Think email marketing is dead? Think again. Despite the prevalence of social media, email is still one of the most effective channels for marketing.
According to HubSpot, there are 4 billion daily email users and an astounding email marketing ROI that generates $42 for every $1 spent. Email marketing remains a key strategy, but with most email marketing efforts resulting in an average open rate of 29.55% and a clickthrough rate of 1.27%, not every email newsletter holds readers’ attention.
How can you make yours more engaging?
In this article, I gather insights from over 100 industry experts and top bloggers to find out the best tips to create an engaging newsletter your readers will love.
What’s the best strategy for getting people to sign up for your newsletter? The answer, according to Darius Foroux, is to communicate the value of your newsletter. Foroux’s newsletter, Wise and Wealthy has a total of 85,000 subscribers.
Readers want to know what’s in it for them, so tell readers exactly what they can expect to see in your newsletter on your sign up form or landing page. Darius Foroux offers subscribers an incentive for signing up. He sends them a free Growth Kit, which includes 4 eBooks, a checklist and an infographic upon subscribing.
Remember to send new subscribers a killer welcome email to strengthen the first connection you have with them. In that email, you can include information on what type of content they can expect to receive, and how often you’ll be sending them.
2. Keep it simple
One of the best ways to keep your readers engaged is to keep your newsletters simple. To do that, focus on quality over quantity. This means:
- Including only information that’s useful to your readers such as how to guides, tips or promotions
- Making sure your newsletter has an easy-to-read font size, and keep paragraphs to 3 sentences long to avoid intimidating text walls
- Avoid using large media files that are hard to load as this can cause more readers to bounce
Abbey Claire Dela Cruz, Marketing Manager at Poptin believes in keeping things simple. She says, “We make the email really simple, just like a normal email with plain text and focus on making it easy to digest. We also don’t send them irrelevant information to keep unsubscribe rates low. This has worked well with our audience and helped us grow to 160,000 subscribers today.”
3. Start with a story for a human touch
One of the best ways to connect with someone is by telling a story. Storytelling evokes a strong neurological response, producing cortisol during tense moments and releases dopamine when there’s a happy ending.
It’s a way to put a human touch on any interaction, and it can help you build relationships with your subscribers. When you start your newsletter with a story, you create an instant connection with your readers.
“Your subscribers want to read something different and humane,” says Annesha Basu, CMO at StandUpPaddleBoard. Use your newsletter to connect with your readers with stories and personal anecdotes.
This newsletter by Vanessa Lau was a personal story about how she was uninvited to be featured in Forbes. It was moving and vulnerable, included valuable lessons in both life and business, and is a great example of how you can use a personal story to connect with your readers.
4. Have a compelling subject line
To get people to open your email, you need a compelling subject line. It doesn’t even matter how good your content is—if your headline doesn’t get your subscribers to click, your efforts will go to waste.
A good headline should capture your audience’s attention and make them want to learn more.Try these tips for writing appealing subject lines:
- Use Numbers: People love lists, and they love to know what the headlines promise. Use numbers in your subject line to promise a list of tips or insights.
- Be Specific: Don’t make your readers guess what the email is about. Be specific in your subject line so that people know what to expect when they open the email.
- Use Humor: A little bit of humor can go a long way in getting people to open your email. If you can make them laugh, they will be more likely to keep reading.
The subject line “12 Life Lessons from 2021” uses numbers to evoke curiosity. The subject is also specific, which entices the reader to click into the email and find out more if they’re interested in the topic.
5. Create a curiosity loop
Content writer, Elna Cain recommends keeping subscribers reading by using a technique called a curiosity loop. This is when you have an unfinished sentence in the headline that will make people want to learn more.
The email in the screenshot stimulate the curiosity loop. Don’t you just want to click to the email to find out exactly what it’s about?
By starting an email with a headline like “The Future of the Web Is…” without completing the sentence, you make readers curious to find out the answer. Just be sure to complete the sentence in your email—no one likes clickbait.
This technique is an excellent way to keep people engaged with your newsletter, and it also introduces your main point in a way that is both interesting and informative.
Did you know that text paired with images can increase retention by up to 89%? Our brains are uniquely wired to take in and process a huge amount of visual data.
