Guest bio: Sarah Eggers is a web designer and a marketer who helps bloggers make their small biz dreams come true. When she is not with clients, she loves teaching, and her most recent course is the Web Design Crash Course for Bloggers.
Outside of work, her passions bring her to the Social Media Club community, where she has served on the SMC Global Board of Directors and in her local chapter, SMCKC. She loves Twitter the most of all social platforms, and can be found at @hidama. And she blogs about web design tips, marketing advice, and running a small business at SarahEggers.com.
In the amount of time it took for you to read this sentence, you would need to have convinced your email subscriber to open your newsletter, read it, and click on your link.
You’ve got 2 seconds for your subject line to convince someone to open up your email.
Then you’ve got 4 seconds to convince someone to quickly scan your email instead of trashing it
And if you made it that far, then you have another 4 seconds to convince someone to actually read most of your email or click on your call to action button.
All that pressure got you down? Don’t worry, we’re going to go over everything you need to write, how it should look, and how to measure your success.
There are two main goals when it comes to newsletters:
Get your subscribers to open the email (Open rate)
Get your subscribers to follow the call to action (Click-Through Rate)
And to succeed at both goals, you always have to make it worth their time. You can’t buy more time, make more time, or discover a treasure-trove of time. We all have the same limited time supply, and we guard it jealously. So your email has to continually convince us that it’s worth our valuable, limited supply of time.
The first barrier is the 2 seconds you’ve got to prove your email is worth their time. That’s your subject line. Your subject line will have to convince them that what you’ve got inside is worth their time. The second barrier is after they open your email. They are going to scan your email, and in that scan you’ll have 4 seconds to convince them to keep reading and follow your call to action.
So how do you show them it’s worth their time to open the email? It’s easy! Just:
Use These 4 Simple Tactics to Get Everyone to Read Your Emails
There are 4 reasons someone will open an email: relationship, relevancy, value, and curiosity. When writing the subject line of your email, try to at least get 2/4. For example, in your newsletter, you could aim for relevancy and value, or curiosity and relationship. My subheader above is a good example of using relevancy (you’re here to learn about newsletter marketing) and curiosity (wondering what those 4 tactics are).
People open emails because they have a relationship with the author of the email. Say your best friend from college sent you an email. You’re going to open that because of your relationship with her. And in fact, because of that relationship you’re probably going to open it immediately and read the whole email. That’s the power of relationship.
Now let’s say you got an email from a person you didn’t recognize. You might open that email, but probably not right away. And depending on the subject line you might not even open it, you might just trash it, assuming it’s spam.
Now, most people on your list will know a bit about you already. But you’re probably not their BFF. But there are some ways to help increase the relationship quota:
Make sure your “from line” is from who they expect. If it’s your business name, then it should be your business. If they know you more than your business name, then it should be from you.
Keep the from line the same for all of your newsletters. It’ll bring familiarity.
People open emails that are relevant to them. For example, a mom selling crocheted baby hats on Etsy is more likely to open the email that says “New Antimicrobial Alpaca Yarn Protects Kids From Nasty Germs” than an email that reads, “Need to Sell More? My Course Will Tell You How!!”
People also open emails because of the high value it might have. “5 Ways to Save 60% on Your Next Shopping Bill.” Someone who has a high grocery bill will open that email because the value is saving a lot of money on their grocery costs.Learn what to write about & how to measure your newsletter success from @Hidama & @BrittneyLLynn! Click To Tweet
I bet you know all about clickbait headlines. And the reason you know all about them is because they work. “Here’s What Happened When 6 Corgis Visited A College Campus” and “You Won’t Believe What This Woman Named Her Kid” are examples of clickbait headlines.
People click on those headlines, or open those emails, because they’re terribly curious. What happened when corgis went to the college? Was there a corgi cuddle? What did she name her kid? Was it something awful? I’ve got to know!
Now I’m not advocating you to use clickbait headlines. But I am saying you can learn a lot from them to instill some curiosity in your email subject lines.
