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7 Tips to Writing Emails and Newsletters that Get Read

How often do you hit ‘delete’ on an email newsletter that pops into your already crowded inbox?  We are busy bees and can’t read everything that comes in! I personally probably delete seven out of ten newsletters. That’s really bad news for people who spend a lot of time creating their fancy newsletters! In fact, most emails get less than twenty percent open rate, so only every fifth person opens your email broadcasts (PS: You can track this using a database management software such as mailchimp).

The good news is that you can educate your readers to open your emails! A few months ago I got approached by a fabulous winery who had a decent audience to send their monthly newsletters to. The only problem was that their email open rate was very small. They put so much effort into creating a fancy newsletter, sent it out to thousands of people, but only a few would open and read it. I shared a few simple strategies to help them increase their open rate and after only four months, open rates have increased twelve percent. This can make a huge difference to your bottom line!

Let me share some of these tips with you now. The goal is to have your emails and newsletters read and increase response rates:
1 It’s all about the subject line:  Your email subject line (the ‘headline’ of your email) has a huge influence on your open rate. In fact, it is your subject line that entices someone to either hit open or delete on your email. The more personal and intriguing, the more people will open your email (the more ‘salesy’, the smaller the open rate). Think of your subject line like a headline to your email. We’ve been testing and measuring subject lines for years as they can really make or break a campaign and have found that short lines usually work better.
If you are using a CRM (customer relationship management system), which I suggest you do, you can split test different subject lines and find out what works best for your market.
A little hot tip: Putting the recipient’s first name in the subject line can increase your open rate.
2 Quality over quantity: Make sure your newsletters are stacked with valuable information. Don’t try to sell stuff all the time or people will opt out of your database. This is where the ‘educating’ part comes into play. If your audience knows that you send them good stuff, they are more likely to open your emails and forward them on to friends. If emails are boring, salesy and a bit of a waste of time, people will stop opening them.
So provide a lot of value and you will not only create a great reputation and be seen as the expert in your industry but also increase your leads.
3 Short and Sweet: We live in a very busy and information rich world and most people do not have (or take!) the time to read long newsletters, especially if it’s filled with sales pitches. Many readers ‘file’ long newsletters in the ‘check later’ box never to be seen again!
Keep your emails short, sweet and full of value and you will increase results.
4 It’s all about THEM: I know, we all love seeing our business branding everywhere, but please do not overload your newsletter with massive branding at the top or it will look like a sales letter, turning people off.
You do want your branding in there, but it does not have to take up the top half of your email. People care about what’s in it for them, so don’t waste the most important space with your branding, entice the reader with interesting copy.
5 Make it personal: This one goes hand it hand with the previous point. Make your email newsletters more personal. Speak to your recipients as if speaking to one person. So instead of saying ‘Hi everyone, how is everyone’ say ‘Hi <first name>, I trust you are well…’ (email systems can personalise your emails without you having to type hundreds or thousands of names!).
Don’t be shy to add your personality and share a little personal story, people nowadays want to know who is behind the business. They will connect more, trust more and buy more.
6 PS: A PS: at the bottom of your message actually does get read! So make sure you use a PS or two for important announcements.
7 Call to action: Like with every marketing piece, your email must have a call to action. What do you want your readers to do? Do you want them to click on a link, go to your website, forward this message, give you a call? Be specific and ask them to do exactly what you want them to do, otherwise they won’t do anything!
PS: I know you love video tips, so here is a short video tip for you to ‘watch’ the above tips explained in more detail. Enjoy!

By Franziska Iseli-Hall

Posted on April 8, 2013

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