Best 18 Tips for Effective Newsletter Writing
Don’t you get tired of receiving those telemarketing calls daily? Be it for loans, credit cards, RO service agencies, and many more. They just don’t stop calling you! Also, if you recall the past times, many salesmen used to drop by at your door, every week offering products or services. Imagine this setting in a more digitized scene, all companies or business owners are engaged in offering their products/services through digital newsletters. To excel in this field, you need to learn and master the tips for effective newsletter writing and this article will be your path to success.
What is newsletter writing and what purpose does it serve?
A newsletter is a written or electronic report that contains information on a company’s or organization’s activities and is issued to its members, customers, employees, or other subscribers. It serves the purpose of sharing relevant and useful business-related information with its stakeholders, and, prospective clients such as upcoming acquisitions and/or mergers, upcoming launches, community service, product/service launches, etc.
A blast from the past
Newsletters have been around since the early Roman times when it was used as a way of communication amongst officials and friends. And then during the Middle Ages, newsletters were used as a communication tool amongst the traders. This tool was then utilized to inform people about the availability of goods, prices, and various other pieces of news that could have had a potential effect on the trade then.
In today’s date, why are newsletters considered to be one of the hottest marketing tools?
We read and write on Twitter and Facebook these days. These sites only allow for brief text snippets, not extensive, thoughtful pieces. They’re also unsuitable for long-form content. Readers don’t go to Twitter for long reads, and it’s so fast-paced that the excellent material gets lost in the shuffle.
As a result, writers have turned their attention to newsletters. The reason is as simple as it gets – they are simple to establish and communicate directly with their target audience, who never misses a message.
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Who and where can you use newsletters?
Honestly speaking, anyone! Yes, you read it right! Anyone can use newsletters in the digital world to promote their business, your products/services, etc. People with websites, blogs, or e-commerce commonly write newsletters to promote a product, content, or article, announce an event, or engage in remarketing efforts, such as abandoned carts – not to mention the standard transactional communication (order confirmation, sending, etc.).
What is the future of newsletter writing in India?
Interestingly, India is the world leader in the number of hours spent reading online every week. When you consider the sheer amount of Millennials (400 million or more digital natives) who use mobile devices, you can get a sense of the market forces at work. Today’s newsletter readers are looking for intelligent and digestible information.
From current events to niche interests like cuisine and travel, Indian consumers are discovering their preferred newsletter. So far, we have shared the basics of what a newsletter is, its purpose is, who can write or use it, etc. The next and one of the most important sections is about, how to go about it.
To make it easier for you to understand, we have identified and compiled a list of the following tips and tricks to teach you this art:
1. The first tip for effective newsletter writing includes providing a compelling cause for people to subscribe:
For a moment, let’s take a step back. The first and foremost thing, you’ll need, is an active list of email subscribers to obtain conversions in the first place. Giving people a compelling cause to join is the greatest approach to accomplish it. It’s not enough to say, “Sign up for our newsletter.”
So, how to deal with this? It is the value that you need to pitch to people. Give them a reason to register. For example, a new luxury brand is launching a store in Delhi and they plan to acquire a customer base through their monthly newsletters before opening a store.
Another example could be from an airline operator offering priority boarding to customers who have opted in on their newsletter. So, you need to think out of the box and let your creative horses run in the wild. The more people that sign up, the higher your conversion rate will be.
2. The second tip for effective newsletter writing involves focusing on your goals:
Before you begin writing a newsletter, you must know what goals are to be achieved. In case, you are clueless, wonder how will your subscribers know what needs to be done?
Some of the common goals most people aim to achieve via newsletters are:
- Increase sales
- Increase social media presence
- Download an e-book
- Drive more organic traffic to a landing page
- Promote a new product and/or service
Chances are that you might have other goals to work on too if you are working for a company. But if you don’t know any, pick any one of the ones listed above and start writing. Just be on the lookout for one thing, don’t include all the goals in one newsletter alone.
Ensure to emphasize your goal, keep it simple and clear to understand. You need to see that your customer base knows what you want them to know.
3. The third tip for effective newsletter writing is getting people to open your email:
If you can get your subscribers to open the email, you’ve probably won half the battle already. The research article published by Ginny Mineo on Hubspot dated 04 Feb 2015, states that the median open rate for organizations with 1-10 workers is 35.3%, while the median open rate for companies with 26-200 employees is 32.3%.
The main key to increasing the click-to-open rate is to make your emails personalized and as interesting as possible. When it comes to personalization, try using your first name in the “from” address. This turns out to be the best way for people to find out who has sent them the communication. Since you are the one writing the newsletter, the email might as well come from your name.
4. The fourth tip talks about crafting an engaging subject line:
The success of your email marketing campaign depends on the subject line of that newsletter. It can either make or break it in a single blow. If you want to increase the click-to-open rates, then different and captivating subject lines must be generated each time your newsletter goes out.
