Email Marketing 101: Part Five: Newsletter Content

Despite oodles of email gurus stating that subject lines, creative and send timings are the crux of the email strategy this humble email Luddite still believes that email newsletter content is, first and foremost, the pivotal, vital nay paramount aspect of a good and successful email. Subject lines and timings may get you an open, creative may guide your eye to the call to action but content persuades recipients, by rationalizing recipients’ emotional decisions, to complete your objective.

A newsletter’s main objectives are to get content read, promote awareness of your thought leadership and to download reports/whitepapers about the subject. However, all too often, we see newsletter content as an unorganized mess of copy without a thought for the recipient or the overarching email strategy being employed by the marketing team.

 

Here are 2 quick tips to keep your content fresh and valuable:

1)      Keep your newsletter content snappy – Stop Waffling

Keep Newsletter articles short, simple and succinct and provide easy links to the whole of the article (hosted somewhere else).

 

All too often I see Newsletters that take 10 minutes to scroll down to the bottom of the inbox, let alone read, and it makes me cry a little inside. Email is not the same thing as a newspaper, a journal or an almanac – for one thing people do not physically buy/invest in your email and therefore their attention span is lower!

 

Email is a quick medium that should give recipient’s a flavor of your content and then allow them to quickly and easily navigate their way to the specific article(s) in which they are interested (adding traffic to your web page AND giving you valuable statistics on which article is most relevant).

 

Do not include full articles on the front page of your email. Even broadsheet newspapers have excerpts on page one which then continue onto other pages. Use snippets and catchy headlines to pique contacts’ interest and drive them either back to your website or onto a secondary email page.

 

Cut down the content – think Executive Summary rather than Magnum Opus – and analyze the links that recipients have been clicking on – this will help you tailor your contact strategy and identify current trends.

2)      Don’t be dull, be different

Have fun with the headlines and titles of your articles. Professional services feel they must speak with a certain tone or voice but if every professional firm is doing that then where is the competitive advantage of your content. The Sun newspaper in the UK is known for its witty, pithy and often painfully ‘punny’ headlines which grab readers’ attentions – rather than the thorough and hard hitting journalism underneath. Regardless these Headlines grab peoples’ attention and generate curiosity about the article below.

 

An email subject line or article headline of: “Quarter 3 News: July 2013” does not have the same impact as: “Total Revenue UP! UK and US Legal Sectors Expand 1.7%. Quarter 3 News”.

 

Now event that change of headline/subject line is pretty conservative but hopefully the penny has dropped. Content is a chance (within reason) to unleash some creativity – as long as the actual article is well written and rests under the company’s preferred voice and tone. Have fun with headlines and grab peoples’ attention. You will see the difference in engagement in your email reporting statistics.

Conclusion

For the past 6 months there have been on-going debates in the marketing blogosphere about: “If content is King, what is the Queen”? This highlights that email content is the most important part of your email campaign – use the best bits to get the best engagement and drive people to secondary pages/websites to gather information for further segmentation. Think. Do. Test. Repeat.