Crafting a Newsletter That Doesn't Suck

calendar Oct 07, 2016 user Kate McDonnell time Read time 4 min

Our top five tips on how to write emails that people will actually read.

Newsletters are a great way to build and maintain relationships with clients. They help establish a connection and keep you front of mind. While the benefits of a regular newsletter are clear, a poorly performing newsletter is one you may as well have scrapped. We all have that special place in our junk mail folder for newsletters we’re too lazy to unsubscribe to (I’m looking at you online craft retailer). If no one is opening your e-newsletter or biting at those tantalizing offers, it may be working against you. If you have the bounce rate blues, we can help. Writing an effective newsletter is an art, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t quite found the balance between quality content, sleek layout and snappy headlines. We’ve put together a few pointers to make your next newsletter your most clickable one yet.

Newsletter Tip, No. 1: Know Your Goal

Don’t write a newsletter just for the fun of it. Before you sit down and get started, outline the message and desired result of your newsletter. Consider who you are writing to and why they would be interested in the information you have to share. Knowing your goal, whether it's generating leads or boost sales, lets you assess who should be on your send list and how to approach writing your copy. If possible, try to stick to a theme or break up your copy into organized sections.

Newsletter Tip, No. 2: Try your best not to write long and obnoxious titles and subject lines that no one wants to read.

See what I did there?

No one wants to read a poorly-worded, long-winded subject line—let alone click on it. The trick to a clickable headline is to bait your reader with an offer. Your offer should hint at what’s inside and leave the reader wanting more. This piece of advice goes for email subject lines as well as in-text headlines. Avoid repeating yourself with recurring headlines such as “October Offers and Newsletter”. Your subject line should tell the reader why they shouldn’t let that email sit there for another second.


Newsletter Tip, No. 3: Less is More

Don’t crowd your beautiful newsletter with lots of text. Online marketing tools such as email are made to establish a connection and lead your reader to your other online resources. You don’t need to give it all upfront; simply outline your latest deal or relevant news event with a brief-but-clear Call to Action (CTA) and link them to a relevant page on your site. If such a page does not exist, I recommend fixing that or at the very least make your newsletter copy brief and to the point. The tone and message of your newsletter offer should match with the reader's final online destination and reward their click with more information. Even on-site, keep your message front and centre. No one is going to scroll through dense text to collect on your offer.

Newsletter Tip, No. 4: Make it Look Clean

We are visual creatures. If your e-newsletter looks sloppy like something I did in my seventh grade HTML coding class, no one is going to take you seriously. White space and crisp images are your best friends when it comes to web copy. We suggest only one large image for your main offer or upcoming event and small graphics to accompany any other headings. There are many FREE online tools available to help you create memorable, visually-pleasing emails. Companies, such as MailChimp, have dedicated their business to well-designed email templates. Use them.

Oh, and please use a legible and properly sized font. No Comic Sans, okay?

Newsletter Tip, No. 5: Be Yourself

This is a great opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality. Don’t be scared to ease up on that corporate speak a little bit. Your online communications don’t always have to be formal and should tastefully reflect the message and attitude of the people behind the logo. While this certainly is a place to share promotions and offers you can also use your newsletter to share a personal and relevant piece of news or an upcoming event for the company.

If you aren’t used to writing newsletters or other forms of mass communication, getting a handle on it can be tricky. Take a minute to go through your personal email and take a critical look at some of the companies you subscribe to. Do you click on those emails? Why or why not? Use these insights as you move forward with your own email marketing campaign. If you find you're consistently getting stuck on your strategy and need a helping hand, digital marketing experts like us are here to help. It takes time to test and hone the right message for your audience but by following the tips above, you’ll be one step closer to some high-flying click and open rates. And what could be better than that?

Kate McDonnell is a fervently resourceful content writer at FlexDealer. Known for her quick-wit and affinity for two-wheeled travels, Kate whiles away the week in her Toronto home office with a cat called Wanda.