Regardless of what you do for a living, teacher, social media influencer, or blogger, or small business owner, you will have come across the term ‘Email Marketing’. It was probably suggested to you when you were doing your research. I am here to tell you that they are probably right.
Email marketing is excellent advice no matter what kind of job you do. Email Marketing ROI has gotten bigger with every dollar. For every dollar you spend on your email marketing scheme, Email Marketing ROI secures you $44.
You might have experienced boring or annoying newsletter chains in the past, but they do not have to be. They can be an exponentially effective way to build an audience and create a relationship with your readers, both old and new.
In fact, newsletters are great for both established businesses owners and influencers alike, regardless of your starting point.
But how do you know that you are doing your email marketing effectively, or that you are doing them right at all? In this article, we will be sharing the best ways to be successful in creating and establishing your newsletter chain.
What Newsletter Ideas Work, And Where So I Get Them From?
The first thing you need to do is learn your target audience or your target market. What kind of things do they need or want? What are they looking for?
If, for example, if you have a financial blog that highlights millennials’ needs in the U.S. you might find that this niche market is concerned about student loans or the housing market. If you do your research and uncover what your specific target market is looking for, you will have found out what information they would value in a newsletter.
Once you have found out who your target market is, you can then figure out who your competitors are. This is sadly a step that a lot of people gloss over, but learning about your competition can be an integral step in understanding your own brand, and what you can offer your customers that is unique within that niche.
Because of this, it is recommended to categorize your competitors and put them in these main categories.
- Direct: Brands in this category are in direct competition with you, they are in your category. For example, when your target market thinks about what you offer them, they will also consider your direct competitor. They are your competition, and it is a battle to see who comes out on top. Because of this, you should pay a lot of attention to companies in this category. An example of two companies in this category might be; two DVD shops on the same street
- Indirect: Indirect brands in this category are essentially competitors who offer a service or sell something that is similar to yours, but different enough that they are not the same product or service. However, customers can still substitute your shop or service if they wanted to. An example of this might be an online DVD shop versus a DVD shop in a physical location.
- Replacement: The last category is for companies that are essentially in a different category and offer a different service/sell a different product, but this service or product can replace yours. An example of this might be You having a DVD shop and your competitor having a video game store or a bookstore. They all sell different things, but each one can be replaced by the other.
As you can see, it is important that you know which category your competitors fall into because by doing this you can discern where your attention should be, as well as showing you what kind of benefits you should focus on to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
One way you can keep tabs on them is by checking out their newsletters, this is because a company’s newsletters often tell you what they are peddling to their audience and if they are in direct competition you can also learn what else you could be doing to compete with them.
Learning how they communicate is important as well because it allows you to gauge the audience’s response and how you can alter your tone of voice or communication style to better suit your target market.
So, make sure to take in how your competition’s storytelling strategies work and how they are received. Make note of how regularly they communicate and what exactly they tell their audience and how they do it.
But there are potentially hundreds of newsletters to go through, how will I do it? There are plenty of tools and resources you can use to make your life much easier. For example, using Mailcharts can water down the newsletters you need based on industry.
Mailcharts offers you information on how often your competitors email their subscribers and allows you to get a sneak peek of the visuals they use and their promotional strategies.
Check Out Some Great Newsletter Examples
There are a myriad of different newsletters which range all the way from fantastic to exceptionally poor. We have curated a list of some of the best examples right here. In addition to that, we have some tips to help you out on your hunt for the best newsletter out there.
Examples Of Charity Or Non-Profit Newsletters
Through good storytelling and strategy, newsletters can be an incredible way to ask for support. However, a word of warning for those looking to create charity/non-profit newsletters and send them out. It is critical to create a trusted and credible relationship with your audience.
You should, for example, you should always try to send a welcome email which details what your charity organization stands for and what you are trying to achieve.
Having a trusted and credible relationship with your audience is all the more significant as a non-profit organization. Because you are not trading your readers for their contribution, but rather donate their money, time, or resources for free in order to further a cause.
