Email marketing newsletter best practices
How to win the respect and loyalty of your B2B audience with newsletters.
Email is still a hugely important tool in the marketer’s arsenal, and a useful way to keep your leads hot and your brand top of mind. It’s free, it’s consensual and it’s easy. Once a lead has subscribed to your newsletter, it’s a crime not to communicate with them.
Email marketing newsletter best practices can be particularly powerful in helping you to become the expert for your target companies and to establish yourself in their conversations. However, here the easy part is more questionable. Email marketing newsletters can be a lot of work, and are only going to get read, if they are good. In this article, we will look at some of the best practices in Email marketing newsletter creation. How to write, design and make best use of them.
Email marketing newsletter best practices:
- How to make your Email marketing newsletter interesting
- How to make your newsletter stand out in the inbox
- How to design a newsletter that wins hearts and minds
- How to use the content in your newsletter, multichannel
How to make your email newsletter interesting
Whereas an offer mail is always potentially interesting for people looking to buy your product, a newsletter is not. To be effective newsletters need to contain information that really gives value to the readership, tells them something that they are curious to learn about, or updates them with information they find useful. There is no point in creating a newsletter unless it has genuine value to offer.
Often newsletters make the mistake of focusing on company updates or team days out. This attempt to personalise the brand and share the company story will often fall on deaf ears. Think instead from a user perspective. Why are they subscribed to your Emails and what is going to get their attention?
Here are some examples of the types of content that really have the power to entice:
- Performance updates. If you’re providing a service, maybe there are some numbers you can share that might be of interest. For example, aggregated data that can be presented as a monthly dashboard. The example that springs to mind is one from match.com, where customers were given data about the number of profile visitors and likes they had received week on week. In other words, how their profile was trending. (A B2B equivalent might be LinkedIn sharing the number of visits to your company page).
- Events. A fairly obvious type of newsletter content, a list of relevant upcoming events is always going to be worth sharing. They don’t have to be your own, just relevant and interesting for your audience.
- Surveys and reports. Again, the content is only going to be as interesting as the insights it has to offer, but the survey remains the bulwark of newsworthy content creation. If commissioning a whole survey seems a bit resource heavy, maybe see what your BI unit has to offer. Sometimes you can find a lot of interesting data about customer behaviours that can be shared without divulging any sensitive/commercial information.
- Interviews with experts. An interview with an industry expert is a great way to generate fresh content and interest. + A big name can work wonders for your open rates if you put it in the subject line.
- Industry News. And don’t feel that all the content has to come from you. Some of the best loved newsletters are little more than round-ups of industry news with links out to the original articles. It’s hard work staying up to date and knowing where to look to do so. If you can be the go-to source for a relevant and concise update for your industry, you will win a lot of appreciation and loyalty for the brand.
How to make your newsletter stand out in the inbox
Your newsletter is different from the rest of the Emails you send out. It should be of more general interest, and hopefully is becoming a trusted source, something your readers are looking forward to receiving.
So, they should be able to know – at a glance – that it is the newsletter. This is especially important if you send out a lot of other types of Emails. Make sure that you write subject lines that clearly identify the mail as the newsletter. An obvious way is to always make the first word in your subject line ‘newsletter:’, for example.
Another piece of good practice is to send your marketing newsletters from a different Email address and name than your other mails. This is especially relevant if you personalise your Email, signing off with a named representative. In such cases, it’s great to have that name as the sender clearly displayed in inboxes.
How to design a newsletter that wins hearts and minds
Pictures: As the old saying goes ‘A picture garners a thousand clicks’. Well something like this. Email is a visual medium and a great image always generates excitement. Don’t settle for everyday stock images, put the time and money in to get an image that grabs some attention.
Responsive: Your Email will certainly stand out from the crowd if it’s not responsive these days. Always check and recheck how your Email is displaying across multiple devices. Make sure you use a mail preview tool to do this.
Short and simple: There is no need to make your Email a vast unwieldy thing, just because it’s a newsletter. Most good newsletters are just a series of teasers, with the bulk of the information to be found when the reader presses ‘read more’ and is redirected to your blog or to the original source.
Template: There are two core principles to remember with newsletter templates: consistency and renewal. Of course, visual consistency is important if you are going to develop a loyal readership. They need to know that it is you and need to get used to the visual style. However, it is good practice to update your template occasionally. Visual styles are fast changing in the digital world and graphics can quickly look out of date. Out-of-date graphics imply out-of-date products and can send your clients scurrying off to a more design-savvy competitor.
If you’re struggling to come up with a new Email template and graphics that express your brand, our graphics team can help. The virtualROI team has years of experience in creating responsive Email design that works across all Email clients on PC, mobile and tablets. Get in touch for a free quote on outsourcing your Email marketing
How to use the content in your newsletter, multichannel
Writing a regular newsletter is a good discipline for the creation of regular fresh content for all your audiences and, having made the effort, you should share interesting content you’ve created across other relevant channels. Most obviously, posting your stories on your social channels will help them gain more attention as well as potentially sparking more interest in the newsletter itself.
What’s more, the email marketing newsletter, with its demands for a regular output and interesting content, can become the centrepiece of a full content schedule, the basis for the social posts and even paid advertising campaigns.
Have we convinced you? Are you thinking about setting up a newsletter for your brand? Then get in touch and let the experts help you to create something special. virtualROI has years of experience in delivering B2B newsletters across many different verticals. Get in touch for a free quote and consultation.