I admit it: I love e-newsletters. Some of my favorites I open as soon as they come in, while others are placed into a subfolder of my inbox for me to review at a later time. Those of lesser quality or importance are simply unsubscribed.
I’m happy with my newsletter evaluation process because it’s rather easy and I’m in control from the moment I sign up. There’s no one telling me I must read a newsletter, and if I determine one is just not worth my time or attention, well, I can choose to ignore it or jettison it away from my email altogether.
You may be saying to yourself, “Oh please, I get way too many newsletters to even begin reading them let alone start writing my own!” Let me remind you that a well-written, insightful, and timely newsletter allows you to remain visible to clients, prospects, and referral sources, as well as help you earn recognition as a subject matter expert. Most newsletter services even provide reporting and analytics so you can visualize and respond to important data such as open rate and audience reach.
Whether or not you accept it, the fact is that newsletters are a time-efficient, cost-effective method of staying in front of your contacts. Here are 5 ways to ensure your newsletter is opened, read, and followed:
Share relevant content
No one willingly reads boring, irrelevant material. Your content should be interesting and appropriate for the audience you most want to reach. Select your topics judiciously, and compose each portion of the newsletter so there is a clear message or purpose. Do not be blatantly and excessively self-promotional. Instead, write educational and informative content so your expertise shines. At the end of the day, open rate and engagement numbers will show whether people find your content relevant to them.
Keep it brief
When I first started my newsletter, readers opened and read articles on their desktop. Not anymore. Today most people read newsletters on their phone or tablet. Long reads are not conducive to the small screens and continuous page scrolling required to read on these devices. Be aware of how people are reading your newsletter, because you may find that even your best lengthy articles simply do not have the success as shorter, more succinct ones.
Distribute to the right audience
No matter how interesting your articles may be, if a newsletter is distributed to the wrong audience it won’t gain any traction. People will sign up to receive and are more likely to follow your newsletter when they know the content is written for them. Tailored material always “hits home” the strongest and makes for the most successful newsletter. Know your target audience and, if necessary, send different material to different segments of your database.
Have a regular distribution schedule
My morning routine consists of perusing several relevant, insightful newsletters that arrive at my inbox overnight. I find the regular distribution fits with my routine. Your newsletter recipients will be similarly pleased with a reliable distribution schedule. If they see your newsletter come always on a certain day or time, they will get into a habit of opening and reading it. You can experiment with the specifics, but remember to review the analytics to develop the best schedule for getting your newsletter out. (As an aside, Constant Contact offers suggestions on the best day and time for distribution.)
Include videos and pictures
Media including videos and pictures stimulate audience engagement. Data shows that a newsletter will receive better click-through rates, engagement, and sharing if certain types of video and/or images are part of the content. For example, consider sharing the occasional video interview or tutorial in lieu of an article, or photographs of an event instead of a list of highlights. Videos should, of course, be short and accessible to readers on all devices. You do not need to invest in expensive videography either since high-definition video can be recorded and edited with your phone.
If you do a newsletter, you should constantly be seeking the best open rates possible. If you don’t do one you might want to start.