5 Tips For Creating The Perfect Email Newsletter

A great newslet­ter is a high­ly-effec­tive way to nur­ture leads, increase cus­tomer loy­al­ty, and dri­ve traf­fic to your site. Here are five keys for suc­cess.

Adam Stambleck By Adam Stambleck from Movable Ink. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Newslet­ters are among the most com­mon mar­ket­ing emails, but one of the hard­est to do well. Many lack tru­ly valu­able con­tent and are left unread in the inbox, then even­tu­al­ly ban­ished to the land of unsub­scribes. But done cor­rect­ly, newslet­ters are a high­ly-effec­tive way to nur­ture leads, increase cus­tomer loy­al­ty, and dri­ve traf­fic to your web­site. By incor­po­rat­ing tools like automa­tion and con­tex­tu­al­ly rel­e­vant mes­sag­ing, you can turn the aver­age newslet­ter into a pow­er­ful mar­ket­ing tool.

Here are five tips to help you cre­ate email newslet­ters that will turn your sub­scribers into loy­al cus­tomers.

1. Keep It Fresh

Six­ty per­cent of mar­keters strug­gle to offer real-time, per­son­al­ized con­tent, but the major­i­ty believes it’s cru­cial to an effec­tive email strat­e­gy, accord­ing to Adobe research. The chal­lenge? Infor­ma­tion changes quick­ly, so by the time you hit “send,” the con­tent may be out­dat­ed. Many busi­ness­es push out time sen­si­tive con­tent via their blog or social chan­nels, but email has far greater reach than social media and most busi­ness blogs. In fact, when choos­ing to receive com­pa­ny updates, only 10 per­cent of cus­tomers elect­ed to do so through Face­book, while 90 per­cent opt­ed for a newslet­ter. How can you lever­age email’s reach and pro­vide read­ers with up-to-date con­tent? Web crop­ping lets you pull live con­tent direct­ly from your web­site into your emails. When you update your site, the con­tent auto­mat­i­cal­ly updates in the email — even when it’s already in your subscriber’s inbox. For exam­ple, you can web crop arti­cles from your site to pull an up-to-the-minute news feed into your newslet­ter. This also saves pro­duc­tion time, elim­i­nat­ing the need to dupli­cate efforts and cre­ate new con­tent for both your site and newslet­ter.

2. Optimize For Mobile

To tru­ly meet read­ers where they are, make design for mobile a pri­or­i­ty. Accord­ing to our data, 68 per­cent of opens and 47 per­cent of email con­ver­sions hap­pened on mobile devices in 2015, and if your sub­scribers open your newslet­ter on mobile, they won’t read it unless it’s mobile-friend­ly. Accord­ing to Unbounce, 75 per­cent of sub­scribers may delete a non-mobile opti­mized email. Respon­sive tem­plates require you to import HTML code that detects the subscriber’s device and adjusts the email in real time. Imple­ment­ing respon­sive design can be a chal­lenge, but with the right tech­nol­o­gy, you can import and con­vert con­tent into a ful­ly respon­sive HTML file. You can also export your HTML tem­plate by copy­ing and past­ing, down­load­ing the file, or for­ward­ing it as an email. But respon­sive design is just the begin­ning. Use device detec­tion to offer the appro­pri­ate app ver­sion to down­load (iTunes or Google Play) based on the device your read­er is using at the moment – all with one click. Reduc­ing steps increas­es the like­li­hood sub­scribers will fol­low through, and device detec­tion is proven to sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase mobile app down­loads.

3. Make It Relevant With Geotargeting

Con­tent that speaks to each indi­vid­ual sub­scriber is what sets great newslet­ters apart from the ordi­nary. You can tar­get recip­i­ents with con­tent that’s rel­e­vant to them on many lev­els – loca­tion, weath­er, time, and per­son­al pref­er­ences. Geo­tar­get­ing boosts click-through rates and allows you to send con­tent based on where sub­scribers are locat­ed the moment they open the email, not just where they live. Use geo­tar­get­ing to point out the near­est phys­i­cal store, local sales, or area events. Cus­tomers are more like­ly to share their loca­tion if reward­ed with con­ve­nience, coupons, or loy­al­ty points. Geo­tar­get­ing adds tremen­dous val­ue, giv­en that it can increase click-through rates from the stan­dard 1.5 — 3.5 per­cent to 13 per­cent. Using geo­tar­get­ing ensures rel­e­vance that yields a bet­ter reten­tion rate over the long-term, mak­ing read­ers and mar­keters hap­py.

4. Share Your Most Popular Content

Every mar­keter knows the chal­lenge of cre­at­ing con­sis­tent and valu­able con­tent. One effec­tive trick is to use con­tent you already know per­forms well and extend its reach to your newslet­ter. If con­tent is pop­u­lar on your site, mea­sured by social shares or com­ments, it’s like­ly your sub­scribers will also find it use­ful. You can auto­mat­i­cal­ly pull your most pop­u­lar con­tent into your newslet­ter with web crop­ping, and the arti­cles will update as new arti­cles are post­ed and shared. Besides pro­vid­ing con­tent you know works – hot off the press – anoth­er big advan­tage is time saved. Few­er resources are spent research­ing and devel­op­ing con­tent top­ics, and there’s no addi­tion­al pro­duc­tion and approval time. Con­tent is cre­at­ed once, and used both on your web­site and in emails.

5. Automate Daily Specials

For dai­ly newslet­ters that make time­ly con­tent a core com­po­nent – whether it’s news, a sched­ul­ing inter­face, or live inven­to­ry – dri­ving your emails with APIs is a great way to offer use­ful, per­son­al­ized mes­sag­ing. With API inte­gra­tion, you can pop­u­late your newslet­ter with the most up-to-date offers or news con­tent. Accord­ing to Exper­ian, emails that offer spe­cial deals have up to 48 per­cent high­er rev­enue than oth­er pro­mo­tion­al emails. Mar­keters can set up the struc­ture of the email and rely on their API to deliv­er real-time data and cre­ate instant, auto­mat­ic updates – regard­less of when the recip­i­ent opens the newslet­ter. Once again, with­out the need to research, cre­ate, and sched­ule fresh con­tent, then wait on approvals, mar­keters spend less time and get far bet­ter results.

Final Thought: Hit Send

You should aim to pro­vide val­ue with each send that speaks to every sub­scriber on an indi­vid­ual lev­el – wher­ev­er they are. That can mean where they are in the pur­chase fun­nel, which device they’re on, or even where they are on the plan­et. Your newslet­ter needs to be rel­e­vant, and the sto­ry it tells must mat­ter to your sub­scribers. The abil­i­ty to cre­ate a per­fect newslet­ter isn’t lim­it­ed to your resources. Tools like web-crop­ping, APIs, and device detec­tion can auto­mat­i­cal­ly pull in con­tent read­ers will val­ue, with a lot less work on your part. All you have to do is use the right con­tex­tu­al tools to take your newslet­ter from ordi­nary to amaz­ing. Then sit back and let it do the work for you.

Adam Stambleck

Written by Adam Stambleck

Vice President, Client Experience, Movable Ink

Adam works with the world's leading brands to understand their goals and drive results-focused digital marketing programs. With more than a decade of direct and interactive marketing experience, he ensures that every client succeeds in his role as VP of Client Experience. Prior to joining Movable Ink, Adam was vice president of client services at Yesmail Interactive and associate director of client services at Paradysz.

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