**This is a guest post by Whitney Hitt from TheCommonGreat.com**
I’m not kidding when I say – I want your subscribers to re-freaking-joice when they see your name in their inbox. I don’t want them to consider, even for a second, hitting the evil delete button (how dare they?) when they see your emails…at LEAST until they’ve read the whole thing approximately 3 times.
Which is why today, I want to share with you 14 quick and easy tips on how to create a newsletter that isn’t a snoozeletter (Ha! I just made that word up! You like it?) and that makes the people on your email list oh-so-happy they subscribed.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
1. Say My Name
Before your subscribers can read your newsletter, they have to open it, right? True story: The first newsletter I sent out completely fooled my husband. How so? Because he came home and said, “I thought you were sending me a personal email, and so I opened it right away! But…it was your newsletter!” The reason he thought I was emailing him directly is because I insert a First Name tag at the beginning of all my subject lines. (An easy thing to do if you’re using MailChimp).
For Example: The subject line for my last subscriber email could have read, “Here are 3 ways I want to promote you.” However it actually read as, “Hey Andrea! Here are 3 ways I want to promote YOU!” More personal, right? People like hearing and reading their name. It’s just a fact. Because of this, your personalized subject line is going to stand out among the others stashed in their inbox.
2. Readability Rocks
You can find articles everywhere sharing tips for creating a more readable blog post. (And [insert shameless plug] I have one right here for ya.) And here’s the thing: those same readability guidelines apply to the emails you send to your subscribers. Break text up with headings, lists and bullet points. Keep those paragraphs short. Throw in some images when they make sense. Basically, put as much thought into the look and readability of your emails as you do your gorgeous blog posts.
3. Don’t Get Suckered Into Scheduling
You may want to debate me on this one and that’s okay, but hear me out. You do NOT need to feel pressured to create and adhere to a strict newsletter schedule. Don’t feel obligated to promise subscribers a weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly email. If doing so truly works for you, then that’s just fine. However, creating a rigid schedule often pressures you to push out an email that’s less than your best.
Maybe you have nothing of TRUE value to send your subscribers that day…but because of that pesky time-table, you feel forced to compose something regardless. It’s hell on you and does nothing for them. And if you do that enough times, people will eventually either quit reading what you’re sending or unsubscribe altogether. Eww.
For Example: I never know when I’m going to get an email from Regina, one of my blogging icons, but I DO know that when I see her in my inbox, it’s because she has something epic to share. Which makes me excited! So I beg of you, don’t get suckered into scheduling!
4. Be Branded
I know this one will get a “Hell yeah” from Dre, but truly: You need to adhere to your blog’s branding guidelines when constructing an email for your subscribers. From your images, to your writing voice, to your colors and typefaces; all should be completely cohesive with your already established branding. Not doing so will instantly confuse your readers and dilute your brand…neither of which is cool.
5. Open With Purpose
A good way to begin each newsletter is to quickly and compellingly tell your subscriber EXACLTY what they are going to get by reading on. Make it snappy, exciting and clearly state the value to THEM. The odds of them remaining engaged to what you’re sending greatly increases if they know right off the bat what you have in store for them.
6. Everyone Loves a Present
Tell ‘em what they’ve won, Johnny! (Is that reference too old? Probably.) Not only are freebies a great way to entice readers to sign up for your newsletter in the first place, they’re also a wonderful way to retain their love for years to come. When you take the time to create something special and exclusive to only them, they will appreciate the gesture, I promise. Whether it’s a free workbook, printable or a deal you’re passing on to them, everyone adores a present.
7. Be Original
You know those newsletters that do pretty much nothing other than list the blogger’s latest posts? Yeah, we’ve all seen them. And no, none of us liked them. Which is why our newsletters should be chock full of original content. Create an original blog post they can’t find anywhere else. Expand on a prior article. Tell a story. No matter what, give those sweet, sweet people something fresh.
8. Give Them A VIP Backstage Pass
I LOVE getting a behind the scenes look at the creative process of my fave bloggers. Don’t you? A newsletter is a fantastic platform to share such things with your biggest fans. Give them a screenshot of what you’re working on. Show them pictures of your workspace. Share your current plans and tell them what’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours!
9. Value Their Opinions
One of the BEST resources you’ll ever have for feedback is your mailing list. More specifically – the amazing, generous and completely loving PEOPLE on that mailing list. So, ask them for their input! Doing so tells them you value their opinion and instantly makes them feel like a part of what you’re creating. Plus, knowing what they think helps you to create things they are more likely to enjoy. Talk about a win-win!
10. Prop Them UP!
One of my personal favorite things to do is create opportunities for my subscribers to be seen, and newsletters provide the perfect vehicle to do just that. You can do things like invite them to contribute to a compilation blog post or ask for testimonials which you can share permanently on your site. Ask them to send you their favorite blog posts so you can tweet those suckers and promote their hard work. Think outside the box and give them ways for you to sing their praises publicly!
11. Get Graphic
I know that in tip #2 I talked about breaking up text with branded images for the sake of readability. But beyond that, you can also use things like graphics to pull attention to links and call-to-actions (CTA’s). Maybe instead of just hyperlinking the words “click here to join me on my upcoming vacation via Instagram”, (snooze) you could create a big old button that says “Road Trip With Me!” using whatever graphic creator you love. Insert that attention-grabbing image into your email and link it instead!
12. Shhh! Tell Them Secrets
Did you just discover a tool that’s crazy amazing? Tell your subscribers! Are you in the beginning stages of a collaboration that’s not yet at a place where you can release it to the whole world? Let them in on it! There are tons of things we run across as bloggers that while they may not be suitable for en entire blog post, are still valuable or tremendously cool, and those are the types of things we shoulder whisper in the ears of our subscribers…via email.
13. Make It Quick
I’m not saying your newsletters need to be super short, but I am saying that they should pack a mighty punch in a slightly condensed package. When I cozy up to read your blog post, I’m prepared to invest a little time. Most of my favorite articles are detailed, long and really go in depth on the topic at hand.
However, when I open up my inbox, there are a crap ton of emails in there, all vying for my attention. To say I skim would be putting it mildly. People rarely go through their emails with the mindset that they are planning to invest a ton of time, especially on one thing. They pick out what’s most important and try to digest what they can…quickly.
If you have a whole bunch of “wow” to share with your subscribers, consider breaking that “wow” into more than one newsletter and space them out.
14. Get Personal
And finally, one of the #1 reasons people will subscribe to your mailing list is because believe it or not, they want to get to know YOU better. Plus, getting personal allows me, your subscriber, to feel far more emotionally connected to you. If you want to establish an authentic bond with your audience, giving them little glimpses into your personal life is a great way to foster that.
Also, if you tend to put more of your personality on display through your social media accounts (like I do) then you can create a solid tie-in to those platforms.
For instance, my (completely adorable in every way) dog has received a couple of shout-outs in my newsletter. So, I also made sure to let my subscribers know that if they enjoyed seeing her, there was a whole lot more where that came from if they follow me on Facebook. Bottom line: Give your subscribers an opportunity to relate to you and better know the person behind your posts.
Have any more tips to add for peeps looking to learn how to create a newsletter that kicks ASS?
What are some of the elements your favorite newsletters have in common? Meet me and Dre in the comment section and tell us all about it!
Whitney Hitt is the good-intentioned maniac behind the blog TheCommonGreat.com, where she shares great tips in common English to help bloggers and business owners achieve their goals and create an online presence that’s unforgettable and crazy effective. Basically, she’d rather have you breaking the internet than Kim K.
If you’d like to see what Whitney is sending to her subscribers, click here to get on the email list!