Imagine a newsletter with the subject line as, “January Newsletter” or “This week’s update” – as boring as they sound, anyone would simply turn them down and leave it unread or at best simply mark it spam. One way to stop this from happening to your email/newsletter is to personalize the subject line.
Try incorporating the recipient’s name in the subject line as an option. Another option that you can try is by creating a sense of urgency or a more time-sensitive subject line. This may be implemented to tell your customer, that there is some highly important information in your email and they should read it immediately.
For example, when you are watching a news channel on the TV and suddenly the reporter stops the current news in the middle to share some “breaking news”. At that moment, our immediate attention gets diverted to the screen and we are all eyes and ears to it. Think of a similar breaking news concept for your subject line too.
5. The fifth tip talks about writing a killer opening line:
Now that you have managed to get people to open your emails, the next step is to blow them away with that remarkable opening line. This is also an important element in your newsletter. The reason for marking this element as an important one is that, your subject line may not be the first thing most subscribers see in your newsletter.
In today’s digital world, an email provider gives its users a sneak peek of the email they receive in the inbox. This email preview usually shows your opening line, which defines the visibility of your newsletter. So what should go into this opening line? Ideally, a touch of personalization goes a long way.
You may choose to address the reader with their “first name”, along with initiating a more shared experience plot. A shared experience plot could be like, “Hey Akansha, I was looking at this page the other day and thought of you…” or “Hi Kamal, I was at my optician yesterday, when I remembered you, etc.
This way you can relate to your reader better and gain their immediate attention as well. Make sure your email gets right to the point immediately after this. When people understand that their time is being valued, they find that immediate connection with your email.
6. The next tip for effective newsletter writing revolves around connecting with the reader in the body:
Now, this is the time to make a genuine connection with your reader. It’s your chance to demonstrate how your product/service can add actual value to their lives and improve their quality of life. The best practice here would be to keep it brief and straightforward, and not share too much information with your readers.
Remember, the goal is to get their attention and establish some early connection. You need to ensure that the material is broken up into short, easily readable paragraphs. Also, write in the second person and utilize you, to remain connected throughout.
Also, asking personal questions in your email would render it more personal, as if you’re engaged in a conversation.
7. The next tip for effective newsletter writing insists on writing for your intended audience:
It is safe to assume and understand that your subscribers are unlikely to be experts in your subject. This means you’ll have to explain everything in plain English, i.e. layman terms only, including any business jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms.
We all grow acclimated to our industry jargon, and we forget that others don’t always comprehend it. So be cautious and proofread your newsletters for any misunderstandings and explain them more clearly.
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8. The next tip for an effective newsletter talks about maintaining consistency:
People that sign up for your newsletter anticipate hearing from you regularly. Ascertain that your newsletter is delivered on time to your subscribers. Now, if they signed up for a weekly email, you should at the very least send it once a week.
You’re not keeping your promise if you send them an email three times a year after they signed up for a monthly newsletter. If you fall behind on your consistency, your brand’s reputation will suffer. Your subscribers will be uninterested in converting since you’ve damaged your reputation.
If they expect a monthly newsletter but instead get emails three times a week, they will be disappointed. This is inconvenient and may lead to them unsubscribing or marking your emails as spam.
9. The next tip talks about discussing relevant content:
There are times when subscribers lose interest in a newsletter and end up unsubscribing from them. For example, you are working with a company that deals in clothing lines for men. Your newsletter shouldn’t be talking about home furnishing items, women’s clothing, etc.
Anything that isn’t related to your brand, leads the subscribers to lose interest. So, it is of utmost importance for you to stick to your brand and publish content about it in the newsletter. Don’t deviate! Another way of delivering relevant content to your subscribers could be, to enable them to choose what they want to hear about and when.
You can achieve this by offering them a chance to voice their opinion through the initial sign-up newsletter. With this approach, your content cannot be termed as irrelevant by the subscribers. You will be inviting more homework for yourself, since, the frequency of your newsletters will increase and so will the content categories.
But then, all this hard work will be completely worth it, as your conversion rates may end up being on the higher side, with each campaign you run.
10. The next trick on an effective newsletter says incorporate graphics:
“A picture says a thousand words,” as the cliché goes. With that being said, why not spice up your newsletter content with some visual art. Whenever a newsletter is published, a subscriber reads only 20% of the text on any given page. For your subscribers to enjoy and read all the content of the newsletter, include visuals.
Remember, if you include infographics and pictures in your content, the chances of people remembering your newsletter remain higher than others. You can make your newsletters more appealing and interesting by adding videos. A video newsletter can give a general idea to your readers, much faster than plain text.
11. This trick requires you to optimize for mobile-friendly viewing:
Many individuals confess that any email that isn’t mobile-friendly will be deleted. Your marketing money isn’t being spent successfully if your email doesn’t consider this issue for a proper design and launch. You can deliver the appropriate message to the right device using device segmentation, capturing a bigger number of clients.
