An estimated 3.9 billion emails are sent per day – roughly 125 million are business emails – and 81% of B2B marketers list email newsletters among the top 3 types of content they use. Why? Because newsletters are a cost-effective email marketing tool to build brand value, drive more website traffic, create personalized connections with your target audience, and boost sales. And, despite being a crowded medium to reach your audience, the most effective email marketing has a whopping 4200% ROI. That’s $42 for every $1 spent!
So how does your brand stand out in the inbox enough to create positive engagement, when the average work email address gets 121 emails per day? We have a proven framework to help you execute a newsletter that can drive measurable, repeatable results.
Avoid Being Everything to Everybody. Own Your Niche.
The key to boosting open and click rates is having the right content for the right audience. Don’t worry about reaching everyone; aim for an audience most likely to meaningfully engage. This may result in some list attrition as you hone your focus, but don’t sweat it in the short term, instead focus on the long game.
Owning your niche is also about pairing topics in your area of expertise with those that are central to the questions your readers have, the problems they’re trying to solve, and other timely and newsworthy storylines relevant to their role, organization or industry.
This is also where segmentation and personalization come into play. Mailchimp’s data indicates segmented emails get 14.37% more opens and 64.78% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns. Segmentation can and should be refined over time, and you can have as many (or as few) lists as your business can sustainably manage.
Avoid over-segmenting, which makes it difficult to manage personalization or measure results and it may be unrealistic to maintain. The key to achieving impactful results is having defined audience personas segmented into a few key lists that provide useful insights on that specific group.
Worry Less About When. Focus More on Why and What.
Too often, sales and marketing teams fret about the best time or day to send an email. Industry best practices are all over the map on this topic. Morning vs. mid-day? Middle of the week, vs. end of week? Don’t overthink this element, as it’s a moving target. Instead, focus on running a few A/B tests to see what resonates with your audience. Once you spot a good pattern, stick to that strategy — or pivot as needed.
We’ve personally tested various times and days with several clients, but we have consistently found open rates remain similar. What’s mattered more has always been quality of content and subjects that align with the audience’s specific interests.
For example, one of our clients is a membership organization. We have found that members consistently open the content when we remain hyper-focused on the issues directly impacting key changes in their industry that might influence their product and services roadmap.
Another example is a financial services client that focuses its newsletter on its own customers. This personalized approach focuses solely on client updates or news mentions. Both of these examples focus on what their members and clients care about most — supporting their growth.
The key to successful newsletters is also consistency. Humans are creatures of habit and you’re more likely to capture the attention of someone who is expecting to hear from you on a consistent basis. For many organizations, picking one specific week each month works well.
Substantial content that’s timely and relevant is what helps build trust with your audience — increasing the chance they’ll open and engage with (or forward on) your newsletter.
How you lay out the content also matters. Like the name of our newsletter, Above the Fold suggests, work from the top down, and don’t bury the lead. Put your best, most valuable content front and center. Think about what your audience cares about most and provide a mix of 4-6 diverse content items that resonate. Once you find a template that works for your audience, keep it simple — rinse and repeat. You build trust – and readership – when people know what to expect.
Embrace Mobile. Meet Your Audience Where They Are.
It’s important you create newsletters that reach your audience where and how they’re engaging. Over the past decade, email open rates from mobile devices have grown by more than 100%. More recently, the pandemic made a hybrid work model the new normal, which means how, why, when and where people work has shifted dramatically. This has impacted how people interact with email, which — much like the rest of people’s lives — is conducted increasingly on mobile. In fact, mobile now accounts for roughly 60% of email opens, so your content formatting must follow suit. For example, image-heavy newsletters can load slowly or not format well on mobile, which is why you’re seeing a rise in more text-heavy email campaigns and newsletters.
Generating better newsletter newsletter engagement isn’t as complicated as it may feel. Understanding what your audience cares about is the easy part; you’ve already got that down. Newsletters simply give your team a tool to package up your insights, thought leadership, news and big wins into a one-stop shop to better connect with your audience through an easily digestible format that they can engage with on their time.
Need help re-launching your email marketing, or ready to start something new? Get in touch.