Sparking the Connection: How to Hotwire an Effective Newsletter

 In General, Marketing

11 seconds.

That’s the average amount of time people spend looking at a newsletter. Just 11 seconds.

That means–on average—people aren’t so much looking for reasons to keep reading your newsletter, they’re looking for reasons to stop! If you’re not getting clicks—or if you’re not getting as many as you’d like—chances are you’re not connecting.

And that’s a doggone shame.

It’s a shame, because newsletters give you the means to reach out and connect with your audience on a personal level. These people have signed up for something special. They’ve invited you into their inbox, and by extension their lives. It’s an honor to be there, and you should treat it that way by sending them compelling content.

Good newsletters tell your story. They reinforce your key messages, products, and vision in a meaningful and relatable way. Truly exceptional newsletters, however, do all of the above, but with one very important distinction—they tell the audience’s story. They deliver the same key messages, the same product info, and the same vision, but they do it from the reader’s perspective.

That’s how they connect, and connection is what makes the humble newsletter one of the most powerful weapons in your outreach arsenal.

To help make your newsletters even more powerful, we’ve put together these five tips. Check ‘em out!

  1. Draft a Killer Subject Line. It’s like magic, really. A clever, well-written subject line will work every time. Tune up your subject lines by piquing your reader’s interest with an offer, a sense of urgency, or some sort of compelling mystery. Use action verbs or employ the familiar and address the recipient directly (even by name, if possible). Above all, keep your subject lines concise! Many mobile devices and email clients cut them off in the preview window.
  2. Embrace People’s Judgy-ness. Before writing a word, take a close look at what people first see. Does your newsletter layout look inviting or does it have that dated “manifesto” look about it?  People have short attention spans and they’re getting shorter.  You’ll need to pass the immediate eye test first before someone will actually take the time to read what you are saying. Think visually: use blocks of scrollable content with compelling photos, minimal text, callout quotes, and don’t forget the call to action. Infographics work well too since many internet users skip text altogether! Your layout should pique your readers’ curiosity but leave them wanting more. To find that “more,” lead them to your site, blog or social media network.
  3. Get the Messaging Right. Think about the people on the receiving end. What’s important to them? What do they want and expect? Obviously, everyone is different, but there are commonalities. People want to learn more about their jobs or interests. They want something that makes their lives better in some way. You have that something. They signed up for you! Now you need to keep them reading. But how exactly? The 90-10 rule is a good guide. Dedicate most of your content to informational purposes rather than pitching and selling. Remember your main newsletter goal isn’t to make an immediate sale, but rather to spark a connection that can blossom into a long-term relationship.
  4. Be Bold, But … Brief. Shakespeare had it right when he said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Just because you pulled your audience in with a compelling subject line, it doesn’t mean you have to reward them with tons of content. You may have a number of great lines in your copy, but if it goes on too long, you’ll lose the reader to the next email that pops up. Get in there, get the message across, and pull them out of there—preferably to somewhere you want them to go (like your website).
  5. Use Calls to Action Judiciously. When the layout is done and the content is written, it’s time to make some business decisions. You don’t want to be overt in your calls to action, so a simple, “Learn More” or “Get a Quote” button should do the trick. You can also embed links to your site in certain areas of the copy as well. This will come off as helpful rather than salesy. Unless the offer is unbelievably compelling, salesy copy is a quick trip to the short end of the 11-second average read time.

Ready to make your newsletter more clickable?

If your newsletter is your baby, you probably aren’t the best person to objectively review it. Send it to us. We’ll be glad to take a look and use our industry knowledge to provide targeted feedback. Also, if you’d like to integrate video or GIFs to make your pages move, we can help with that.

Regardless of technological advances, always remember that good writing and design—along with good relationship-building skills never go out of style. We can help with that as well.

Let’s connect. We’ll make sure your newsletter is an effective component of your company’s content marketing strategy.  Contact us today to learn how we can help you make sure all the different components are working together to support your business goals!

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