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12. This trick requires you to work on measuring your results:
Writing a newsletter is not just about sending content or updates to your readers. It is also about finding out how many readers converted into your sales leads at the end of the day. While analyzing your results, be on a lookout for the following points:
- Open rates
- Bounce rates
- Click-through rates
- Unsubscribed count
With these factors, you will be able to identify which newsletters gave you the highest conversions and you may continue using those same strategies further.
For the unsubscribed or lower conversion rate cases, delve deeper to identify what is going wrong and try to fix it up. But remember, if you are not tracking your results actively, this may not apply to you.
13. The next tip for an effective newsletter includes telling a story:
As shared above, it is safe to say that not every reader reads through your newsletter, well, all due to lack of time. So, you need to find ways to engage their interest and keep them latched on. Try weaving an engaging and thought-provoking story for your readers. Keep them hooked! Remember the goal is to make them read to the end.
Just keep a check on your story plot, don’t make it boring! Also, this doesn’t have to be a regular thing, you may throw in a story-based newsletter, every once in a while.
14. The next tip for an effective newsletter talks about creating an urgency:
Procrastination is a common trait among humans. Maybe they’re preoccupied with something else right now, or they’re just not in the mood to carry out your request. This is bad since the chances of their returning to an email are little to none after they’ve closed it. That’s why it’s critical to instill a sense of urgency in them, so they feel obliged to act quickly.
To curb this fallout on your reader’s part, add a timeline/deadline against your Call-to-action (CTA), which pushes them to take action. Some examples for this could be, “offer ends on XYZ date”, “only 10 pieces left”, etc.
15. Another trick involves predicting the audience questions and answering them in advance:
Once you have drafted your newsletter, align with a friend (ideally who doesn’t work with you) to read it with you from a neutral perspective. Notice and note down all the questions that may arise out of this neutral reading session.
A good newsletter writer must be able to predict the possible questions of your readers and answer them well in advance in your newsletter. This gives out a positive vibe to your readers and increases the chances of full content being read each time.
16. The next tip involves nailing the closing with a CTA:
Just like every other mentioned above, the closing line also happens to be one of the most crucial parts of your newsletter. This is the part that decides the future of your newsletter but from the reader’s perspective. It is the reader that at this junction will choose, whether they are going to act on your offer or not.
The main aim is to slow down and then transition into a well-devised call to action (CTA). This CTA could be aimed at reaching a specific landing page, buying a product/service, downloading an e-book, or even signing up for a course, etc. This is where your CTA has to be defined clearly.
Your audience should know what will be the ideal result when they click on that CTA. You just can’t leave them guessing till the end, it is considered to be inappropriate and may prove detrimental for your image or brand.
17. This trick involves proofreading and checking grammar:
We send out our newsletters to thousands of people in a single click, which means, even a single error can act against you in many ways. Therefore, every newsletter calls for thorough proofreading and grammar checks.
The simplest reason for performing this task beforehand is that you cannot rectify the mistake once it has been sent. Once it has left your mailbox, the damage has been done!
18. The next tip involves including social media sharing options:
As you know, everyone wants to be on multiple social media platforms these days, to tell the world, what they are doing, seeing, reading, etc. Well, your readers are not far behind in this race either. To capture this, please include multiple social media sharing options such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
The most obvious outcome to aim through this is more people wanting to sign-up for your newsletter through the sharing done by your existing readers. Another achievement with this marketing strategy will be free advertising for your company or work.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does a newsletter writer need a formal degree?
The answer is a big NO! Just have excellent writing & research skills and a basic course to learn about content writing and you are ready to gain experience.
2. Is newsletter writing considered part of digital marketing?
Yes, it is one of the most powerful communication tools and indeed a part of the digital marketing field.
3. Do I need to purchase software to create newsletters?
No. You can use the free options like Mailchimp, Canva, and, many more. Most companies use various types of software to do the work.
4. How can I earn through newsletter writing?
You can charge people who subscribe to your newsletter or even upload your work on the Substack app, which is an online platform for all kinds of writers.
Nowadays, many people have their own YouTube video channel, a Facebook page, and Instagram page, and even a Twitter handle with thousands of followers. These digital world methods do help in spreading the news and content around, but the full-blown market share for newsletters in India has still not been tapped into, just yet. Email-based newsletters will always be the in-thing for readers. There will always be some content that will be best suited to be part of a newsletter alone and this is where skilled and knowledgeable people like you will be asked to step in.
Remember the movie, Ratatouille from Disney, where the critic, Anton Ego wrote in the end, “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere”. If you consider this statement in the field of newsletter writing, then we can say that “anyone can write a newsletter, but only a few can get the best results out of it”. Incorporate these 18 tips and tricks to make your newsletter writing stand out from the crowd and get those conversions rolling in!