When you get started with email marketing, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the advice out there. But, really, the best thing to do is to take stock of your basics, then simply begin. So, with that in mind, here are the 5 core guidelines for email newsletters.
1). The main purpose of an email newsletter is to engage your readers.
Overall, your email list might have a purpose to increase your sales. And, for your subscribers, they might be looking for solutions when they join your list. But your actual email newsletter — the curated, composed email with three to five topics — is intended to simply keep your audience engaged.
Do NOT be overly promotional — if you're promotional at all.
Do NOT talk only about YOU.
Do NOT get all wordy here.
Know your ideal reader so you can cater your newsletter to them. Entertain. Compel them to open your email & take action. That's it.
The whole point of an email newsletter is to keep your readers engaged with you, keep you at the front of their minds, & keep them “warmed up” for when you do have something to promote.
2). Your email newsletter should be easily skimmable.
You're competing with MANY others for your subscribers' attention. Their email inboxes are more full than ever before. When you get them to open your email, make sure it isn't one big block of text.
Make your copy bite-sized & enticing. Tease them to click your call-to-action link or button — & make that link or button VERY clear by making it a different color &/or size from the rest of the text.
Include a mix of photos & text — or at least create a visually appealing mix of headlines versus regular text using different sizes &/or colors.
3). Don't let your email newsletters drone on forever.
Have an end in sight. Keep a certain theme for each email so you aren't trying to include everything plus the kitchen sink.
And, if you really feel you need to include everything, but it is creating a dreadfully long email, instead, consider increasing the frequency of your email newsletter.
That brings me to my next core guideline for email newsletters…
4). Email newsletters should be consistent.
This doesn't mean you have to send the same information every single time.
Hello? Do change it up in content, but keep your logo in the same spot or the same overall design so your emails are easily identified as from YOU.
If you send weekly emails, maybe the first week of each month is a recap of relevant blog posts, week two is a community spotlight, week three is a editorial or showcases different perspectives on a relevant topic, & week four is a quiz or survey.
Or, perhaps, you have your featured blog post each week, a message from an expert (whether it is you or someone else), & a new recipe or answer to a freqently asked question.
The point is, your readers don't need to wonder. Keep the excitement in the content, but find consistency in frequency & design.
5). Have a clear call-to-action.
You might have several calls-to-action, but keep them clearly marked with a different color link or button.
Also consider, however, that too many options paralyze readers. Just as you should keep your email newsletters a reasonable length, also consider how many things you are asking your reader to do.
If your email newsletter has five sections, consider showcasing one by featuring it at the top or giving it a larger image & text size.
6). Segment your email list to personalize your email newsletter.
With list segmentation, you can easily create slightly different versions of your email newsletter. Your email open rates & click-through rates can sky rocket when you tailor your content to your reader!
It can be as simple as changing up which section of your email newsletter is featured. Maybe you have segments for subscribers who have already purchased from you, subsribers who click-through consistently, & subscribers who signed up at an in-person event.
You could feature an unusal way to use one of your products to your purchasing segment, an enticing blog post to your active segment, & your next event to the in-person segment.
The sky is the limit! But, segmenting is a great way to help you give your readers exactly what they want — whether it is in your email newsletters or in other emailed content.
BONUS: Guidelines for email newsletters are not written in stone.
Just as your ideal reader will morph as time goes on & you get to know them better, so will your email newsletter.
Learn to experiement with:
- How often to send your newsletter,
- Which subject lines get the best response,
- Which content gets the best engagement,
- How to segment your list for best personalization,
- Which days of the week have the best results,
- Which time of day gets your email seen most,
- Which designs work best for your readers
… & everything else under the sun. When you're getting started with ANYTHING new, viewing it as one big experiment takes so much pressure off you & makes the content you produce that much more fun for your audience.
Just keep your objective & your ideal reader in mind & you cannot go wrong, no matter how experimental you get.
Need help coming up with ideas to include in your email newsletter?
Now that you have a few guidelines for email newsletters in mind, it's time to create your content. There are endless possibilities out there. But, let me help get you started with this list of nearly 50 content ideas you can use repeatedly!
If you'd like more in-depth help with your email marketing, take a peek at Reta Jayne's Direct Creatives store. You can find workbooks, templates, & more to help you with all kinds of content writing & the store is expanding regularly.