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While most companies do some form of email marketing, very few do it effectively.  Most, in fact, are of the assumption that simply writing some branded piece of content and hitting "Send" is marketing.  It isn't.  It is closer to a waste of time as fewer and fewer of these emails, blog posts, and ads get read each day unless they are done effectively.  Don't get me wrong - there is a great deal of value in email marketing and newsletters.  Let's run through seven tips to creating email newsletters that your targeted audience will actually read.

1)      Focus, Focus, Focus

First and foremost, you should decide what kind of newsletter you want to have and set expectations with your customers.  An everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sort of newsletter feels very random and likely won't be read twice.  It would be a better idea to either have company newsletters letters by division or product line if you are a large company or to stick with a different theme each month if you are a small business.  For example, January could focus on emerging trends in your industry for the new year.   Earth Day is in April, kids get out of school in June, and the weather starts to get colder in October. Find ways to relate holidays, seasonal changes, or other national observances into a focused newsletter.

2)      Uber-Creative Subject Lines

Believe it or not, this could be the most important part of your newsletter.  Ever heard of a thing called "ad blindness"? In essence, content marketing and advertising online has become so prevalent that many of us have become blind to it, only seeing the updates from our friends on Facebook and completely tuning out ads on search pages.  This is what often happens with our inboxes now as well, unless an eye-catching and creative subject line is used.  Here are some examples:

"*Don't Open This Email*"

This is a little embarrassing…

I’m pulling the plug…

My Gift to you…

Join me in congratulating…

You’re going to miss this?!

I was wrong…

can you explain THIS to me?

As you create your email subject line for your newsletter, keep in mind a few guidelines.  Under 50 characters is best as these have higher open rates.  Writing in ALL CAPS will not help you. Look at these as little newsletter grenades that should be used sparingly.  Overuse can be disastrous.  Finally, know your audience and match your tone and approach with your subject line, whether it be casual and fun or more formal.

3)      Can the Salesy Pitches

Everyone understands that you are in business to make money.  Yet, if you talk about your products and services with a convenient link to buy 100% of the time, you'll lose subscribers fast.  Newsletter content should be 90% educational and 10% promotional.  Provide subscribers with relevant and interesting material and include just a few calls-to-action (CTAs) in your newsletter that makes it both clear what you want customers to do and easy for them to do it.

4)      Simple Design and Copy

When it comes to email marketing, simplicity is key.  Unless you are running a haute couture fashion house in Manhattan, the expectation is that there won't be flashing lights or animation on your pages. Click through and open rates are much higher on newsletters with a simple design that emphasizes content over bells and whistles.  Let's not forget that anything produced today should be mobile responsive.  According to Google, mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time in 2015.  More mobile device users that ever before are using smartphones and tablets to open email and view content, and that includes reading your online newsletter.

5)      Deliver Engaging Content

Speaking of content, make it useful.  Your subscribers are giving you permission to send them information directly to their inboxes.  This is an investment for them so they should be rewarded with such things as insight into the industry, information on new trends, or a heads up about new products or services that are being introduced.  A dry, poorly written newsletter can actually do more harm than good to your business so skimping on newsletter content is a bad idea.

6)      Dare to Get Personal

Don't be afraid to engage with your readers through your newsletter.  There are several ways to do this and it makes for intriguing copy that brings customers back month after month.  One is to allow readers to get to know you on a personal level.  Include one section of each newsletter that either discusses your background, education, or family.  Another is to include a Q&A section and ask readers to participate.  Readers who have had questions answered will love to see their name in print and others will be encouraged to write in with questions.

7)      Test, Test, Test

As with anything online, testing, tracking and then more testing is crucial.  Stats such as open rates, click-throughs, and contacts should be tracked for each newsletter.  If the first email newsletter doesn't go as you had hoped, chalk it up to a valuable learning experience and move on to the next one.  Different groups have different quirks and desires, and it is your job to find the voice that appeals to your group.  Nearly all email marketing programs give you the tools to do this sort of tracking.

Email newsletters can be a cost-effective way to reach your targeted audience.  They are a great way to provide additional value to customers and to encourage further engagement. If not done properly, however, they can have the opposite effect.  Customers may be turned off by salesy pitches or simply ignore your efforts altogether.  Follow these tips to get started with effective email newsletter campaigns that your customers will actually open and be delighted to read.

Need help with your newsletter? We have affordable copy-writing services to help get you started! Contact Lulu today |

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