It is not easy to ask for help for yourself, let alone for the sake of the rainforest or abolishing the ivory trade. Here we will show you a few tips you can use to assure your newsletter tells a good story, is credible, and is trustworthy so that you can further any cause you feel that is close to your heart.
- Welcome: As a general rule, it is advisable to be polite and greet or thank your readers with an email. Thank them for subscribing to your cause, and make sure to educate them in more detail about your organization. It is important to remember that you should not be asking for money at this point, you are getting to know your reader and creating a relationship with them.
- Keep Them in the Loop: Use your newsletters to let your readers know what is happening with your organization, as well as what your non-profit is doing with the money they have donated. In this kind of update newsletter, you should strive to tell a compelling story. Keep it personal, tell them about individuals that their money helped or the donated food that went toward feeding a particular person or persons. You should avoid abstract information and numbers, as this is not particularly interesting or personalized.
- Reply to Them: Do not use a ‘no-reply’ email address, this is impersonal and does not establish a sense of trust or contact with another person. What you are trying to go for is a friendly face they can contact and respond to, and by doing this creates a trusted relationship with them rather than cutting to the chase and asking for money straight off the bat.
- Thank You: Once you have received a gift, no matter what it is. Time, money, donations, it is important to give thanks to your readers. Sending them a cute gift is a great idea to show them your appreciation. It does not have to be expensive or extravagant. You could send them a wallpaper for their phones or laptops, photos of a particular animal that was saved, or even a simple stuffed toy is enough to thank them for their kind contributions.
But what should I include with my non-profit or charity newsletters? How can I make sure that they are doing what I need them to? Well, there are a few examples you can check out below. They are all food examples of newsletters that have hit the above tips and done it rather well.
American Red Cross
The language of color can really help get your message across, like in the case of the American Red Cross. The use of the color red instantly gets the attention of the audience, as it is often used to get the attention of people.
In stop signs, red traffic lights and so many other places red is used to catch the attention of people and used to make them stop. In addition to the smart color choice, they put their button at the bottom of the appeal. This is regularly the case, to make the story clear and set a clear narrative before asking for money.
They use imagery, font, and text to tell an immersive story. Not only are they telling the story through the text, but they are also using imagery to highlight the importance of the non-profit organization.
As well as imagery and use of storytelling, the punchy titles and easily visible donation buttons are factors in drawing the eyes to the key points.
World Wildlife Fund
Not only has the World Wildlife Fund highlighted its cause through imagery, but it also utilizes audio files to immerse its readers. This creates a unique experience for the readers which they can enjoy along with the strong images of various wild animals in need of aid.
WWF is also great at showing its readers the work they do and what they have achieved.
Personalizing your emails is important, and you can see this used in the case of World Vision. The use of addressing their newsletter to each person individually gives a sense of knowing the person as opposed to seeing them as a means to gain money.
Knowing someone’s name makes a difference because it looks like you have taken the time to learn about the person. World Vision also tells a compelling story about what donations will do to quell the issues they stand against.
Examples Of Corporate Newsletters
A corporate newsletter does a good job of keeping stakeholders, staff, investors, customers, or partners updated on what is happening within the organization.
You can even use a newsletter to relay information to staff within the company, things like strategies or updates are some examples of what might be conveyed in a newsletter. Some examples of what topics you might cover can be seen below:
- A response to a crisis that is affecting the company
- Letting others know about changes happening within the company
- Financial reports being shared with relevant staff or customers
- Sharing news or findings
It is imperative to make sure that each newsletter has a clear audience, whether it is for internal or external audiences, and what message you would like to convey. The last thing you want is to accidentally share sensitive information with the public or send information to someone that should not have it.
Below is a list of a few examples of corporate newsletters which have done a good job in creating and writing their newsletters.
This particular newsletter uses infographics that stand out and are easily memorable to make an impression on its audience. In this case, they are being used to communicate the importance of safety for the employees of the company. A great feature of this newsletter is that it is easy to skim because of the visuals.
This newsletter by Unsplash does a great job of addressing the reader using their name, making it personal and thus more friendly. The graphic that they use is clear and highlights what they offer, in addition to that there is a clear call-to-action button on this page which highlights an important feature the company is talking about.
