What not to do when crafting an e-newsletter

what not to do when crafting an e-newsletter Red PlatypusSo, you’ve finally got some subscribers for your company newsletter. Problem is, you haven’t actually created an e-newsletter before and you have no idea where to begin.

It’s important that you give a lot of consideration to what you’re going to put into your e-newsletter, as research shows a great e-newsletter can lead to sales. In 2013, 44% of email recipients bought at least one item because of a promotional email they received.

So the pressure is on to get it right, but don’t stress – we’ve all been there and creating a brilliant newsletter is easier than you think. Using a tool like MailChimp can pretty much design the template for you, so you don’t have to worry too much about design (along as you have your company logos on hand to incorporate.).

After design, your next thoughts should concern what content to put into the e-newsletter. We’ve come up with some tips to help you do this.

What not to do when crafting an e-newsletter

Give little thought to the subject line

Your subject line is going to be the first thing your subscribers see when they receive your e-newsletter and whether they decide to open it or not depends on how well it’s been crafted.

The best e-newsletter subject lines are short, engaging and give the subscriber a reason to want to read more.

Make sure the subject line relates to the email content though, as there’s no easier way to get your readers to unsubscribe then by not delivering what you’ve promised.

Some other points to remember:

– Make the subject line personal, using the word ‘you’

– Make the subject line specific. Rather than ‘I can help you today’, say ‘I can help you achieve your weight loss goals today with 5 simple steps’

– If you’re selling something, use phrases like ‘limited time offer’ to encourage subscribers to open the e-newsletter

e-newsletter example Red Platypus

An example of an e-newsletter

Waffle along without a focus

Have one main focus to your e-newsletter and get that point across easily without going off topic. Most people don’t have a lot of free time, and your subscribers aren’t an exception to this. If you get to the point they will thank you for it, perhaps by purchasing something from you.

Quality is certainly more important than quantity in an e-newsletter. Keep it short and simple and it will be more effective than a long email that will lose your subscribers’ interest after the first two paragraphs.

Give a lot of thought and consideration into what you put into an e-newsletter, spend even more time on it than you might a blog post twice its length. Once you lose a subscriber you’ll rarely win them back, so your e-newsletter needs to be spot on the first time around.

And remember not to duplicate anything that’s already on your company’s website. If your subscribers can get the information there then what’s so special about being a subscriber? Offer value to those who have chosen to receive your e-newsletter.

Decide against using images

You want your e-newsletter to be eye-catching and nothing deters the eye more than a large block of text. Use images to break up your text and emphasise your point.

Consider creating the majority of your e-newsletter as one giant image – this works particularly well for a flash sale. Be careful though and ensure you have text linking to the offer as well, as not all of your subscribers might chose to download the images in the email.

Ensure your images and logo are in line with your company’s branding so that your newsletter is easily recognisable from first glance.

Don’t go overboard with your image use though, as newsletters with too many images are more likely to get flagged as spam than those without. As a rule of thumb, you should keep your image count to under 10.

Forget a CTA

It’s vital you have at least one CTA (call to action) in your e-newsletter, otherwise what’s the point of sending the newsletter at all?

Like with the content of your newsletter, you also need to keep your call to action simple. Each CTA should include a what, why and how. For example, ‘Get a 10% discount today for online purchases to celebrate our birthday.’ This CTA is clearly described and easy to understand.

e-newsletter sale Red PlatypusMake sure the CTA is easy to spot in the body of the email, by either using imagery to support the CTA or leaving enough white space around the CTA that it stands out. Don’t hide it amongst the rest of the text.

Customise the call to action by inserting the subscriber’s name. This can be easily formatted through MailChimp and most other e-newsletter layout programmes.

Send your email without testing it first

The most important thing to remember is to send a draft e-newsletter to yourself first before you send it on to all of your subscribers. There’s nothing worse than clicking ‘send’ only to notice two minutes later that there was a spelling mistake in your subject line.

By sending a test email first you can check for errors like this and also see whether the design works on a mobile device and what it looks like in your email inbox.

Mailchimp logo Red Platypus

Test all the links in your e-newsletter before you send it to make sure they are linking to the correct page. You should also make sure that your e-newsletter is available on a web page and that there’s the option for your subscribers to ‘view in browser’. This will help subscribers who don’t accept cookies because they’ll still be able to see your content. (MailChimp will do this automatically for you.)

When you’re ready to send the e-newsletter, think about doing an A/B test with your subject lines. For example, send 50% of your subscribers one copy of your e-newsletter with a certain subject line, and the other subscribers the same newsletter but with a different subject line. Then see how many people open each newsletter and you’ll see what subject lines your audience responds to more.

What tips for sending an e-newsletter would you add?

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