Why it's time to dust off your newsletters
Sometimes when I talk to younger colleagues about my love of newsletters, they look at me like I just stepped out of the Stone Age. But the fact is that newsletters are hotter than ever. In the US, many journalists have resigned from their well paid jobs to start newsletters. So when HubSpot, Litmus, Rock Content, and Wistia asked marketers in 2022 about the most effective medium, newsletters were at the top of the list.
And think about it, 97 percent of internet users in Sweden use email. But that certainly doesn’t mean you should keep working with newsletters as you did in 2000. If you do, it’s high time to revive your newsletter and give it the love it deserves.
5 tips on how to maximize the effect of your newsletter:
Go for look & feel
It’s a myth that newsletters must look boring or that they should only consist of links to content on your website. And this goes for B2B newsletters too. Furthermore, refreshing your newsletter doesn’t have to be expensive. Giving the newsletter a new look can be as simple as introducing new modules, vamping up your header image, adding a pull quote to each issue, or a Q&A fronted by one of your experts. Or why not add a moving GIF?
There are plenty of possibilities. If your newsletter has looked the same for some years, give it a facelift. Think about what new content you want to include in your newsletter and then develop new modules that follow your visual guidelines. And don't shy away from color and images - you don't have a lot of time to catch your readers attention.
Here is Skanska’s newsletter "Flervärden” which, among other things, provides inspiration about future workplaces. The newsletter mixes quotes, questions, and GIFs.
There are various levels of personalization. For example, I've sent out newsletters, getting a 5-percent increase in opening rate by adding first names to the subject line. It can be very effective if you, for example, have a list of 50,000 people.
But personalization can be much more than a first name in a subject line. An easy way to improve the relevance and attract more readers is to set up a customer journey where the reader receives a tailor-made newsletter with different content depending on their purchase. Highlighting various parts of the newsletter for specific target groups can be another way. Don’t miss the chance to increase the reader value by not taking advantage of personalization opportunities – or at least test them. You could even take it one step further, like the golf company Dormy below, and add a personal video to your newsletter.
Here, Armand Duplantis sends a personalized greeting via e-mail from Dormy. Source: Dormy
The perfect subject line
I often get the question, is there an ultimate subject line? The answer, unfortunately, is no. However, there is one valuable piece of advice that I have picked up along the way. Think like a tabloid journalist. Don’t reveal everything in the subject line; make the reader want to read more. There’s a reason why, year after year, tabloids keep using headlines such as “Three reasons why you shouldn’t retire early.” It’s simple. It works and creates curiosity. If your readers are interested in the topic, they will click through. If you give away everything in the subject line, chances are people won't bother opening your letter.
Another piece of advice is to let the first paragraph and the subject line be relatively similar. If the reader can’t see the connection when opening the email, there is a risk that they will lose interest quickly, and you will get fewer click-throughs. A third piece of advice is to A/B test your subject lines. Doing this over time is easy but often forgotten.
Let tabloids inspire you when writing subject lines. And don’t make the mistake of revealing the whole story.
Never stop testing
A/B testing is easy. For example, you can test subject lines as discussed above or test when to send your letter, what time suits your target group best during the day? What day of the week? Or test out different content - should you go for inspiration, or just a straight forward campaign offer? The important thing is to test one thing at a time.
If you test several things simultaneously, it will be challenging to determine what made one alternative work better. If you’ve never done A/B testing before, set up a simple plan and decide on only one thing to test for each newsletter. Then continuously optimize the newsletters according to the conclusions you draw. Your newsletter-provider will give you relevant stats to follow like opening rate and CTR (click through rate).
Offer something unique
Do you have exclusive access to exciting statistics? Or do you have a very skilled expert working in your company? Or maybe your CEO is a true influencer who loves to write? Offer something unique in your newsletter that your reader can enjoy without having to click through. Not everything needs to be a link to your website.
Maybe it’s a list of three smart tips, or why not create a one-off GIF for the newsletter? Today, many companies are used to producing exclusive content for their social media channels but forget that you can be creative and have fun with the same type of content for traditional e-mail marketing. Sharing unique content in a newsletter is also a great way of strengthening your relationship with your audience and making them want to read your next letter.
Stina Gyldberg, Content Manager, Spoon