Examples Of Ecommerce Newsletters
The best way to take advantage of your newsletter is to create a sense of urgency. What you really want is to engage your audience and make them take action as quickly as you can. It is all well and good to use your newsletters to promote products, sales, announcing contests, but you really want your customer to exceed that expectation.
But what is the best way to go about doing that? How do we engage the audience in your newsletter marketing? We have your back, below are a few ways you can achieve this.
- Personalization: If you can tailor your newsletters to individuals, you will be doing great. Recommending similar items based on their shopping history or guiding them on how to use purchased items. If they have a full shopping cart that has not been interacted with for a while, you can try to engage them again. Take advantage of the time of year, holidays, and seasonal products. For example, if you are selling clothing, you can make sure that your customers or readers are not seeing winter clothing in the summer.
- CTA: Adding a ‘calls-to-action within your newsletter is a great way to stand out. One way you can do this is by making your CTA stand out using visual stimulation. Bold colors, buttons, and fonts will really help your CTA stand out amidst your competition.
- Aesthetics: Make your newsletter appealing to look at, design the layout so that it looks beautiful. Using colors or layouts to optimize your visual appeal is a great way to engage your audience. You are trying to showcase your product, as such you need to make sure that it looks appealing. A great way to do this is to hire a product photographer to make your Product look appealing and stand out amongst your competitors.
- Excitement: it is important to create a feeling of urgency and excitement in your newsletters as such, adding things like countdown sales, product releases or promos are great ways to engage your audience and get their attention.
Some examples of companies who have done all this in their newsletters can be seen below. The documents we have selected have executed their newsletters exceptionally well, using urgency, aesthetics, CTA, and personalization to really draw in and engage their audiences.
Reebok utilizes a simplistic yet bold color palette that looks clean and fresh. The Calls-to-action are well-placed and stand out well in the newsletter. It uses white space and contrasting colors within the design.
The pictures Reebok uses are well-chosen because of the way that they are placed as well as showing the products in action. In addition to that, each image is large and exciting, which only draws the readers’ attention to the product more.
This company utilizes sales to create a sense of urgency and excitement. Within the fact that they have highlighted a sale, Fossil makes sure to notify its audience of the fact that there’s only a limited number of certain products. In this case, ‘Only 300 made’ creates a sense of urgency, as there are only a limited amount of these products which might engage the audience.
In addition to that, Fossil has well-placed and designed buttons, which allow its customers to act quickly in response to the sale. To top it all off, the photos of the products are well done and have a pretty background, which makes the products look more appealing.
GoodHood uses a very basic it does not use a wide variety of colors, in fact, it uses white with black text. However, the images it uses are well-placed and definitely draw the eye to the product.
It creates a sense of urgency by highlighting its products and using a Calls-to-Action button at the bottom to allow the users to see all the products before being prompted to purchase an item.
There are a great many other exemplary companies and layouts which utilize their newsletters really well, a few additional companies you can look at are Clarks and Heresy. A great way to keep your newsletter fresh and your readers interested is to mix it up.
Changing colors, design, and layout for different products or seasons is a good way to do this. If you have a look at your more established competitors, you will see that there are a variety of call-to-actions that are used to engage their audience for various reasons, seasons, or products.
Because of this, it is important to keep your newsletter layouts and designs varied depending on the situation.
Examples Of Newsletters For Education
As a person working in education, it is likely that you grasp the importance of a newsletter, especially as an agent, to keep parents posted, bring in new promising students, alumni, or just to circulate information on campus.
Because online learning has become bigger in the last few years, newsletters have become all the more powerful. University students studying from home or simply having your lessons online can leave you needing to bridge the gap, and newsletters are a fantastic way to do that.
It is imperative that you clearly identify the brand of your newsletter, especially as an educational organization. As such, you must make sure that you use your school or university’s logo, colors, and iconography.
Even though these newsletters are for an educational institution, it is important to realize that you will be writing for different audiences. Are you trying to announce events for the semester? Are you trying to get your fellow faculty members to sign up for online training, or are you trying to alert parents of events coming up?
