Earlier this week, we reviewed the three steps to take when realizing the heartbreak of people unsubscribing to your e-mail newsletter. It’s more troubling when people—employees, vendors, volunteers or partners—whose success often depends on the information you are providing decide to shun your communication.
It hurts when you hear, “You’re fat, boring and dress funny,” when a relationship ends. Here are ways to change your e-mail newsletter content and strategy to be fit, fascinating and fashionable.
1. Content is relevant, updated and accurate: Check your content’s relevancy to your audience by reviewing your analytics and determining if readers are opening your emails and clicking on the links. There are many variables when analyzing open and click rates, such as the industry and size of your organization. A good rule of thumb is making sure your open rate is above 15 percent and click rates above 5 percent. (Here’s information on open and click rates from Constant Contact and Mail Chimp, two large e-mail service providers.) Organizations might want to consider changing the frequency of the e-mail newsletter or the day and time of distribution.
Nothing communicates a lack of professionalism as receiving an e-mail newsletter and most information pertains to an event or offer that expired or occurred. Another fundamental principle is making sure your content matches information that’s already published in previous e-mails, your organization’s website and print materials. Test the hyperlinks in your e-mail to guarantee they lead to the correct websites and pages you are linking to. It’s extremely frustrating to be enticed to seek more information by clicking on a link and then landing on a page that’s irrelevant or can’t be found on the server.
2. Segment Your List: This often requires additional hours of analysis and desk work, but providing specific groups of readers or audiences with content aimed toward meeting their interests or past experiences can improve various ways of engagement. Some experimentation might prove beneficial to ensure your lists are comprised of your desired audiences.
3. Offer something special: An effective word-of-mouth campaign can quickly succeed when people share information about the special offer they learned about from your organization’s e-newsletter. Don’t limit your creative thinking only to a transaction. Announce a special program or make your e-mail the first channel to reveal a special recognition of an individual or department.
4. Offer social media interaction: Include social media icons where subscribers can click and follow or engage with your organization. They might unsubscribe from your e-mail, but they might engage on social media. Then, you can promote through social media the latest information distributed via your e-mail newsletter. Promote subscriptions to your e-mail newsletter through social media. Readers might have unsubscribed, but now might come to the realization of the importance of the e-mail newsletter.
5. Visually appealing: When a reader opens your email, it’s likely they will skim the information and decide whether or not to read the text. Therefore, the layout and design needs to be visually appealing to capture the reader’s attention. Use photographs that communicate an action involved with the news item. (Nothing sells children’s camps better than photographs of smiling participants engaged in the specialized activity of that program.) Frequent customers or readers will quickly identify logos, graphics and icons they’re familiar with and it will enable them to quickly reconnect with a favorable experience with the product or program.
6. Tightly written: Since the person who opened your e-mail is probably skimming, text should be tightly written and kept to a minimum. Most readers have the attitude, “I just want to know what time it is, don’t tell me how to build a watch.” Include only the essential text to communicate with your reader and provide a hyperlink where they can get additional information.
You might consider your e-mail newsletter structure to be five business cards placed vertically on your desk. You will discover only essential information is present on the cards, the graphics and visuals create a memory in the reader’s mind, and there are clear and various ways to get additional information or engage with the person, product or program.