Even though there are now multiple ways to communicate between colleagues, virtual teams or between you and your clients, email will always be a vital medium to receive information. If it’s important or I want to see it again, I ask someone to email me or I sign up for the newsletter. It may be a bit lazy, but it’s a realistic way that I (and millions of other humans around the globe) receive information.
So, if you want to capture new leads and strategically turn them into clients, then you’ll want to 1. create a newsletter-like piece of content that you regularly send to your contact list, and 2. make sure it’s a great piece of content that convinces your readers that they have to work with you or buy from you!
Types of newsletters
There are many different formats that an e-newsletter can have, and while that topic can be covered in a totally different blog post (and will be) here’s a few ideas of the types of newsletters you could send to your readers:
- Blog post preview
- Subscriber-only content
- Regular email-style message
- Curated content
- Upcoming events or announcements
- Smorgasbord (everything is included!)
Your style is up to your business and your goals, but the most important thing you want to try to achieve is getting your readers back to your website. This achieves two things:
- You bring more traffic to your website with every visitor, which in turn tells web crawlers that your website is well-visited and helps with your search rankings (it is more complicated than this, but this is the general process.)
- If your readers or potential clients are coming back to your website regularly, then they are more likely to stick around and check out your other pages. There’s no better way for them to learn more about you and possibly turn into a client.
Your website is your home base and where people come to learn more about you and to connect with you. Don’t forget to invite them over!
7 things your awesome newsletter should always have
Your newsletter should have in it what makes sense for you and your business. If you like to create images, your newsletter should probably have images. If you write articles on various blogs around the web, your newsletter should have links to them.
With that being said, these things below are key to turning an average newsletter into a successful one.
A clickable subject line: make people want to click on it!
Do you know those emails you get in your inbox where you read the subject line and immediately delete it? Usually they say “July Newsletter” or “Information You Need.” Don’t do that!
Next time you’re in your inbox, notice the emails that make you want to open them. Usually they offer a hint of a surprise, or entice you to open to get important information, or they just make you wonder, “what is that person talking about?” Usually that means you’ll click on it and open the email.
Now, getting your readers to open your email is more than half the battle with so many emails flooding everybody’s inboxes these days, so what makes your email special? Put that in the subject line…and leave a bit of mystery, too.
Use the correct sending name
In most email programs like MailChimp, you can customize the “Sender Name”. And this should depend upon your business and brand. Ask yourself:
Do people connect with me or my business? If it’s with you, use your name; if it’s your business (or you are more than one person, trying to seem like more than one person) use your business name.
It’s best not to use just an email address as that does seem a bit impersonal; you do put your name on your personal email account, right? Then do the same for the emails you send as your business.
Alt text on images
Alt text, or alt tags, is the text that describes an image and can be added to an image when you set up your newsletter. Why is this important?
First, if the images don’t show up in your newsletter in someone’s inbox, they could be missing out on critical information!
If you made an image that said “Get 50% off today!” and that image didn’t appear and you didn’t include the alt text, your reader wouldn’t see the deal. A big missed opportunity.
Additionally, even if you have images without text on them, an alt text description like “girl standing in the rain” could give support to your text and help your reader understand what you’re trying to say.
Second, alt text is really important for those with visual impairments. There are computer programs that read text on websites, but they can’t read an image so it reads the alt text. If your alt text says “DSC-2781” that doesn’t say anything about your image! But if the alt text said “Spark Virtual Assistance logo” that is much more descriptive.
Don’t forget the alt text!
Links to your website ( = traffic!)
As mentioned above, include lots of links back to your website. These can include:
- Your homepage linked under your logo
- Your About page linked under your name or signature image
- Blog posts links
- Link to your latest freebie or lead magnet
- Your website URL linked to your website
You may think I’m joking when I list the last one, but I have read many newsletters that do not have a basic URL with a link back to the website. Maybe that’s their strategy?! I don’t know, but if I wanted to get back to their website, it would be a pain so I probably wouldn’t do it.
You don’t have to go overboard with links, but make sure you include the important ones.
Value: why should they stick around or not unsubscribe?
I haven’t really talked about the content of your newsletter because that will be really specific to your business and marketing goals, but what you send to your readers has to be valuable otherwise why would they spend their time on what you have to say?
Value can mean different things to different people, but you’re trying to find and convert your ideal client, so what is valuable to them? Discover that and deliver it regularly.
Not too many images
There is a fine line between having too many images and not enough images in a newsletter that I’m sure plenty of marketing companies have studied, but here’s the bottom line:
Add as many images as you need to support the goals of your content and your newsletter.
Don’t add images just to add images, too many images can slow down the loading time of your newsletter and if they don’t appear (see using “Alt text on images” above) then your newsletter may look empty!
But, just like good content on the web, images can help to explain your topic and provide a break for tired eyes browsing lots of content online. Find your image balance.
Include one main call-to-action (CTA)
If your reader opened your email, what is the one thing you’d want them to do?
When you figure that out, make it really clear in your newsletter. Here’s just a short list of things people could do once they get your newsletter:
- Click on your blog post link to keep reading
- Sign up for a service
- Buy a product
- Click to read more about your services or product
- Go to your Facebook page and like it
- Reply to your email
- Register for an upcoming webinar or event
- Forward your newsletter to a friend
- Share, like, or tweet your newsletter
The list goes on, but what’s important is that you decide what you want your reader to do next and then give them the opportunity to do it! And make it clear. Hiding links or buttons will just make your reader confused. Do you notice how big bright buttons make you want to click on them?
(Don’t click this one, it just goes to my homepage in a new browser tab!)
Include buttons in your newsletters, and in a complimentary color so that it really stands out (I use pink for my buttons or CTAs so that it contrasts against the blues and blacks of my brand.)
A newsletter upgrade
Sometimes small tweaks make the biggest difference when we’re constantly communicating with our target audience. Big changes, like a new logo or complete change of brand colors, can leave customers confused or frustrated, so if you want to try some of the above changes do them subtly.
Even better, test the differences. With MailChimp, you can do A/B testing and test two different subject lines: half of your list gets subject line A and the other half gets B, and then MailChimp will tell you which was more effective. Go with that style in the future.
In this same vein, you can create two newsletters with the same content, but use buttons for your CTAs in one and links in the other, do you notice a difference? I’m sure your readers will too.
What change will you try in your next newsletter?
Let me know in the comments below and leave your signup form link so I can check it out!I won't forget these 7 things in my next #email newsletter Click To Tweet