An email newsletter is easily one of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing tool a small business can have. An email newsletter will help small businesses drive traffic to their website, connect with customers, and build more awareness for their brand and company but unlike traditional marketing channels, you can do it without spending thousands of dollars.
However, before your business gets to enjoy those things, you first need to have an effective newsletter. For all its benefits and advantages, a low quality newsletter will be a waste of time, money, and opportunity. So in order to avoid the unenviable position of having a newsletter that nobody reads, you need to follow these 6 email newsletter best practices for small businesses:
First, Craft an Effective Subject Line
If your subject line isn’t effective, it’s pretty much the end of the line. Your email newsletter will never be read if it fails to catch the attention of the user. There is a reason why copywriters are taught how to put all of their creativity when writing headlines – because that’s the first thing that a reader will see, and it’s going to be the deciding factor on whether the article will be read or ignored. The same thing applies to email newsletters.
Now, there’s no single guideline on what kind of subject line will be effective. It will vary depending on your target demographic and your niche, but try to study it a little bit and find out the right kind of words that will get the attention of your readers. One rule of thumb is that you have to avoid being flagged as spam, so avoid subject lines containing words that are associated with spam and make sure the subject line is related to the contents.
Share Informative or Interesting Content
From time to time, share some interesting or informative content with your readers. Don’t take Glengarry Glen Ross’ “Always Be Selling” literally. Entertaining your readers with interesting content – even if it doesn’t have a single sales pitch – is still part of the selling process, much in the same way all the small talk you share with your favorite barber or stylist is part of their service.
Ideally, the informative or interesting content you share should still be relevant to your product, just to maintain some sort of consistency. The thing you have to remember is that if your newsletter contains nothing but sales pitches, it’s going to get filed away as spam.
Pictures can tell a story and inspire emotional responses much more efficiently than a wall of text. Couple this with the fact that a pure text newsletter is boring and looks tedious to read means that you need to spice up your newsletters with visual elements. Think of a magazine versus a textbook, which one are you more likely to pick up if you’re waiting for your doctor’s appointment?
Make the Content Easy to Read
People reading their emails don’t have much time. They usually just take a glance at messages and decide then and there whether to read further or not. If your paragraphs are bulky and look like they require a lot of time to process, it’s probably not going to get read.
So make sure to break down text in bite-sized paragraphs, add headings and call attention to specific keywords by using boldface. If you’re using HTML, make sure your text isn’t too small, and add visual elements in order to give their eyes some time to rest.
One Call to Action Per Newsletter
As mentioned above, you’re only entitled to a short amount of the reader’s time. If you try to hit them with too many things to do, they may end up doing none. You should have one single call to action per newsletter, and focus on encouraging them towards that goal.
There’s no single newsletter that works 100% of the time. And even if you did find a really good formula, it’s not going to be efficient indefinitely. There is always room for testing and experimentation – from your content to your subject line to the schedule of your sending – things should be tested for maximum effect.