How To Write A Newsletter That Doesn’t Suck

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Newsletters are enjoying a bit of a renaissance. Why? Because as social media becomes noisier, newsletters promise a curated collection of information that matters to the reader conveniently to their inbox. It’s just that simple.

For marketers, newsletters have another beneficial function; they are great at helping you build your audience. Audience is everything to a brand, and building a privileged and trusted relationship can boost your bottom line. Don’t believe us? Check the receipts. From Oprah fave theSkimm to Lena Dunham’s newsmaker Lenny, newsletters are bigger than ever.

So, how do you write a newsletter that wins fans? It’s often a matter of developing some newsletter best practices that aim for delight, not disgust. Read on for our top tips.

Keep It Clean

Let’s start by stating the obvious. Comply with all relevant anti-spam law (if you’re in the U.S., you can click here, Canucks, over here). There are terrible consequences for being in contravention of the law, and yes, you’ll definitely get fired. Moreover, the whole point of a e-newsletter is to BE WANTED. Don’t send people stuff they didn’t ask for and don’t want.

Make it easy to subscribe to your newsletter, but also make it easy to unsubscribe. Play fair and you’ll have a lot fewer problems down the road.

Be Relevant and Interesting

Ask yourself this question: why did my reader subscribe to my newsletter in the first place? What need is my newsletter fulfilling? If your newsletter only exists to sell someone something, nobody will read it.

One of my favourite newsletters is CB Kickstart, sent out by Canadian Business. It’s a snappy morning look at all the major business stories, featuring content from a variety of publishers. Readers subscribe to get a daily download of business news, and CB Kickstart delivers without fail.

Make It Special

Your newsletter should be a unique and fresh expression of your brand. Don’t just regurgitate your blog. Try to think about what special and exclusive content you can provide to your readers. They’ve given you access. Give back. It will help to build the relationship.

You could include subscriber-only content, but it also doesn’t have to be that elaborate. Include a funny or inspiring quote, provide a bonus piece of curated content or add another layer of analysis. Figure out what would sweeten the pot for your reader, and add it to your mix.

Look Good, Especially On The Go

So, first, pull up your website on your smartphone. Is it optimized for mobile? Great.

We would recommend a heavily-branded design for your newsletter. It should be recognizable instantly. Ask your designer to help you craft a customizable template that can be extended to accommodate the challenges of a variety of content situations (can you easily embed video?) and also is a pleasure to look at. Hierarchy of information is important. Help your reader know where to look.

Be Fashionably On Time

You’ve got the right content, a great design and it’s funny to boot. Now, it’s all in the timing. Experiment with time of day and week to find out exactly when your audience is ready to give you a read.

Split your list and conduct A/B tests. Compare open rates. Look at your tech solution; Mailchimp, ECHO’s provider provides a suite of powerful tools to help analyze your data. Make sure you’re getting the information you need.

Newsletter best practices aren’t complicated, but you can have big payoffs for your efforts. Play fair, be interesting and respect your audience. Remember, audience is just another word for customer.

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