As you might have surmised from my last blog post, I am a newsletter evangelist. This is because I have seen its effectiveness at work countless times.
I believe it is the number one thing that will help you have a leg up amongst competing brands. When approached correctly, your newsletter allows you to communicate with your followers and potential customers on your terms consistently.
If you do not already have a schedule mapped out for sending your newsletters – get your calendar out now and pencil in 12 dates – 1X per month. Once per month is not a suggestion, but a must for an effective newsletter strategy.
Now while you're skimming your calendar for dates, keep in mind that studies show the best days to send newsletters (for the highest open rates) are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I have read a lot of reports that weekends are great days too (as people get less work related email on weekends), but by sending your newsletter out midweek, you’re already a step ahead!
Here are 5 critical things to keep in mind as you are crafting your newsletters:
1. Keep Your Subject Line to 55 Characters
Most email programs cut off the subject line after 55-60 characters, so keep your subject line short, crisp, and to the point. I suggest five to six words max.
2. Don’t Hesitate to Get Personal
Saying something personal brings you closer to your followers. As human beings, we are wired to love a good story- so tell a story! Storytelling is a great way to veer away from sounding impersonal and sales-y. Don’t be afraid to start your newsletter by sharing something fun and non-business related like where you went last for vacation, or the last great pizzeria you discovered.
Another thing you can do is share a photo of something you love like your adorable pet, your witty kids, your pals, or your beautiful garden. Shining light onto others with a shoutout or an image is also a great way to get personal with your readers, and it will leave a lasting effect.
3. You Don’t Have To Have Something "Big" Coming Up To Send A Newsletter
It’s great to have something new and exciting to talk about, but let’s be honest, there are going to be months when not much is going on. It’s okay. It’s normal. There are things you can do!
How about inviting everyone on your newsletter out for drinks one evening, or to join you at a special event? Have your followers participate in a contest or a giveaway you devise. Or you can share something fun that you did recently. Be creative! There’s lots you can do.
4. Mailing Address & Unsubscribe Link
Know that by law you need to put your mailing address and an unsubscribe link at the bottom of each of your newsletters. This is why services like MailChimp and ConstantContact are wonderful, because they build this in for you. If you are uncomfortable adding your home address, open up a P.O. Box and use that.
5. Best Days to Send Your Newsletter, and Average Open Rates
You want to be smart about when you send your newsletter so that you give yourself the best chance to be seen. The research team at Mailchimp reports that ~53% of all email is opened between Tuesday and Thursday, with the other days leveling off like a normal distribution line. If you send your email early morning on a Tuesday, you are primed to have your newsletter waiting in your recipient's inbox for these prime three days.
If you have have ever managed your own newsletter, and you have felt discouraged by the number of people opening your newsletter, the numbers are likely better than you think! The industry average for open rates of small business newsletters is ~22.1%. So if you're feeling down that the 30% open rate seems low, you're knocking it out of the park! Keep it up.
Newsletters are a fundamental tool to load into your arsenal, and will have a noticeable effect on your company's growth. Here's to your success!