5 Tips for Writing Email Newsletters Your Customers Will Read

Drive up your open rates and boost conversions by making your emails irresistible.
newsletter
Put effort into a good subject line to entice customers to open and read your newsletters. (Photo: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

Having a big email list is terrific — if the recipients are opening and engaging with your newsletters.

“If used wisely, email newsletters are a great marketing tool,” said Ann Gynn, owner of G Force Communication and editorial consultant for the Content Marketing Institute. “Unlike social media platforms, the business owns the audience — it can communicate directly with them.”

“Owning your audience is critical to controlling your long-term success.”           -Ann Gynn

So, once you’ve gotten your customer’s permission to add them to your list, how do you build an email newsletter they’ll actually want to read? Gynn shared these tips.

Related: 7 Common Email Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Keep it relevant

“It may seem obvious, but I’ve received too many newsletters that prove the opposite: Publish content in the newsletter that’s relevant for your targeted audience,” said Gynn. Highlight areas where your customer’s interests and your business mission are aligned, and don’t stray too far from your brand message.

“For example, the owner of a small comfort-food restaurant publishing an article about the latest advances in breast care treatment isn’t appropriate. However, the owner of that same restaurant writing about his staff’s participation in a breast cancer fundraiser would be.”

Grab their attention early

Having a good subject line is critical. With an e-newsletter, it’s easy to fall into a rut and use the same or similar email subjects for every issue. But get creative.

Each subject line should “give your potential reader an idea of what’s inside — and why they should read it,” said Gynn. Whether you’re a bar talking about the “Coolest New Drinks on the Scene” or a hardware store sharing tips on how to save money on home improvement projects, make sure the subject line accurately describes what the subscriber will find inside.

Gynn suggested using a tool like the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to help you write clever subject lines that will draw the reader in.

Personalize the experience

email-personalize

Don’t send emails from your business account. Instead, designate a person to send them. This creates a personal experience that resonates with customers. (Photo: Pixel 4 Images/Shutterstock)

“As a small business owner, one of your differentiators is that your business can connect more personally with your customers. Take advantage of that,” said Gynn.

Segmenting your email list can make the emails more relevant and therefore personal.

“If you know who’s a customer and who’s a prospect, you can write two versions of your newsletter,” said Gynn. “The customer newsletter can offer loyalty language and offers, and make assumptions they know about your business. A prospect newsletter can focus more on awareness and introductions, assuming they know little about your business but are interested in what it offers/does.”

Sending emails from an email address with just your company’s name doesn’t reinforce a very personal experience. Instead, send your newsletters from a real person at your company and include the name of your business as well. “FROM: Jane Smith (Shop of Treasures)”, for example. That way, if the reader doesn’t recognize the name, they will still know it’s from your business, and not spam.

Make it interactive

Encourage interaction with your brand by using the newsletter as a teaser for getting customers to your website. For example, don’t drop a full article in the newsletter. “Include a paragraph or two and a link to your website so the interested reader can finish it. It drives people to your website, and it doesn’t overwhelm people reading your newsletter who aren’t interested in that article,” said Gynn.

Also, go beyond including social media icons in the email to get readers to interact with your business on social media. Draw them in with a glimpse of a recent post or an explanation of what you do on that specific platform, said Gynn, such as “Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for special offers.”

Ask for input

You can also use the newsletter as a vehicle for soliciting feedback.

“I alway like to ask readers for input — an idea for the next newsletter, a thought on an article, a nomination for an employee or customer of the month. Though you may not get a lot of responses, if any, it’s always nice to let your readers know their input is welcome at your business — that you want two-way communication.”

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