Are you looking for ways to increase engagement with your audience?
While there are more ways to communicate with customers than ever before, it’s clear that a great newsletter marketing strategy is your ticket to success.
In fact, 60 percent of consumers say they’ve made a purchase as a result of an email compared to only 12.5 percent of consumers who made a purchase via social media.
So how do you stand out in an inbox?
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the key components to building a newsletter marketing strategy that’ll have you confidently clicking send.
#1: Identify Your Goals
First things first: It’s important to identify your newsletter goals right off the top. What are your email marketing expectations, and what are you hoping to gain from this form of communication?
Are you hoping to grow your marketing list? Drive traffic to your blog or website? Increase social media engagement?
Having a clearer understanding of your goals will help shape the direction of your newsletter’s messaging, imagery, and design template.
For example, if your goal is to drive more clicks back to your website, you'll want to find an email template that has lots of linking opportunities and clear call-to-action buttons.
Alternatively, if your goal is to strengthen the sense of community around your brand, you might want to choose a format that suits long-form storytelling, or supports video embeds.
#2: Find the Right Email Management System
With plenty of platforms that specialize in e-commerce email marketing, it’s important to do your research to find the right fit.
Different platforms will, of course, yield different results, so it's essential to pick the right email platform for your marketing goals and technical requirements.
For example, if you’re looking for an out-of-the-box solution that requires very little technical input, Mailchimp is a popular choice. We used Mailchimp for several years at Later as the team evolved and our subscriber list grew.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a platform with more customization options, a platform like Klaviyo could be the best option. We recently made the transition to Klaviyo at Later to suit our larger subscriber list and customization requirements.
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#3: Build a Compliant Audience List
To have a successful newsletter, you’ll need to drive sign-ups from your existing channels to achieve a healthy Rolodex of engaged and active users.
But building trust can take time, and finding the right audience doesn't happen overnight.
A crucial element to building your email list is to get users’ express consent. Without it, you run the risk of jeopardizing your contact list.
Since compliance and consent laws change depending on the country the user is in, it’s best practice to have explicit consent regardless of where your business is based.
This includes checkboxes and disclaimers on all signup forms.
TIP: If possible, you should record a timestamp of when you receive consent. Most email automation platforms typically do this automatically.
#4: Use a Clear and Consistent Email Template
Consistency is key when it comes to building a successful newsletter.
Whether you use an out-of-the-box template or get one created especially for your brand, using a consistent design will help your brand achieve a layer of cohesiveness and flow.
Because how your email reads will be a clear indicator of whether your readers stick around or click unsubscribe.
Take a look at how Morning Brew keeps a steady stream of engaged readers through a cohesive balance of copy and images.
TIP: For an easy-to-follow, straightforward user experience, it’s a good idea to pick one template and stick with it.
#5: Keep the Mobile Experience in Mind
According to Campaign Monitor, 47% of people use a mobile app to read their emails.
Translation: You’ll want to double-check the user experience on mobile is smooth sailing before you click send.
That means making sure your template is mobile responsive and that images and copy are automatically optimized to suit the small screen.
Check out how clothing brand Tea You gets the word out about their end of summer sale with a compact message fit for the cellular experience:
TIP: Tools like Litmus or Email on Acid (that also provide free trials!) are great for testing out different devices and email clients.
#6: Make Your Subject Lines Count
You only get one chance to make a great first impression. And the right subject line can be the deciding factor to whether a user opens your email or not.
A strong, catchy headline will encourage readers to click through and keep their eyes on the prize (your content!).
It’s a good idea to keep subject lines short, snappy, and under 50 characters. If you're unsure where to start, consider what message you want subscribers to take from your newsletter? See how Outdoor Voices makes their message short, sweet, and abundantly clear:
The subject line immediately indicates that the brand is launching a new product, taking the guesswork out of the newsletter’s message.
TIP: Try testing different subject lines in an "A/B test." Some email management platforms allow you to easily do this in the settings, or you can manually segment your mailing lists and track the results.
#7: Identify Your Best Time to Send
Knowing when to send your newsletter to your target audience can have a positive impact on your open rates. But when should you click send?
According to Bryan Nicol, Later’s resident email marketing specialist, “It depends on your audience, but I'd recommend testing out a few times and tracking the engagement results for each send. In my experience, usually Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday work best. Anytime between 7 AM and 3 PM. Avoiding lunchtime, weekends, and holidays if you can.”
A weekly newsletter is common cadence, however, it will ultimately come down to your content and audience. Be sure to experiment and see what fits best for your brand, be it monthly, bi-monthly, or a weekly push.
#8: Create Engaging Content
Not all newsletters are created equal.
Depending on your goals – be it driving traffic, educating your audience, or creating a community – some brands see great success with concise blurbs while others can drive a ton of traffic with an effective long-read.
What matters most is that your content provides value to your reader, despite its shape or form. Knowing who you’re speaking to and what their expectations are, will help achieve strong brand awareness and loyalty amongst your readers.
Take for example Chrissy Rutherford’s bi-monthly newsletter, FWD JOY, dedicated to her journey of self-discovery, self-care, and self-investment.
In her most recent newsletter, she interviews her ex-boyfriend, discussing the honest hardships of relationships.
Striking a chord with her subscribers, this newsletter garnered her highest traffic to date.
Cementing the fact that when it comes to newsletter copy, compelling content that speaks to what your readers have an appetite for are key to driving engagement.
#9: Include Click-worthy Call-to-actions
Call-to-actions (CTAs) are the gateway to generate traffic and leads for your brand.
Whether your objective is to sell a product, promote an event, or direct traffic to a specific site, you’ll want to make your call-to-action copy as compelling as possible.
The best CTAs build curiosity, interest, and suggest value to your reader.
Take a look at how Starface gets creative with their CTAs – personalizing the copy to make the reader feel like they’re engaging directly with the brand.
Using active verbs, incentives, and visually differentiating the CTA from the rest of your copy and imagery goes a long way to make your CTA pop!
#10: Always QA Your Content
Testing your newsletter is an essential part of the process, as in most cases, you only get one chance to get it right.
Most email management platforms have the option to send test versions to an email account before you hit send, which is great for checking your links work, testing the format on mobile, and doing a final copy check.
If you’re not using a management system, be sure to have a colleague look over your newsletter before you press send.
#11: Identify and Track Key Metrics
At the end of the day, the purpose of your newsletter is to meet your marketing goals. But how do you know what’s working and what’s not?
To get a clear indication of whether you’re meeting your marketing objectives, here are a couple of key metrics to track:
Deliverability rate: The percentage of emails that are landing in a user’s inbox.
Open rate: The percentage of people opening your emails.
Click rate: The percentage of people that clicked your emails.
Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of people that unsubscribe from your marketing list.
Bounce rate: The percentage of emails that are returned back to you.
Email list size and growth: The number of subcribers you've acumulated – ideally you'll want to track this growth month over month.
TIP: When it comes to bounce rates, Bryan notes, “keep an eye on this metric. If it's too high, dial your sends back and make sure you're compliant.”
If you don’t already have a newsletter in your overall marketing strategy it’s time to get in on the action.
Sharing content with your audience through email marketing is a great way to keep users engaged, informed, and connected with your brand or business.
Use the above best practices to communicate directly with your audience and deliver exceptional content straight to their inbox!
Ready to level up your newsletter strategy? Catch our live panel all about nailing your next send led by Alex Leiberman, Co-Founder of Marketing Brew at LaterCon!