Have You Looked at Your Newsletter Lately? 8 Tips for a Happier Newsletter

March 4, 2015

It used to be that the BtoB publisher’s newsletter was the only way to reach your audience on a more personal level. The newsletter hasn’t lost its value, by any means, but today, it is the hub of a larger suite of tools to help you build relationships with your audience and it needs to be leveraged in the context of a bigger digital-first strategy.

It’s worth taking some time to make sure your newsletter is doing what it needs to do, in order to maximize it’s potential.

1)   Easy reading: you know people don’t have that much time—in the case of the newsletter, you are lucky if you get a minute of someone’s time. So, make it easy to skim. Choose a simple layout with visible headlines, clear summaries (bulleted lists aren’t so bad!), a lot of white space and a table of contents, if you have a lot to share. Of course, always give them the option to read more, but don’t force them to.

2)   Optimize: Recent statistics only confirm trends over the last few years: mobile usage is a given for millions of people worldwide. Make sure your newsletter is optimized for a mobile readership.

3)   Don’t get too fancy: eNewsletters must comply with a range of email and mobile preferences. You must make sure that your newsletter can translate. Avoid large and complex media files, and

4)   Give them options: It doesn’t hurt to provide a link that allows readers to view the letter online, in case it isn’t doing what it should on their screen.

5)   Craft your subject line:  “Well, duh!”

  • We are not implying that don’t know how to do that, but that it’s good to be aware of “spammy” words that might hurt your deliverability.
  • It’s also always important remind yourself that you must treat the subject line like a headline. What will make them stop what they are doing and read? Of course that means that you have to deliver on your promise. Don’t go yelling about a horse that can type 90 words per minute if you don’t have proof and it’s not relevant to your audience. 
  • And, don’t forget to experiment with length. Some studies say the shorter the better—like 10 characters or less—but that isn’t a hard and fast rule, so see what works for your audience.

6)   Be social: Before, you sent your eNewsletter and hoped it would drive people to your site. You still want that, of course, but there are so many more ways to engage people around your newsletter now. Don’t forget to give them an option to share on their favorite social platform and also encourage them to find your social profiles and follow them. Maybe the eNewsletter isn’t quite their dish, but social interaction could be.

7)   Be visible: Make sure it’s easy for readers to know and recognize where the eNewsletter is coming from. It’s that trust piece that makes them want to engage.

8)   Manage your list!: So, you have this great subscriber list. Have you assessed it lately? Make sure you look at open rates and shed anyone on the list who is not engaging with your newsletter. Also, think about what your active readers are doing and find ways to engage them more deeply. Start by asking them what they want!