Social media may be all the buzz among marketers right now, but emails remain a viable marketing medium.
According to Statista, over 50% of consumers prefer email as the medium through which brands can contact them.
However, with the sheer volume of marketing emails users receive daily, your email newsletter needs to stand out.
But then, how do you achieve your email marketing goals in a heavily competitive market? The answer is simple: you need to look at how the top-performing brands do it.
In this post, we are going to take a look at the strategies along with 7 stellar newsletter examples of brands that will help you design an email newsletter that convinces your subscribers to click through to your site.
What is an Email Newsletter?
Email newsletters are one of the most common forms of online marketing. They consist of a series of recurring emails that include informational and promotional content. Email newsletters don’t sell but provide useful, actionable insights to subscribers.
They focus primarily on getting the subscriber to perform the desired action, such as making a purchase, subscribing to a product, or clicking through to a product page.
Why does your Brand need an Email Marketing Newsletter?
You might be asking yourself: why do I even need a marketing newsletter when I have social media to reach my audience?
Well, hold on there.
About 79% of small businesses say that email marketing is very important to them.
Email marketing has an average return on investment (ROI) of $38 per dollar spent, compared to social media, which generates 28 cents per dollar. By using email marketing newsletters, you increase your reach without having to spend too much.
It’s not surprising that brands continue to pour money into email marketing even if social media is widely perceived as the more “hip” option.
Close to 50% of companies are planning to start or expand their email marketing newsletters this year.
7 Tips to Nail the Perfect Newsletter with Brand examples
1. Use an eye-catching subject line
Before you hit “send”, you need to ask yourself: why should anyone open emails from your brand? Would you be tempted to open such an email if it landed in your inbox? What is the reader’s incentive or reward for stopping what they are doing and taking time out to click on your email?
An email marketing newsletter with a catchy and relevant subject line is more likely to be opened compared to one that’s boring or unclear. In addition, personalized subject lines (or those that contain the recipient’s name) have a higher chance of being read.
Take inspiration from: Converse
The email above from Converse starts with the subscriber’s name, makes an enticing offer, then puts a time limit on the offer so the reader would take immediate action. It also uses simple words that are easy to remember and search for.
When you create an email subject line, you don’t need to impress anyone with your vocabulary or make any promises you don’t intend to keep. Just keep it simple, personalized, catchy, and time-bound to get the best results.
2. Make it simple to skim over your material
People don’t have a lot of time on their hands. When they do open your email newsletter, they probably won’t read it all the way through. If they see that the email content doesn’t match the subject line or feel that you’re not making your point right away, they will probably close it and never read it again.
You need to structure your newsletter to catch the eye of your reader. Structuring your newsletter involves breaking content up into easily digestible parts that have a logical progression.
Take inspiration from: MBA.com
MBA.com above uses a simple but engaging layout that directs the reader’s eye to specific areas of the newsletter. For example, it uses headers such as “Practice Questions” so the reader will know what they can expect for each section. That way, subscribers who are looking for practice questions can find what they’re looking for.
One of the keys to a successful marketing email is respecting your reader enough to make it easier for them to find what they need.
Likewise, make the call-to-action easily identifiable. That way, if your subscribers have just enough time to skim through your content, they can still click through to your product or landing page. We’ll discuss the elements of a good CTA later in this article.
3. Include photos that are both relevant and clear
Visually an email marketing newsletter should aim to break up the monotony of the text. You can do this by adding compelling, clear, and relevant photos throughout the email.
Quality photos can bring to life the products and services you’re offering your customer. This way, they can see for themselves what it is you are selling. Remember, Interactive content helps your business stand out.
Not many of us are prepared to click on a link without seeing what it contains first. Adding photos can capture your subscriber’s attention while adding a short caption can make the intent of the image clearer. Combining the two elements will give the reader a good idea of your intentions.
Photos also allow you to add a link to the product or service located on your website. By adding a photo, you encourage your readers to drive traffic to your site.
Take inspiration from: BBC
In the newsletter example above, the BBC featured stories on their website that they thought the recipient would want to read. The combination of images and text arouses interest in the reader and promises a series of good reads.
For instance, the iconic photo of writer Sylvia Plath is easily recognizable to her fans, while the naked athlete statue makes readers pause for a bit and think of the possible effects of a return to clothing-optional Olympics.
Compelling photos need to complement your text and add something of value for the reader. Otherwise, they’ll just take up space in your email.
4. Include CTAs that are clear and simple
A call-to-action is a vital part of an email marketing newsletter. For it to be useful, it needs to be highly visible to the customer.
There are several ways that you can include a clear and simple CTA in your marketing emails. The most popular method is to add photos that the customer can click. These will usually be specific products or services that lead the customer straight to a product page, which takes them one step closer to making a purchase.