There are endless possible types of content you can use for your newsletter, as such you have to make sure to pinpoint who exactly you are targeting. Below are a few that we think have hit all the marks and really embrace their purposes.
Arizona State University
As well as using the university logo and colors, the Arizona State University shows a sense of unity regardless of being short and to the point.
While there is no real call-to-action present in this example, the fact that it is a warm and friendly newsletter creates a sense of community, which is important as well.
Stevenson High School
The clear branding on Stevenson High School’s newsletter is a great example of using colors and logos that are affiliated with the school and as a result, it is clear where the newsletter is coming from and who it would be aimed at.
The use of large titles makes it easy to see that this is aimed at parents, having a document that is easy to skim and get the gist of quickly is a great point to have in your newsletter.
Examples Of Multimedia Newsletter
Bloggers, influencers, and multimedia platform users are all going to find newsletters helpful in bringing your audience or readers back to your blog or channel. It also helps as a way to share news posts or bring your old viewers back to the fold.
As a rule of thumb, you should strive to add a link to your blog, post a video, or whatever platform you use. In addition to this, you should try to make it appealing for your viewers to click on this link.
Because of this, your subject line is of utmost importance in making sure that your link looks appealing and by extension pushing your viewers back to your content. Below are a few tactical hints on the best ways to go about making your media newsletter appealing and bringing your viewers back to you.
- Be personal: If you can use your readers’ names in your newsletter, you certainly should. Writing to ‘Jane’ is far more effective than writing to ‘a subscriber’.
- What makes your Content Good: This basically means that you need to pinpoint what problem or accomplishment you are highlighting in your content. An example might be ‘How my blog made $6k a month through passive income.
- Catch Their Attention: You need to make your readers curious about the blog, video, or post. Give them a moment of wanting to know how you did it or what you did. An example might be something like, ‘No one thought I could finish it, but I did it.’
- Make Them Empathetic Toward You: This prompt is all about making your readers relate to you. You want to make them feel like your issue is relatable and as such, they can empathize with you. An example might be ‘Does this film make you cry?’
You should always aim to put your most impactful words first, this is because in a subject line for example there is a chance that there will be words cut off.
Luckily for you, there is a tool you can use which will help you preview your work and avoid cutting your lovely subject lines. The important thing is to keep your emails short and punchy so that they click on it quickly.
Below are a few examples of media or blog newsletters that we think utilize all these points really well in their work.
This company keeps its newsletters simple and clean, this is good because there are no flashy fonts or images which detract from the content of the posts. This is especially significant if you are a blogger. Additionally, this newsletter includes links that allow the reader to interact with the post quickly.
This newsletter uses a video instead of text to catch the attention of the reader, this makes everything look minimalistic. But it is good in the way that she uses the reader’s name in the email, which shows trust in her readers.
What Content To Use For Email Newsletters
Those examples cover several types of newsletters, and what kind of topics you can use with your own work. The next step is to start planning your own newsletters and content.
But, before you get into it. Here are a few tips to better understand how to create excellent content for your audience.
What Is Your Voice & Tone?
Deciding what you want your tone and voice to sound like is just as important as deciding your visuals and branding. Do you want to come across as playful? Funny? Serious? There are endless possibilities, and it is your job to choose one that fits you.
If you were leaning toward having more light-hearted and playful content, you could use GIFs or emojis to show this, while a person with a serious content voice would likely not use either of those.
It is important to maintain a consistent voice throughout your content, however, the tone of your email may vary depending on what message you are sending.
Content For Your Newsletter
After establishing your tone and voice, you can begin piecing together your newsletter. There are many things you can choose to include in your newsletter, but usually, they include the following:
- Subject Line: This like is used to get your reader’s attention, however, it is critical not to misinform them or lead them astray. Keep to the truth.
- Body: You should aim to keep your call-to-action on the first page, as this is a key piece of information that is supposed to gain the reader’s interest.
- Keep it Personal: Use your readers’ names wherever possible and greet them before getting into your needs. In addition to this, make sure that you personalize your reader’s experience.
