What is an Email Newsletter?
Email newsletters are a commonly used marketing technique and one of the most popular ways for businesses to communicate with their customers. But what makes an engaging newsletter? And how can creating a newsletter help your business?
In our latest Marketing Made Easy guide, we’ll talk you through how to create a newsletter, covering everything from how often to send your newsletter, to the most click-worthy content. Start creating engaging newsletters to give your business a boost!
Benefits of Using Newsletters in your Marketing
There are a range of reasons why a business may choose to create a newsletter to help their marketing initiatives, and this will vary depending on your unique aims. Newsletters can be useful for improving brand awareness, particularly if sent to prospective customers. They can also work to build relationships with customers, both current and potential, by giving your company a face and a voice that people can relate to.
If your main aim is to generate traffic and increase sales – newsletters can help with that too! A recent study by McKinsey & Co found that email marketing can be up to 40 times more effective than social media marketing and that the buying process happens around three times faster with email marketing than social media.
You can also get useful insights into the kind of content that your audience best responds to by monitoring your click-through rate and using this to keep generating engaging content in future newsletter issues.
Things to Consider When Creating a Newsletter
The first thing you need to do before investing your time and energy into any kind of marketing, is to ask yourself, why? What is the aim of your newsletter? Are you trying to generate traffic? Increase brand awareness? Drive sales? The purpose of your newsletter will directly affect the kind of content you need to include, so make sure you have a clear set of aims.
You should also consider who is going to be reading your newsletter. Perhaps you have existing customers that you want to communicate with, or maybe you have list of prospective customers that you want to target and convert. The content of your newsletter may differ between the two audiences, or you could create a newsletter that caters to the needs and interests of both.
When planning your content, you should be aware of why people sign up to mailing lists and cater your content towards this. According to Litmus.com, 39% of people subscribe to newsletters to receive discounts, 21% to read current news and 18% to learn something of interest. With your business and target audience in mind, you should be able to create a balance of things your customers want to see, and things you want your customers to see.
How often should you send a newsletter?
As well as creating engaging content, you also need to ensure your audience stay subscribed, which means you should avoid spamming them with too-frequent emails. You want to stay relevant to your audience and if your communications are too few and far between, they are more likely to lose interest or take their custom elsewhere. Try and find a ‘sweet spot’, based on your audience. Studies have found that most readers want to receive newsletters no more than once a week and no less than once a month.
How to create a newsletter that feels personal
Another great way to hook your reader is by using personalisation. This could be as simple as addressing them by name in the subject line or tailoring your newsletter’s content to appeal to their unique needs. A study by Campaign Monitor found that emails with personalised subject lines have a 26% higher open rate compared to emails with generic subject lines. This is a very easy addition to your email newsletters that can make a great difference to the number of active readers you have.
Another effective example of content personalisation includes targeting a campaign towards a particular demographic of subscribers, such as location, industry and customer status, e.g. whether they are a current customer or a prospective customer. This means they will receive the information most relevant to them and will be more inclined to choose your business over others.
When is the best time to send a newsletter?
It may seem a very minor detail, but the day you send your newsletter out can also have an effect on your open and click-through rate. Most studies agree that between 9am and 12pm are the best times to send emails, and weekends and Fridays are best avoided. Mondays are not optimal as we tend to be busy planning our weeks and catching up on any work backlog left over from the previous week or weekend, therefore, Tuesdays through to Thursdays are generally considered the prime time for email-opens.
How to Create a Newsletter That’s Engaging
The first thing your recipients will read is your subject line; it’s only a short piece of text, so make it count! There are a few different approaches to creating a subject line that will hook your reader, and a great starting point is with a question. This could be a rhetorical question, such as; ‘Have you heard the news?’ or a question relating directly to your newsletter’s content, like; ‘How do you write a great newsletter?’.
Optimise Call to Actions
A call-to-action (CTA) aims to invite your reader to react or take action and is often used to link to tools or features, for example a button saying ‘find out more’ that links to an article or blog post related to the content of the newsletter. CTAs are important signposts to tell the reader what to do next and guide them to where you want them to be. You can use multiple CTAs throughout your newsletter, however, be careful not to overload your piece as this can be confusing.
Optimising your newsletter’s call-to-action (CTA) is the key to capturing your audience’s attention and driving conversions. A compelling CTA is more than just a button; it’s a carefully crafted invitation that entices your readers to take a desired action. Ensure your CTA is concise, action-oriented, and placed strategically within your email content. Experiment with various designs and colours that make your CTA stand out, whilst maintaining consistency with your brand’s style.
Don’t forget to test different CTAs to uncover what resonates best with your audience, and always track performance to fine-tune your email marketing strategy.
It may sound obvious, but an attractive looking newsletter is more likely to be read. By having a complimentary colour scheme, engaging images or graphics, and avoiding large blocks of text, you can optimise your content readability and make it more appealing. If the recipient enjoys reading your newsletter, they will be more likely to open future emails from you, as well as being more inclined to visit your website or make a purchase.
If you’re struggling with formatting your email or need some design or layout inspiration, you can use online applications such as MailChimp to access templates and build your newsletter.
Content Ideas for an Engaging Newsletter
So, you’ve figured out your target audience and you’re equipped with all the tips you need to make your newsletter as shiny and clickable as possible, but what kind of content are you going to include? Here’s a few of our favourite ideas for creating a newsletter that delivers:
- Competitions/incentives – Everyone loves a freebie, whether that’s the opportunity to win a prize, access to bonus content, or a limited time discount code. You don’t have leave yourself out of pocket by offering something with every newsletter, but sprinkling in one or two every now and then will keep your readers engaged.
- Promotion of new products – Newsletters are a great way to advertise new products or services, and this can be particularly effective for engagement if you tell your newsletter subscribers before anyone else.
- Industry news – One of the most popular reasons people subscribe to newsletters is to learn something new. Including a section on current industry news or trends, will add value to your newsletter in the eyes of your readers.
- Behind the scenes – Give your readers the inside scoop and the opportunity to get to know the faces behind the business. Customers are more likely to trust a company if they feel they know and can relate to the people behind it. (However, be mindful of data protection! Be sure to seek consent from any employees that you feature and stick to first names only.).
- Seasonal segments – Whether it’s Christmas, New Years, or Easter, seasonal celebrations offer a great opportunity to reach new audiences at times of the year when people are more inclined to spend money.
- Surveys or polls – Get your customers involved by giving them the opportunity to vote in polls or complete surveys about their experience with you. Be sure to follow up in future newsletters with responses and demonstrations of how you have taken their suggestions on board.
- User generated content (UGC) – This is another great way to get your customers involved! It could be something as simple as a hash-tagged post on social media, or a detailed testimony. You could even encourage participation by telling your customers they could be featured in your next newsletter and offering a discount code or prize to anyone you choose to feature.
- FAQs – This can be especially useful if your newsletter is aimed at prospects- by answering any questions they may have about your business or your products/services, they are far more likely to become customers.
- Customer reviews – There’s nothing more persuasive than hearing positive feedback from other customers. Including real reviews in your newsletter will help demonstrate to your prospective customers that they too can have a great experience with your business.
With thorough planning, you can make an engaging and effective email newsletter to boost your brand awareness, promote customer loyalty, and drive your sales up. Make sure you get your team on board to brainstorm ideas and set out a plan of action.
For more marketing tips, check out our blog and keep an eye out for the next issue in our Marketing Made Easy series.
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