Ninety-nine percent of people check their email every day. As of 2021, more than 4 billion email users and counting existed worldwide. So, while many trends in digital marketing come and go, the email newsletter still remains one of B2B’s signature pieces of digital content and a cornerstone of any marketing strategy.
Concise, informative, and purpose-driven, a newsletter can provide value for your audience and encourage them to actively engage with your brand. When done effectively, email newsletter marketing can build more meaningful relationships with leads and engage your contacts (past and present) in a simple and cost effective way. But where do you start — and how can you ensure it resonates with your readers? These building blocks will guide your creative momentum and help you launch an email newsletter with staying power.
Know Your Audience and Define Your Purpose
At the heart of every great email marketing program is a strong understanding of your core audience. Take time to clearly define and understand who your target audience is, as well as the best way to reach them. Find out what kind of digital content they consume, the platforms they use, and how your email newsletter can offer new value.
What do you want your readers to get out of your newsletter? A clearly defined purpose differentiates your content and more readily connects your email marketing message with your readers. It should inform every aspect of its content.
For example, the intent of our email newsletter at Tier One, The Spark, is to educate PR, digital, and content professionals about the latest in digital marketing and inspire future campaign strategies.
An easy way to state your purpose is to create a slogan that encompasses everything you can get out of reading your newsletter:
“The Spark is your weekly digital marketing matchbox to kindle creative content.”
On our newsletter landing page, we encourage visitors to sign up by highlighting the purpose: “Use our newsletter to stay in the know, get inspired, and spark your creativity.” — leaving no question about the newsletter’s function and encouraging our subscribers to use our digital content to optimize their own.
Make It Easy on the Eyes
Email is taking up more of your screen time than you might think, and more than half of email opens are from mobile devices, according to Hubspot. A responsive design that’s mobile-first can be just as important as the marketing content you deliver. A simple, user-friendly layout makes your newsletter approachable and digestible. One way to enhance yours is to organize your digital content into clear sections and use imagery to break up your copy. Emails that utilize graphics have a 27% higher open rate than those without — so don’t forget your visual strategy when you’re looking to create an email newsletter that pops.
You can (and should) use a mix of digital content types to engage your reader, but don’t overcrowd the screen. To keep the attention of a digital generation, keep your content brief, informative, and engaging. People only spend an average of 10 seconds reading a brand email, so make every moment count for a more impactful newsletter.
Find Your Voice
The simplest way to make a piece of marketing content captivating and fun to read is to implement a distinct persona and voice throughout. Now more than ever, voice is becoming a core element of brand identity — whether it be through social media posts or widespread campaigns. Your persona should reflect your brand and engage your audience in new ways.
Once you establish a definitive voice for your email newsletter, you can start considering the types of digital content that best suit it. For example, Marketing Brew’s email newsletter balances amusing humor with educational content. One of its evergreen segments, “Ad Antiques,” features a vintage ad and a witty one-liner toward the end of each email.
Funny enough to make you laugh out loud while providing a unique perspective across the timeline of marketing, this weekly section perfectly fits into the purpose of Marketing Brew’s newsletter. Use this and other examples of successful and effective email outreach to synthesize your unique and appealing tone.
Do Your Research (and Test)
Once your email newsletter is ready to send, you should consider testing specific elements. Some things you just don’t know until you try! (And email marketing comes with an abundance of trial and error.) Be sure to try different send frequencies, times, headlines, subject lines — really, anything that can be A/B tested — until you reach and engage your target audience. You might be surprised at the results. Changing as little as one word in your subject line could immensely affect your open rate — so see what sticks best with your subscribers.
You could test, reformat, and update your email newsletter for an eternity. But don’t forget to focus on the parts of the email marketing newsletter that work well for you and your audience. (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!)
An email newsletter should always be evolving to keep up with the changing preferences of your readers, as well as shifts within the industry. That way, as digital marketing trends change, you will remain a constant in your readers’ inboxes.
Subscribe to The Spark for more digital marketing news, tips, and trends (and some email newsletter inspiration).