- Infographics: Using imagery to make your newsletter more interesting is a great way to keep readers interesting. It helps visually as well as helping with telling a story.
- Unsubscribe Links: It is of paramount importance that you understand the spam laws in the countries you are sending your newsletters. In most cases of those countries that have anti-spam laws, there is an option for your reader to unsubscribe.
The Design Of Your Email Newsletter
When you are designing your newsletter, you should be careful to focus on the correct components. Below are several of the most important ones to keep in mind.
Use Visuals In Your Layout
Visual hierarchy. This big word basically means that your layout is designed to draw the reader’s eye to the most influential parts of your newsletter. But, for this to work, you will need to understand what you want the reader to do when they see a newsletter.
You will need to determine what you want them to do before you can use visual hierarchy to draw their attention to what you want them to do. Below are a few of the elements you can use to draw your reader’s eye and make a good call-to-action:
- Important things are often larger, so make sure to keep size in mind.
- Use complementary colors to make important parts of your newsletter stand out
- Utilize your font and make it bold, larger, or italic where you want the importance to be in your text.
- You can use shapes to make an impact on your reader. They can be used to draw their eye and appreciate something beautiful.
- White space can be key in making sure that your newsletter is not too busy and allows your reader’s eyes to rest.
Picking You Font
The most important thing when it comes to choosing a font is to make sure that it is readable. Sometimes it is best to pick something simplistic rather than an overly styled font which is hard to read.
You should remember that a reader tends to skim when on screen, as such making your text simple will be better in keeping your audience engaged.
Logos And Colors
If you would like to stand out from the crowd, you will need to make sure to use your chosen colors and your logo if you have one so that you stand out as your own thing rather than floundering in a sea of similar newsletters.
Don’t Overdo It
Try to keep your design impulses in check, make sure that you do not pick too many clashing bold colors or images that are not flattering and clash with the design. You do not want to give your readers a headache, so make sure to tone down your design choices.
Free Newsletter Templates
Designing a newsletter can be overwhelming, but do not worry. There are plenty of options out which means you do not have to start from scratch.
One of the best newsletter template builders out there is Stripo which has over 400 newsletter templates you can choose from and best of all they look great on cell phones as well. It is simple to find the template you want because of the well-categorized layout of Stripo.
It is as simple as selecting message type, industry, feature, or season. In addition to that, you can easily find what you want in the search bar.
A great feature of Stripo is the customization, you are able to use solid content blocks for static content. It also supports dynamic content if that is what you would prefer.
If you are well versed in HTML, you can easily switch your design view and edit your HTML from there. But, if you are unfamiliar with HTML do not worry, you can just use the visual editor.
One of the few downsides to Stripo is the lack of fonts. At the moment it only has about 20 available, which is fine as long as there is something there that catches your eye.
The Free and Business accounts allow only one user, as such if you have more than one person using Stripo you might end up having to go for an Agency account or just sign up using separate accounts.
There is a free version available if you would like to check it out, just click on the link.
Know What Your Readers Want
As we have established, it is of paramount importance that you understand what your reader wants and what their end goal is. If you know what they need, you can keep that in mind and use that information to make your newsletters more effective.
You might even be able to convince them that they require an item or service you offer which they really do not need before.
Additionally, you will need to understand your competitors and how their strategies work. What methods are they using to win over their audience? If you use Mailcharts you can alleviate some of the work when it comes to subscribing to your competitor emails. Because Mailcharts will distill that information for you
Ease Of Reading And Appealing To The Eye
Using good quality images and graphics can make all the difference in catching your reader’s eye. A great photo can enhance your brand and make your products or services more appealing. Hiring a photographer or using excellent quality stock photos can really set your newsletter apart from the rest.
If designing your newsletter is not something you are looking forward to, or you do not enjoy it, remember that you can use Stripo which has plenty of templates you can choose from for free.
Newsletters are an extremely effective way to reach your audience and establish a relationship with them. It is significantly more effective than conventional social media platforms such as Facebook, and Twitter.
But, it is important to keep in mind that the way newsletters work has changed, and we have to adapt to the ever-changing way of the world in order to keep using them.
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