Some businesses like to offer a discount coupon as their call-to-action. It is then up to the customer to click through to your website and choose the products they want to buy using that coupon.
Regardless of the action that you’d like your subscribers to perform, your CTA should be clear, visible, and encouraging. A strong CTA also helps you create an effective overall sales funnel.
Take inspiration from: Instacart
In the example above, the CTA button uses a strong color that sets it apart from the background. It also uses button copy that urges the user to click on it right away; otherwise, they won’t be able to use the coupon again.
Using the reader’s fear of missing out (FOMO) is a time-tested technique for generating click-throughs, and Instacart used it very well in this newsletter.
5. Include valuable information or advice
Your email marketing newsletter stands a chance of being read if it contains something of value to the reader! You need to ensure the information or advice contained in this newsletter is worthy of being read.
Email newsletters are undeniably valuable marketing strategies. But ultimately, they work because they feature relevant content that is useful to the audience.
Too many of us receive an onslaught of emails desperately trying to sell us something every day. However, this leads to email fatigue – a state where subscribers stop opening emails altogether. To cut through all the noise, your newsletter should acknowledge common user needs and give advice that deals with those concerns.
You may also keep your reader updated with what is taking place in your business each month. Discuss what products and services are the key focus right now. You could even include a regular topic of the week/month.
Take inspiration from: edX
The newsletter from elearning platform edX is a good example of a newsletter that addresses customer needs and features recurring topics. For example, when I signed up for a short cybersecurity course, edX sent the newsletter above that told me about career prospects for cybersecurity professionals. It also features programs from different schools that might be of interest to me.
By addressing my key concerns and making useful suggestions, edX has turned me into a fan of the way they do newsletters. In fact, I’m already thinking of signing up for another program.
6. Limit the number of emails sent
The key to getting a good reception and action from your email marketing newsletter is to get the balance right. This means no spamming your customer or overloading them with non-stop emails.
One way some businesses solve this problem is by sending out regular emails at spaced-out intervals. This can mean anything between twice a week to weekly. But the idea remains to keep in contact yet not overstep the mark.
Too many emails sent in succession may result in the customer adding your email address to their spam list.
Take inspiration from: Le Creuset
To ensure your customers get the correct number of emails, you could ask them about their preferences. Le Creuset, shown above, allows new subscribers to specify how often they’d like to receive marketing emails. Now isn’t that great?
7. Make your email one of a kind
The best email marketing newsletter will be unique to your business and set you apart from your competition. A customer should instantly recognize that the email in their inbox has come from your company.
The way you use colors, fonts, and graphics will help readers identify your emails. If your emails use the same colors, fonts, and tone of voice as your website, your subscribers will easily recognize emails coming from you.
Take inspiration from: Virgin Media
Virgin Media’s email newsletter above uses its primary corporate color, which is red. They then use the color to accentuate their call-to-action in their newsletters. By establishing a strong visual identity, Virgin Media makes it possible for subscribers to recognize their email newsletters right away.
An email newsletter is a highly effective channel for promoting products and content on your website and engaging with your subscribers and followers. However, it will only be effective if you write, design, and time it properly.
If you can create a newsletter that ticks all the boxes above, your readers will start looking forward to receiving emails from you. By following best practices in email newsletter marketing, you will gradually see an increase in website traffic and revenue.
By combining email marketing and social media you can reap the maximum benefits for your brand. For social media marketing efforts such as scheduling, automating and curating posts, use SocialPilot to make SMM a breeze for you! Go for its free trial today to see how it makes a difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
You need to avoid certain words that frequently land emails in the spam folder. Here are some of them:
Limited time offer
Even if your email marketing newsletter has excellent content, many spam filters recognize the words above right away. As a result, your subscribers are less likely to read your marketing emails.
Most email marketers focus on three key metrics: open rate, click-through rate, and unsubscribe rate. The open rate measures the effectiveness of your subject lines, the click-through rate indicates how well your content and CTA were put together, and the unsubscribe rate tells you if subscribers find any value in your newsletter.
This is not something we would recommend! A lot of email addresses in these lists are either inactive, nonexistent, or nonresponsive. You’ll only be wasting your email marketing budget on these email addresses. In addition, these addresses will increase your email’s bounce rate.
Higher bounce rates will lead to more email providers marking emails coming from your domain as spam, which is something you’d like to avoid.
You may ask your current subscribers to forward your emails to their contacts, offer a free piece of premium content or a free product trial in exchange for the customer’s email address, or run a contest that requires an email address to join.
Email marketing costs have two major components: creating the email itself and sending it to your subscribers. An email template could set you back around $500 to $1000, depending on the skill and experience of your designer. The content can cost up to $200 and will also depend on the amount of graphics and the quality of the copy.
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