Have you ever found yourself overwhelmed with writing your next company email newsletter, wondering what you should write because you think you have to write a lot? Or, do you find that you’re someone who never struggles for a topic, and actually comes up with many as you create an admittedly over-long email to your customers? Do you know that either one of these dilemmas can be solved by creating an email newsletter that has one and only one clear topic?
And do you know that 35% of emails go unread–this includes junk emails, work emails, and yes–your newsletter email. Why is that? Well, a subject line that is ambiguous will not spur a reader into action.
What can help that subject line? Having one topic. The next and bigger question is: How do you create an email newsletter with one topic that people want to read? Focus on:
Your Email Newsletter Topic
Before you even put finger to keyboard, what do you want to achieve with your next company email to your customers and leads? Do you want to inform, persuade, request, or entertain?
For instance, is the goal to get more eyes on your company’s blog? Or is the goal to show off a new service or product? Is the goal to keep your company in the mind of the reader through subject matter that relates to your company and to your readers? For instance, if you are a cat food company, do you send out a newsletter with the latest funny cat videos?
Picking one theme/topic for your email will make it feel cohesive and competent–which will influence the reader’s perception of your company’s cohesion and competence!
To help you understand how important consistency is, think about your favorite author or your favorite Instagram creator. If your favorite mystery author came out with a fantasy book or your favorite Instagram creator went from teaching you fun Italian phrases to showing you how to live off-grid–you’d suffer from a bit of confused whiplash!
For the sake of your reader experience, your content shouldn’t be a jumble of topics. If the topic doesn’t fit the purpose of your message for this one email newsletter (remember, you’ll have more to send after this one–so save the off-topic topics for later!), be a good self-editor and leave it out. For now.
Because email newsletters are a form of digital marketing, keep in mind this adage from the marketing world: write your newsletters as if you are directly speaking to one person in your audience.
When you do that, you soon realize if you are talking to the right person then you’re leaving out a big chunk of your customers! Let’s go back to that mystery writer. Is she also a tax accountant by day? It would make no sense for her to send tax law information to her mystery readers.
This author–and you– may need to create more than one kind of newsletter for multiple audiences. When you segment your email list–such as having one for new subscribers vs one for those who have already bought from you–you will be more apt to write to the right people at the right time.
In fact, segmented email campaigns are said to have almost a 10% lower unsubscribe rate versus emails that have not been segmented. It’s a head-scratcher, then, that 80% of email newsletters are not segmented, sending the same newsletter to all subscribers!
Email Newsletter Subject Lines
The next thing to think about is how to structure your email newsletter for covering one topic per audience that you have. And that means starting with the subject line.
Your subject line should be concise, relevant, and eye-catching. Easy peasy, right? It is a bit of an art and skill, so give yourself time to practice and create rough drafts!
Many companies get a little too creative with subject lines, leaving many of their readers out in the cold. Imagine if you subscribed to your favorite mystery author’s newsletter, and her email to you read: Aunt Fanny is at it again, plus a giveaway!
What if you don’t remember who Aunt Fanny is as you’re scrolling through your dozens of emails each day, your mind on a meeting in five minutes, and you miss your favorite author releasing her newest book? Also, that subject line is looking a little spammy (giveaways are a popular spamming tool).
What if the subject line focuses on one topic AND a little bit of creative license: Aunt Fanny’s Killing Again!
Now this subject line grabs your attention as you wonder if Aunt Fanny is on your side of the family or your partner’s side. Your eye then goes to the sender–it’s your favorite author! It all clicks. And then you click on that email!
Structure for an Email Newsletter
After the subject line is the body of the email newsletter. Per Microsoft Outlook’s tips, organize the content from most important to least. For example, won’t be putting the social links or your unsubscribe link at the top!
In the military, they use an acronym to help them organize their content for optimum results: BLUF. This stands for “Bottom Line Up Front.”
If this is going to be a cute cat newsletter, state “Here are your Five Cute Cat Videos of the week!”
If this is going to be a new product announcement, state “Glitter PlayDoh is waiting for you to buy and try!”
What exactly do you do next? Well, an image is always good. Also, answering the who, what, when, where, why, and how is a good best practice. Necessary links are also a, well, necessity.
By focusing on the purpose of the newsletter from the very start (from subject line to BLUF), you can reduce the chaos you might be tempted to create by overstuffing your newsletter with too many things. Or, if you are one who always wonders about what to write, you now have a clear roadmap for your topic that day, from words to pictures to links!
In one of your last steps, the proofreading stage, you should be able to see which links are necessary, including your call-to-action (CTA) links.
Just as you chose one topic for this newsletter, you should also choose one primary CTA that has prominence. If you are a cat food company that has sent out your weekly “Five of the Best Cat Videos This Week!,” your Memorial Day coupon for 10% off the reader’s next purchase should be your primary CTA.
Research reports that a single CTA link–versus multiple in the same email–leads to a higher click-through-rate, which is when the reader clicks on the button you want them to versus exiting out of the email.
Secondary CTAs can exist, such as icons that lead to your social media or text that leads to the obligatory unsubscribe link, but the way you place and format those links plays a part in helping your reader understand what’s window dressing and what’s there to showcase the purpose, topic, and point of your email.
Your Next Steps
After reading why and how you need a single topic for your email newsletter, here is a checklist of questions as you set up your next newsletter:
- Do I need more than one audience set up in my newsletter parameters?
- What is the purpose of my next email newsletter to my audience(s)?
- What is the topic I should write about to convey that purpose?
- What information (including graphics and links) do I need for that newsletter?
- How do I lay out my email newsletter so that the reader knows what I’m asking of them?
- How do I create my subject line to reflect the topic of my newsletter while grabbing the reader’s attention?
- Where should I put my CTA, and how do I make it easy for the reader to see and click?
Stay tuned for more information in our Email 101 series!
Emails 101, Lesson 3: Subject Lines That Make Readers Open and Spam Filters Ignore
Emails 101, Lesson 4: Quick Lead Generator Magnets That Add Value to Your Emails
digit-ALL is a full-service marketing company that focuses on the people side of marketing. We focus on websites, social media, blogs, newsletters, and even corporate event planning. We’re here to help when you’re ready for it.
10 Things to Nix in Your Next Email Newsletter, Brittany Leaning, Hubspot.com.
35% of Emails Are Left Unread: A Data-Driven Analysis of Email Use, Anastasiia Kryzhanovska, GetMailbird.com.
A Guide to Writing Your Own Email Newsletter, Rachel Meltzer, Grammarly.com.
How to Create an Email Newsletter People Actually Read, Ginny Mineo, Hubspot.com.
How to Reduce Email Unsubscribe Rate (With 10 Solutions), Natalie Sydorenko, Sendx.io.
How to Write a Newsletter That Gets Massively Read and Shared, Lily Ugbaja, WordPress.com.
How to Write a Professional Email, with Tips and Examples, Lindsay Kramer, Grammarly.com.
How to Write Email with Military Precision, Kabir Sehgal, HBR.org.
Outlook Best Practices: Write Great Email, Patricia Eddy, Microsoft.com.
What Are Some of the Best Practices for Writing Clear and Concise Emails that Save Time?, Ellen Delap, LinkedIn.com.