If the thought of creating and maintaining an email newsletter feels daunting, but you know it’s something you need to drive more leads and serve your customers, this post is for you. Email marketing is imperative to the success of your business and a well-written, timely newsletter your subscribers can rely on to educate and inform should be a key component to your email marketing strategy. Having a newsletter is a powerful way to stay top of mind with readers, providing a direct route to grabbing their attention. Let’s break down some newsletter basics and then dive into our key tips to creating the most readable newsletter. Let’s go!

Creating the Most Readable Newsletter

What is A Newsletter?

A newsletter is a tool used by businesses to share valuable information with subscribers. By sending out a newsletter, you have direct access to your audience’s inbox, a place many people check upwards of 20x a day, to share engaging content, promote sales, and drive traffic to your website. News website, Vox, reported that their average newsletter reader spent 110 seconds on their site compared to 40 seconds from Facebook visitors. To create truly engaged audiences, you need to get their full attention in an environment you control — email.

A Newsletter’s Purpose

The purpose of a newsletter will differ from business to business. Some commonplace uses for newsletters include driving traffic to your website and social channels, offering helpful tips and information to your subscribers, and driving sales by offering coupons and showcasing new products. A good newsletter should accomplish these three things:

  • Engage your audience and get them to perform a desired action.
    • Create a CTA and try to push your readers to watch your latest YouTube video.
  • Offer your audience exclusive content they can’t get anywhere else.
    • Offer 20% off your newest launch for all your newsletter subscribers with an exclusive discount code.
  • Be informative and position your business to become a thought leader in your industry
    • Host a live Q&A just for subscribers with the founder of your company offering insightful information.

If done well and consistently, a newsletter’s possibilities are endless. Sending quality, well-thought-out content regularly — whether that’s weekly or monthly — will show your readers that you’re reliable and can be trusted as a credible resource. Being sporadic with sending your newsletter will lead to people forgetting about you or unsubscribing. Consistency is a key element to increasing your readership, but email campaigns, including newsletter distribution, are incredibly easy to track and measure the success of. By doing so you can continue to tweak your newsletter until you see the results you’re looking for. Now let’s get into the tips!

Creating the Most Readable Newsletter

Heatmaps show how subscribers skim the content of email newsletters. Red spots got the most attention, and the blue gets the least. Image by the Nielsen Norman Group

Tip #1: Use Clear Headings

Email newsletter subscribers skim 69% of the content you send them, so to make sure they read what you want them to, you have to incorporate clear headings. Not only does it break up the text in your newsletter so it’s more readable, but it also offers your readers an opportunity to decide what they want to stop and read. Making your headings quick and digestible ultimately leads to more visitors to your website.

Tip #2: Don’t Shy Away from Images and Graphics

Don’t be afraid to use images and graphics to make your newsletter stand out. From a design aspect, it will lend to your branding and make your newsletter recognizable, and is another great tool to break up too much text. Using an image or graphic for each heading offers something visual that will garner a lot more attention than just text. Anytime you can grab a reader’s attention, do it!

Tip #3: Offer Value

To keep your subscribers coming back, try offering valuable content they can’t get anywhere else. Things like exclusive discounts, giveaways, and downloadable guides are great options to offer in each of your newsletters so readers keep coming back to see what new resource you’re offering. You can even incentivize these special pieces to grow your subscribers list by adding a discreet popup to your website.

Tip #4: Include CTA’s Often

If you’re mentioning anything of value in your newsletter, which of course you are, be sure to include a CTA and funnel your subscribers to other pieces of content you’ve created that would be of benefit to them. It seems easy enough, but a common mistake is not linking to social channels, your blog, or items you’re mentioning in the newsletter. Make sure your readers don’t have to hunt for these links and make them as clear as possible for them to find, click, and hopefully convert.

Tip #5: Keep it Concise

On average people spend just 51 seconds with a newsletter, which is why keeping your content concise is key. Your newsletter is not the place for long-form writing. Readers are skimming and only want to read a few sentences before deciding if they want to know more. The more brief the better. Try incorporating bulleted lists to get across more information in a quick, digestible way.

Tip #6: Speak to Your Audience

Think of how you’d talk to your ideal audience if you were person-to-person. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating content with them in mind, so don’t lose them by sounding like a robot. Write more conversationally and steer away from coming off as too sales-y.

Tip #7: Preview Your Newsletter

Always be sure to send out a test run of your newsletter and check one last time for any errors, missing or broken links, or design format mishaps you missed while compiling the newsletter. This is also a great time to see how your subject line and email preview look. A quality subject line is short, personalized, and compelling, letting the reader know exactly what’s inside your email.  Subjects that sound like clickbait will lose people’s trust in your brand.

A newsletter can initially seem like a big obligation, but it’s definitely a tool you want in your marketing toolbox. Like with any marketing effort, you will need to try several different approaches, analyze your results, and make adjustments based on user behavior like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes to help maximize your ROI. If you’re looking for more help with email newsletters or any other digital marketing need, reach out to us today!