Writing e-newsletters people want to read

With social media algorithms leaving businesses scratching their heads, the email newsletter is coming to the forefront as a dependable way to reach your consumers.

email newsletter

“The question isn’t whether or not you should start an email newsletter; it’s how can you create a newsletter that people actually want to open?” writes Cayleigh Parrish in a July 24 article for FastCompany.com.

Some of the key takeaways:

It doesn’t really matter which day or what time of day you send a newsletter. That said, open rates will be highest an hour after the email is sent. Parrish says these four things are the most important things to consider:

1. Workflow: Make sure you pick a day that works with your schedule and is one you can replicate so you can get the newsletter out consistently, she says. Allow yourself enough time to create, get feedback and test the newsletter before it goes out.

2. Audience: When choosing a send time, think about what your audience—whether East Coast, West Coast or international—will be doing when they get the newsletter. Will they be waking up? Commuting? Just getting in from lunch?

3. Competition: Figure out when your competition sends its newsletter and plan for a different time. Being the only new email in the user’s inbox will ensure yours stands out.

4. Goal: Consider what you want your audience to do. Click a link? Answer a survey? Read a long story? Plan your timing accordingly. People on a morning commute probably won’t want to read a lengthy article when short on time and preoccupied.

Keep the design simple and easy to read on a variety of browsers and devices.

Parrish recommends designing for mobile first, with lots of bullets, short sentences and headers to break up text. Use photos but put them lower in the newsletter because they don’t always load quickly.

Make your subject line intriguing enough that people want to click on it.

Fast Company tests its subject lines by sending out early tweets that link to different articles in the newsletter. The one that gets the most engagement becomes the headline for the newsletter, Parrish says.

Give readers something extra.

Once the newsletter is up and running, it’s natural for people to lose interest after a few months, she writes. To keep them coming back, give them something that sets you apart, such as the giveaways in Creative Market, a unique format like the number-centric Significant Digits or the pop-culture references in The-Skimm.

Test your newsletter with surveys and audience feedback.

Then put that feedback to the test. Just because people say they want one thing, doesn’t actually mean they do. See how they respond to new formats or tweaks.

Promote engagement with your readers.

You can seek  feedback, include one-question polls or ask questions within the newsletter. It’s a good idea to see if you can get your readers to respond on other platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook, or at industry events, Parrish writes.

Never stop promoting your newsletter.

If you want to see growth, make sure people know about it.

On that note, have you signed up for BedTimes’ newsletter, BedTimes in Brief? It comes out twice a month and gives you easy access to news (often before it appears in print), plus a sneak peek into the issue ahead. It’s easy to subscribe—simply go to BedTimesMagazine.com and click the link in the upper left corner.

And if you are a subscriber, are there things you would like to see us improve or change? Feel free to let us know. 

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