eNewsletters Demystified – Part 1 of 3 – Getting Started7 min read

laptop-with-giraffe-office-583841_600x471Blue Zoo has researched the current ‘best practices’ and recommendations for enewsletters, so that you don’t have to!

We’ve created a three-part blog eNewsletters Demystified series with all the most up-to-date wisdom of the web, to help you create a newsletter that works in today’s environment and maximizes your opens, click-throughs, subscriptions and – ultimately – sales!

In this first installment, we discuss why a newsletter is important, and some of the basics of getting started.

Why Should You Have a Newsletter?

With the sheer amount of media & information vying for attention online, a newsletter is the best way to get your information through to your target audience. Yes, your newsletter could end up in a spam folder, but if you’re sending mail that your readers signed up for, it has a much stronger chance of finding its way to them!

Newsletters help you engage your audience and share valuable information, and help keep you ‘top of mind’ so that your company is the first choice when it’s time to make a purchase.

And you can own your own mailing list. Governments can seize your domain name, or if you forget to renew it, someone else will snap it up and try to sell it back to you for $1,000. But your mailing list is yours.

Even if you’re using a service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, you can download your mailing list and use it with another program.

While it might be harder to get people to fork over their e-mail addresses than it is to get them to simply like or follow something, once you do, they’re much more likely to pay attention, and your message will actually reach more people.

Plus, email is cross-platform! Email is great way to reach mobile readers without having to talk them into installing yet another pointless app.

Following are what we think are some of the most useful tips and advice to keep in mind when getting started:

Establish a Regular Schedule

All our sources strongly recommend setting a regular schedule for your newsletters. “To establish the right image, your e-newsletter should arrive on a regular basis, at least monthly,” states e-newsletters.com.

Meetcontent.com says: “a consistent frequency and send date/time for your newsletter… serves to both to build a sense of expectation among your audience and give yourself a structure within which to plan and produce a successful newsletter.”

Create Short Subject Lines

Your subject line lets people know what to expect out of your email. It’s perhaps the most important content element in your newsletter. In general, it is best to write the shortest subject lines you can.

Android truncates at 24 characters and Apple truncates at 31, so aim to keep your text to about 24.

However, keep in mind that long subject lines sometimes work great too: the long ones get cut off and may sometimes actually be more clickable because the reader wants to find out the rest. Be careful with this, though, and only use it if you have a good cliff-hanger!

You should also consider how your subject works in tandem with your “from” field, since the two often appear together.

Voice & Tone for Newsletters

MailChimp advises that you show off your personality but also strive to strike the right tone in your campaigns. They recommend using a conversational tone in your email copy, but to consider the message:

Adapt your tone based on the type of content you’re sending. Your subscribers want a human touch in their emails. Feel free to write in your own voice, and edit your draft later to make sure it represents the brand. Include humor if you like, but only where it feels natural — a forced joke is never funny.”

Font & Background Colors

Constant Contact recommends: “Pick one very dark grey or black font to use for your Greeting Text and Main Text. Make the background of your main text areas white.” They state that this will give you the best contrast and readability in the most important areas of your email.

They also advise using a unique color for link text: don’t make any regular text the same color as your link text, or else your readers will try to click on areas that aren’t links.

ALL CAPS slow a reader down, as each word becomes a rectangle and your readers have to read letter-by-letter, rather than word-by-word.

Be sure to check out our second and third installments in the eNewsletters Demystified series, where we discuss Content and Optimizing in-depth!

 

Need Assistance? Blue Zoo has experts in newsletter design and writing. Contact us today for help!

Kelly Haggard OlsonAbout Kelly

Kelly was a Creative Content Strategist at Blue Zoo Creative. Her creative background in art, music and photography, experience in corporate HR, and Master's degree in English Literature from The College of William & Mary, she was able to adjust her style of writing for each unique client.