You can make your newsletter more visually appealing by:
Including images: Images are a great way to break up text and add some visual interest to your newsletter. Use images to make your newsletter come to life and make a stronger impression.
Using varied formatting: Formatting can be a great way to make your newsletter more visually appealing. By using headings with different font sizes, you can make it easy for your readers to scan through your content. Using complementary fonts and colors will also make your content more aesthetically pleasing.
Adidas’s newsletter features beautiful images of models wearing their products. This is complemented by different styles of formatting which lets you focus on key messaging like “Members Week.” The call to action button contrasts well in black to encourage you to sign up as a member.
7. Make it interactive with video
From a study done by Campaign Monitor, videos in email can boost click through rates by 65% and reduce unsubscribes by 26%!
“Adding videos is a great way to keep your readers engaged and interested in your content,” says Adam Enfroy, who currently has 65,000 subscribers. People like videos because they’re easy to consume and they can be more personal than text.
In this interactive email, Adam shares a few topics he will cover in the video, like “how to optimize your YouTube videos to get picked up in the algorithm. The caption “YouTube SEO Rank #1” sparks curiosity. Instead of explaining a long paragraph of multiple topics in the newsletter, you can click through to the video to find out more.
Add videos to your newsletter by including a link to the video. If your email newsletter client allows you to embed videos, you can do this. Otherwise, you can link the video to a screenshot of the YouTube thumbnail.
Sharing your videos in newsletters also has the added benefit of growing your YouTube channel. Just make sure that the video is relevant to your content and that the video resolution is good. If you’re new to filming videos, you can find affordable vlogging cameras with high resolution to film this.
8. Add emojis to make it fun
It’s no secret that younger generations are becoming more and more comfortable with the use of emojis. Adobe’s Emoji Trend Report reported that over 58% of emoji users are more likely to open an email from a brand that has an emoji in the subject line. They’re used in text messages, on social media sites, and even as a way to enhance emails, so why not add them to your newsletter?
“Emojis can be used to make your content more fun or interactive,” says Nazy Rafiel, Marketing Director at Jovani.
Starbucks knows how to appeal to its customers in their newsletters, they make it look fun and eye-catching by adding an emoji at the end of every headline. And they keep the emoji relevant, in their newsletter for Valentine’s day, they add an emoticon with hearts! 🥰
Adding emojis can add personality and make your content more engaging. Just make sure that you use them sparingly, and that they’re appropriate for your audience.
9. Use your audience’s input for new topics
Stuck brainstorming new topics for your newsletter? Ask your audience for their input. Check with your readers for their ideas and feedback, and use that information to create new content. Not only will this help you keep your readers engaged, but it will also help you learn more about what they’re interested in.
Find out what your audience wants by:
- Asking them directly: You can ask your readers for their ideas and feedback through surveys, polls, or asking them directly for a reply to your newsletter.
- Using social media: Social media is a great way to get feedback from your readers. You can ask them questions on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and you can use hashtags to gather information.
10. Turn the spotlight on your audience
Turn the spotlight on your audience by using user generated content. User generated content (UGC) is any form of content, such as videos, images or reviews created by people, and not brands. There are several benefits of including UGC:
- UGC is more engaging for readers because people tend to trust what other customers say.
- UGC can help you build a stronger connection with your readers. When your subscribers feel like they’re a part of the process, they’re more likely to stick around and keep reading.
- UGC provides different practical use cases for your customers that are applicable in real life.
Eight Sleep (pictured in the screenshot) uses testimonials from sports professionals to talk about their product, and how it improves their sleep and performance in the day. There’s also a 5 star rating below it, which further adds credibility.
You can harness the power of UGC by sharing:
- A review or customer story
- A photo of a customer using your product or service
- A video testimonial or vlog using your product
Make your newsletter stand out
Writing a newsletter that stands out in saturated inboxes can be a challenge, but these tips will go a long way. By sharing stories, delivering value, and making it fun and interactive, you can keep your readers interested and engaged.
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Chloe Teo is a writer and a Channel Sales Manager. With 9 years of B2B experience in tech, she helps businesses grow sales exponentially. Her passion is to help buyers make better purchase decisions by writing reviews about software and gadgets at ChloeTeo.com.
In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and eating good food.