Your homework assignment: If you already have a newsletter, I recommend going back to see what your previous subject lines were. Did they have at least 2 of the criteria above? If not, how would you have fixed it? If you haven’t released a newsletter yet, write 3 sample subject lines that you would use to get someone to open your email.
OK, we got you this far. But how do you show them it’s worth their time to read the email and do the call to action? It’s easy! Just:
You’re so vain… you think this newsletter is all about you, don’t you? Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not. It’s all about the person who reads it. To make sure it’s all about them, not you, remember to:
Use their name often
Make it easy for them to read in a hurry
Make it easy for them to complete the call to action while on their mobile device
Say My Name
Personalization is one of the simplest things you can do with the greatest impact. Emails with personalized subject lines and inner text have a significantly higher open rate. So start your email mentioning their name. Then mention their name again near your call to action.
Here’s how a personalized newsletter might look:
Tex text text my new blog post text text
Tex text text look at these great things text text
And Sarah, I want you to know that this product is right for you. Sign up today!
Text text ooh more shiny things text text
Thanks again, Sarah.
And Hurry it Up
Your reader doesn’t have all day. You’re lucky enough your subject line convinced them to open your email. Now that you have their attention, hurry up and get to the point. They’re in a rush and they need to be able to figure out what you’re talking about in less than 4 seconds.
Make the main point show up every other paragraph. If you have two paragraphs, it’ll show up once. If your email is super long at 10 paragraph sections, it’s going to show up 5 times. No argument about it.
Add bullet points and line breaks. No big chunks of text. This is an email, not a novella. (Unless your newsletter is actually a novella, then actually, carry on.)
Leave white space around the important stuff. Don’t bury the important stuff in the middle of a paragraph.
Don’t forget to use strategic bolding.
Because I’m on the Run
Seriously, who sits down and reads emails unless they’re at work? Most of us read our emails when we’re waiting in a line at a store, riding the elevator to the top floor, or first thing in the morning while we’re making breakfast. Make sure you write your email for the busy people in life. No long love letters (unless that’s your brand style, of course) and no complicated calls to action—if it can’t be done on their phone, then you need to re-think their call to action.
You just learned how to drastically increase the number of people who open and read your emails. But how do you track to see what works best? That’s where the previous email marketing jargon of Open Rate and Click-Through Rate comes into play.
Open Rate: The number of people who opened your email divided by the total size of the email list
Click-Through Rate: The number of people who clicked on your call to action divided by the total number of people who opened the email
To get an idea of what a healthy Open Rate or Click-Through-Rate is for you, view this chart of industry standards for email marketing. Your email provider will let you know what those rates are for all of your emails.
The Most Valuable Email Marketing Tool
Whenever you see a particularly good or bad email metric, go back into your newsletter and find out what may have caused it, and keep that bit of knowledge saved in a notes field or worksheet along with your insights, under a good or bad column. After a few newsletters go out, your document should be full of useful notes.
Subject lines with emojis seem to be opened more
If I put someone’s name next to the call to action more people click the link
If I have more than 3 sentences together, less people click through
Subject lines with the word free in it actually don’t work as well
By the end of a year, you’ll have the most valuable tool you could ever dream of. A personal cheat sheet of the best ways to write emails for your target audience. Just mix and match down the Good column and write your email.
If you’re looking to go pro with newsletters, consider running tests. Depending on the email marketing platform you’re using, they might have testing built in, usually called A/B Testing.
A/B testing is when you pick two different content pieces and send them out to a portion of your group. Whichever content piece is most successful will then be sent on to the rest of your group.
For example, let’s say you A/B test your subject line.
A: Free Printable! Download Now
B: Check out this super-cute present I made for you
A portion ( typically between 20%-50%) of your newsletter list will get either the first subject line or the second subject line. And for a few hours, the platform monitors the Open Rate of both sets of emails. Then it will declare a winner based on Open Rates, and will send the winning email subject line to the rest of your list.
Pretty cool, huh?
But not every provider does this. For example, the up-and-coming email marketing darling ConvertKit does not offer A/B testing. So what should you do?
