Sending email newsletters can be an extremely useful marketing tactic for your business – a lot of planning and testing must be implemented before it’s sent. Once the email is finally sent – it’s a waiting game. How many people will actually open the email? How many will read the contents? How many will take action?
Email newsletters are not only time-consuming to make, but also pose a challenge in ensuring they will get results.
Check out this 6-Step Checklist before you begin your next email newsletter to ensure that your email will receive the results you desire.
6 Steps For Sending An E-News That Gets Results
1. Determine the Goal of Your Newsletter
The very first step in creating an email newsletter is determining the purpose or goal of the newsletter. How does it fit into the broader picture of your marketing strategy? Are you looking to generate more leads? Are you trying to promote a special? Are you looking to increase traffic to your site?
By determining the goal of your newsletter, it will help you move forward in the process. In the broader scheme of things, determine what you want to accomplish; think beyond the opens or clicks and think big picture.
2. Segment Your Audience
Before you can begin the design process of the newsletter, it’s important to determine your audience. Who are you planning on sending this email to? Do you already have a list started?
If you have a list of subscribers already started, take a look at how they subscribed. Looking at how they became a subscribers says a lot about who they are and what they’re interests are in your business. Someone who signed up through your website may not be interested in the same content as one of your clients. In this case, you are going to want to segment your audience based on their needs.
For example, say you’re a small business having a huge, annual sale that you want to promote with an email newsletter. You have a large list of subscribers, but not all of them live in state. Would it be useful for those out-of-staters to receive your newsletter if they live 200 miles away? Most likely, they will not want to make the trip for the sale and, therefore, you need to segment your subscriber lists to ensure the right people are receiving applicable information.
Take the time to really think about who exactly you want to receive this email – it not only saves your time, but saves the reader’s time as well.
Plus, once you have determined your audience, it will make the process smoother in determining the content of the email. Cater to your audience – it’s that simple.
3. Include Highly Relevant Content
Now that you know why you’re creating an email newsletter campaign and who will be receiving your message, it’s time to start planning what information you’re going to include in your newletter. Nearly every digital marketer will tell you that the most important element of your newsletter is the content, as the content is what compels your subscribers to take action- whether it’s clicking through to a page on your website, registering for an upcoming event, requesting a consultation, redeeming a special offer, etc.
Take the time to think about how you can reach your goals through the content within the email. Include content that is relevant, easy to read, and gets straight to the point.
Crowd-sourcing is a great way to find out what you’re readers want. For example… can’t think of the perfect things to feature in your upcoming newsletter? Ask your fans on Facebook – simply post a question, and see what they say. Think about giving the people what they want.
To help ensure that you have relevant content, take the time to outline or draft your email before you begin designing. Having a general, rough outline for your content can help with organization and relevancy of your content.
Give the reader all of the information they need, without giving them a book to read. Emails are so easy to overlook – make sure your email is one that will stand out.
4. Grab The Receiver’s Attention
Though content is extremely important, it’s just as important to focus on the smaller details to ensure that your content actually reaches the reader’s eyes and ears!
Going along with relevant content, grabbing the readers attention is crucial in an email newsletter. People receive numerous emails each day, so we want to avoid having our email land in the trash. Think about how your content can grab readers’ attention so that your email is one that they won’t simply skim over.
One of the best ways to grab the receiver’s attention is by having a creative, catchy, enticing subject line. Rather than stating the obvious, think outside of the box. Maybe pose your subject as a question to catch the readers eye. Think of keywords that will grab attention. Also, using strategic capitalization in your text can help draw the reader’s to opening your email (ex. “Scenic fall sights not to miss in Lake George” vs. “Scenic Fall Sights NOT to Miss in Lake George!”)
No matter what your subject may be, try to make it a call to action. After all, we want them to complete an action – to open the email!
5. Use a Mobile-Friendly Template
There is nothing worse than getting an email that you’re interested in opening but wasn’t designed to fit smartphone screen sizes. According to email marketing vendor ConstantContact.com, 75% of people are “highly likely” to delete an email if they can’t read it on their smartphone.
Using a mobile-friendly (or “responsive”) template ensures that your newsletter is easy to read on desktop and mobile devices. No matter what device the receiver is using to open your email, the template is designed to appear exactly how you designed it.
Whether you’re using MailChimp, Active Campaign, Constant Contact, or a different email marketing platform, most vendors provide a variety of responsive email templates for you to use in your email newsletter campaigns. Make sure you are wise in your decision; you never know what medium the reader will choose to view your email on. Test out the template before you send it by sending a test to yourself and others – it’s always a good idea to double check.
6. Test, Test, Test!
One of the biggest time-suckers in creating an email newsletter is the process of testing it. While it may seem simple, trust me when I say that it is one of the most important (and overlooked) steps in the process.
When testing your newsletter, you should start by sending a test email to yourself. Start by checking that the email subject is correct, that all of your links are working properly, your images are clear, and you don’t have any typos.
Once you’ve made the changes, send another test to yourself to double check that your edits were saved. Then, get a fresh pair of eyes involved by sending your final test to a colleague.
Ensure that others can also open all the links, and that the email looks appealing to them. It would also be useful to open a test email on other mediums (e.g smartphone or tablet) to confirm that your newsletter is responsive.
The little details do matter. Take that extra 5 minutes to test and test again.
Start Improving Your Email Newsletters
Now that you have these six steps for creating an email newsletter, get started! Creating email newsletters allows your creativity to shine through – make sure that the reader gets to experience it! Think about these steps before you begin the process, and get the results you’re hoping for.
Have more email newsletter tips? We would love to hear what has worked for your email newsletter campaigns!
Looking for more checklists? Check out our Video Checklist: 5 Things to Check When Reviewing a Video Project.