Don't believe everything you hear, email is far from dead. In fact, it's one of the few forms of online communication we can say, with relative certainty, will be around a decade from now. While social media platforms are extremely powerful tools, one only needs to look as far back as Vine or Myspace to see how unpredictable they can be.
Here's the thing though, while many entrepreneurs are aware of the importance of email marketing, most email newsletters just plain suck. They're boring, repetitive, over-promotional or all three. Here's how you can be different and create an email newsletter your audience will actually read.
1. Embed videos in your newsletter.
Videos in your newsletter will provide your subscribers with fresh content relative to the standard text-only format they're used to seeing. If you use an email marketing platform like MailChimp or Constant Contact, you'll be able to embed YouTube or Vimeo videos directly into the body of your email.
2. Don't overwhelm your audience with too much content.
Scarcity creates value. Unless your email newsletter is "Daily Health Tips" or "Daily Digital Marketing Updates", sending a newsletter out every single day could cause your audience to become bored or numb to your content, which will cause open rates to decline. Instead, think critically about what your particular audience would like to see, then decide on a reasonable frequency based on that.
3. Create a style guide.
Creating a style guide is one of the easiest and fastest ways to establish yourself as a reputable, easily identifiable brand. To do this, simply decide which font (or fonts) along with the color palette you will using in every newsletter. Then plug this information into a template on MailChimp or whichever email marketing platform you use.
Seth Godin frequently points out that humans are pattern-recognizing machines, and when it comes to branding, we're no different. Consistency will subconsciously speak to your customers and potential customers by making your company more memorable.
4. Photos, photos, photos.
How many newsletters are you subscribed to that only use text? For me, it's a lot of them. Sure, there are plenty of great, text-only newsletters out there, but even the best newsletters need to constantly be innovating. One of the simplest ways to "spice things up" is by adding high-quality images to all your newsletters.
To find high quality stock photos, search on Pexels.com or Unsplash.com. These sites also allow you to use an unlimited amount of photos royalty-free and watermark-free.
5. Pick a theme.
Tim Ferriss has one of the largest email newsletters on the planet: Five Bullet Friday, where he provides subscribers with five quick facts or things he found interesting during that particular week. In a world of inconsistent newsletters, a newsletter like Five Bullet Friday provides subscribers with succinct, consistent value week after week. What's a theme you could integrate into your newsletter?
6. Add value before you ask for favors.
If you only reach out to your email list when you want their money is one of the biggest rookie mistakes in the world of email marketing. Before you ask your audience for a favor, add value to their lives. Give them an immense amount of high quality information. According to Hubspot, a healthy email newsletter should be 90 percent educational and 10 percent promotional.
What is your current ratio for your newsletter? Are you asking too much from your audience before adding enough value to earn their trust?
7. Include the sender's name in the email.
In a case study with the Boston Red Sox, Hubspot found that open rates increased from two to seven percent when the baseball team included the first name of the newsletter recipient. Most email marketing platforms allow their users to add a recipient's name pretty easily. Give it a try in your next newsletter.
Email marketing is powerful. More importantly, it isn't going anywhere. Despite this, the quality of newsletters is something certainly lacking across the business landscape. To separate yourself from your competitors, begin utilizing the tips discussed in this article to take your email newsletter from boring to memorable. Best of luck.