An email newsletter is a fantastic way to connect with prospects and customers. In a time when social media is being touted as the top channel for engaging prospects, savvy marketers know that email still reigns supreme for one-to-one permission-based marketing. Email is more personal. People are giving you permission to email you – they’ve asked you to send them relevant information.
And newsletters are one of the best ways to accomplish this. We recently talked about driving traffic to your site, using Picreel campaigns to add subscribers to your mailing list, and then putting those leads to work by starting an email newsletter.
Now that you’re ready to begin, let’s take a look at 5 critical items to check on EVERY newsletter before hitting the “send” button.
#1 – Spelling & Grammar
While this should seem like a no-brainer, it’s amazing how many brands send out newsletters with avoidable errors. And consumers take notice. Typos, spelling mistakes, incorrect use of “your” and “you’re” are things that some people are passionate about. For many, they associate these mistakes with your suitability as a brand. How can they trust you with their business if your marketing department fails at proper spelling and grammar?
While this may sound extreme, it’s a real possibility. But the solution is simple: check, check, and double check your newsletter before it goes out. Ask multiple people to review it, including your best writers.
#2 – Links & Website Pages
In a newsletter, you want to give readers snippets of information. Especially since more emails are read on mobile than desktop, don’t expect readers to keep scrolling to read your entire newsletter.
Give them small, manageable chunks of information and link to the full article, product page, landing page, etc. to allow readers to decide what they want to read more about.
But before you hit send, check that those pages are loading correctly. And check the links in your email to make sure they’re pointing to the correct pages! Nothing is more frustrating than looking forward to reading something, and the link going to the wrong page, or worse, a 404 error.
#3 – Email Template
While we’re on the topic of mobile, it goes without saying that your email marketing campaigns, including your newsletter, should be mobile friendly. If you’re creating two campaigns, one for desktop and one for mobile, do some digging on your email marketing platform and find out if they have responsive templates that allow you to create ONE email that will view correctly across all devices.
This is more important than ever with so many people checking email on mobile. In fact, 2016 studies from Adestra found that emails that did not display properly on mobile were deleted within 3 seconds. It’s safe to assume that consumers are even more discerning today!
The best way to check that your template is viewing correctly is to send a test to a few people on your team. Ask them to open it on their desktop, on their mobile device, or on a tablet.
#4 – Email Timing
Now that we’ve covered the basics of the look and feel of your email, let’s talk strategy.
WHEN you send your newsletter is critical. Data-driven research from Campaign Monitor has found that higher open rates typically occur during normal workday hours – around 9:00am-5:00pm, with peak times being before and after lunch.
Of course, the timing of your newsletter will be determined by your email statistics – when your subscribers typically open your emails. The content may dictate this as well! If your newsletter is on the heavy or technical side, readers may not be ready for it first thing in the morning. If you’re a retail brand and you consistently use your newsletter to announce the next day’s one-day-only sale, you may find that readers open your emails in the evening to see the deal and plan their day.
You can try different times and analyze the results. Or you can do A/B split testing with the same newsletter sent at different times to see which performs better.
Whatever you do, find a time that works for your audience and stick to it. Don’t send your newsletter because it’s “ready” at 2pm. If your subscribers open your newsletters more often at 9am — wait until the next day to send.
#5 – Call To Action
Every single email newsletter you send should go out with a purpose. Don’t create a newsletter just for the sake of sharing your latest article or next week’s deals. Tell readers WHY you’re sharing that information and tell them what to do with it.
Want them to shop next week’s deals? Give them a teaser, give them the details of the sale, and maybe even include an incentive for shoppers that join the sale from the link in your email. Want them to sign up for a free trial of your service? Don’t just ask them to, tell them why they’ll benefit. For example, here at Picreel we see better engagement with our calls to action for a free trial when we include something like, “Increase your subscribers by more than 25%! Start your free trial today to see how.”
The bottom line is that your calls to action in your newsletter should encourage readers to engage with your content, with your website, and with your brand. Your newsletter is just one tool in your nurturing strategy on the road to converting subscribers into prospects and ultimately into paying customers.
Have you ever sent an email newsletter out with an embarrassing error? What did you learn from your mistake? Do you have your own checklist of items you do before you send every email? We’d love to hear your strategy – please share in the comments section below!