Long, informational newsletters that you send with your e-mail marketing services are different from promotional emails or coupons. They’re longer, you have a mission or issue to convey, and you risk your readers putting you off to read later — and never getting back to it. However, you can tactically format and present your material in a way that draws readers in rather than making your newsletter seem too long to read.
- Write newsletters as a numbered or bulleted list, and say so in the headline. One ESP found that subject headers like “22 tips for…” or “5 reasons why…” had the highest open rates out of all their emails. Readers are drawn to list-type articles because they separate information into short, accessible sections. A numbered list gives readers a sense of how much of the article is left — a good feeling when most professionals are too busy to read anything at all. Most print publications have incorporated bulleted lists to increase their readership.
- Use a table of contents so readers can preview the content, skip around, and get to the good stuff first.
- Restrain your prose to the most important points, and try not to include more than two or three topics per email. Include a call to action in every chunk of text, such as “You can donate here” or “Click here to get involved”.
- Don’t put everything in the email. Use the email to entice readers to become interested in the topic, and then use a landing page, website, or social media to take the next steps. In this tactic, the email is the pitch, and the landing page is the full sell. When you do this, you have the full power of a tabbed website to break up information on separate pages, rather than trying to find a pithy way to say everything in a single email.
- Don’t overuse images — no more than 25% of your email’s content — and always insert descriptive alt text in the img tag. Align images to the right or left, so the text wraps around them. In tests, readers were more likely to load images they had blocked if they alt text and general format of the email showed that the images were relevant to their interests and come from a valued source.
- Write knock-out copy. Hire a copywriter if necessary. Be brief and to the point, and use a call to action in every paragraph.
- Use graphs or infographics to illustrate your ideas. If your infographic is too large, show a compelling or shocking portion of it, and use a landing page to show the rest.
- Create a dialog with your customers. Link to your blog, social media, and website. Put a person in the return field so people can respond (which is always good practice for an email marketing campaign). If appropriate, include a short writers bio for each article, as well as blog links.