opening the email since there's no excitement or urgency established by the subject line.
There are going to be multiple CTAs in your email newsletter. If you point to 3 pieces of content in your email newsletter: a YouTube video, blog post, and your photo of the month, you are going to have 3 corresponding links. And the content will be accompanied by a CTA (read more, watch the full video, view the hashtag).
But there should be a main CTA that correlates with the goal of the email newsletter. Depending on your organization's goal, it could be a link to your online store, application, or online course.
Don't take an "if you build it, they will come” approach to your newsletter. Not promoting your content is a common mistake made by marketers.
It's not enough to simply create content. Your team has to have a content promotion strategy in place to maximize the reach of your content. Promote it on social media, at in-person events, and on your website. You already own these channels, so get the most out of them! It may even be beneficial to use digital advertising to promote your newsletter if it's proven to move customers through the marketing funnel.
Don't send a simple email newsletter with only product and business updates. This isn't going to excite current customers and it's not going to convert anyone into customers. It's going to get lost in the crowd of average newsletters.
Send your biggest fans and potential customers an engaging newsletter, a newsletter with relevant content. Send them a newsletter they're excited to open and engage with!