Do the testing yourself, of course! If you have a large list, divide it up into 20/20/60. The two 20% sections will get A or B of your email. Wait 4 hours and come back to see the Open Rate or Click Rate. Pick your winner. Then send the winner to the remaining 60% of your group.
And remember, write down what you learned in your newsletter note keeping document!
Now that you have a good grasp on the marketing basics, it’s time to do the hardest thing: writing the email! Just remember when writing, to:
Now go out there and make amazing newsletters!
Increasing your social media following is great, but if tomorrow Instagram decides to start charging you to get in front of your followers what are you going to do? Facebook already doesn’t show your content to all of your followers, and you never know when the other social platforms might follow suit.
But your email list. That’s where the magic happens. You have control of your email list. People have given you permission to go directly into their coveted inbox. It’s an honor to be one of the few selected to be allowed in someone’s email inbox .
I’ve discussed on a guest blog post how to increase your email subscribers through social media, but today’s post is a little different. There are ways to integrate your email marketing and social media so they flow together seamlessly. Let’s get to it!
There should be a place on each of your social media platforms that drives traffic to sign up for your email list. It is essential to be in your bio, but you can also make specific social updates to drive traffic to your email list as well. Let’s first cover bios.
Facebook has a nice little call-to-action box where you can send people directly to your email list sign up page. There are other call-to-action buttons (shop now, contact us, book now, etc), but I like using the sign up now button the most.
Make sure to directly link to your email list sign up page, as most people actually only link it to their website!
In my Twitter bio, I explain who I help and link directly to my resource library. This is great for anyone new that stumbles upon by Twitter profile and wants to immediately sign up for my email list. I also almost always have a tweet pinned to the top of my profile (see below) that is either directing people to my email list or specific to a product launch I am promoting.
Megan Weaver, who is a local photographer in Dallas, gives a great description of who she works with, but she also features a free offering that bloggers would be interested in. This is one way to sign up for her email list and it’s great that she’s driving traffic from her Instagram bio.
Melyssa explains exactly who she helps but also drives traffic to sign up for her email list. Since it is a free library of resources, people will be more likely to sign up for it because it is enticing and useful.
Did you know that you can upload your email list to Facebook and Twitter and advertise on those platforms to those people? See, most of the time, when someone signs up for your email list, they are most likely using the same email address they use to log into their personal social media platforms.
Facebook and Twitter matches these email addresses with the list you upload, and then gives you a list of people that you can advertise.
You aren’t able to pick out individuals, so there is no privacy issue here. Just really targeted advertising, which is awesome for you brand!
Another bonus, uploading your email list and advertising to those people on social media tends to be cheaper than advertising to complete strangers. This is because this group of people if already familiar with your brand (since they had signed up for your email list) making them a warmer lead than others.Use these 4 tips from @BrittneyLLynn to integrate your #emailmarketing and #socialmedia! Click To Tweet
Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful ways to market your business. This is why people love reading reviews of products on Amazon before they purchase (or is that just me? 😊). People like hearing what other people recommend, so you need to give a reason for your subscribers to share your content with their friends. One of the easiest ways is to get them to share on social media!
You can do this multiple ways, but here is one way I’m going to start to try:
Click to Tweets
Sometimes, people need to be told what to do. I don’t mean that in a bossy way, but sometimes you just need a nudge to get someone to take action.
Using a Click to Tweet in your email essentially takes the work off of the email subscriber. They don’t have to come up with way to share your content, you’ve already pre-populated a way for them to share your content, making it easy for them to do.
Many people think you have to create unique content across all social media platforms, blog, and email newsletter and while you don’t want to copy everything verbatim, you can cross post — if you’re smart about it.
Your email list is where you want people to go right? These people are your biggest fans, allowing you into their email inbox. Thus, they should be receiving some of your best content in those email newsletters.
But you can take bits and pieces from your email newsletter topics, and share them on social media. Then, to entice followers to sign up, you can simply say, “if you want to learn more about XYZ, sign up for my email newsletter where I share ABC!”
You aren’t copying and pasting the same content you share in your email newsletter to your social media followers, you are re-purposing portions of your content to fit into whatever social media platform you may be sharing to.