How to write better newsletter emails is a pinnacle of online marketing. “The money is in the list!” is one of the most often repeated mantras of bloggers and marketers.
This means that you won’t make any big bucks without writing super awesome emails to your list.
But how do you write good email newsletters? What makes a good newsletter? How can you convert more people with every email?
In this article, you will find 12 ways to improve your email newsletters – starting with your next newsletter.
#1 Provide A Key Takeaway – You Should Be More Than Just An Email Newsletter
Every email newsletter you write to your list should aim to be helpful. Or in other words, it should deliver value to its reader.
Of course, the larger your list is, the less helpful your newsletter may be for ALL your subscribers, but you should always keep in mind that your newsletter email should be very helpful for a segment of your list – for SOME of your subscribers.
While I know that being helpful always sounds complicated to a beginner, it isn’t that hard. The idea is to have one key takeaway that your subscribers can take from your newsletter email.
You can provide value in the form of a link to a helpful article on your blog, or it can be a quick tip. It can be a document that you provide for free. It can even be the description of your paid product.
Having a key takeaway will allow you to provide value with every email. It also allows you to provide a clear promise of value in your subject line, without making the reader feel like you have lost your focus halfway through your email newsletter.
#2 Don’t Overdeliver On Value
I just said that you need to deliver value with every email. But that doesn’t mean you need to write emails that provide ALL the value you have to give.
This is one of the problems many beginners have with delivering value – someone has told them they need to provide value, and they try to provide the most valuable email ever written.
That doesn’t help. Soon these bloggers and marketers will run out of content and emails to write, and even the few emails they write aren’t as helpful as they think. Their readers lose focus, get confused, and probably stop reading halfway through that email.
That doesn’t mean you should never write longer emails of more than a few hundred words. But it would be best if you focused on your crucial takeaway and not try to fit every little bit of related information into an email.
#3 Be Consistent – Write Newsletter Emails Every Week
What happens when you subscribe to a newsletter and don’t get an email for weeks and months?
Well, if you’re like me, and like most other people, you forget. You forget having signed up. You forget ever having visited said website where you signed up.
And then, what finally happens when you get an email from that subscription is…
You unsubscribe. You get annoyed. You write an angry email to the person that just contacted you.
And if you are the recipient of that email, that’s not good. You lose a subscriber who might have been a loyal member of your audience if you just had …
… If you just had written that email a couple of weeks earlier.
Here is an often-ignored truth about email newsletter marketing: You need to write emails.
You need to write emails every damn week. Otherwise, you’re not on your subscribers’ minds anymore when they receive your first email in their inbox.
Sure, you don’t want to annoy your subscribers by sending emails too often. But by sending too few email newsletters, you annoy them more. One weekly email isn’t too much to endure, and it’s not too much to write either (if you keep to the above point of providing one key takeaway per email newsletter).
Research by Marketing Sherpa shows that 60% of subscribers want to see an email AT LEAST WEEKLY and 90% AT LEAST MONTHLY:
#4 Keep Paragraphs Short
What makes a compelling newsletter email?
Its value and its form. People want emails that are easy to read, that are entertaining, and that are giving value.
Too many people are writing email newsletters that are hard to read.
And one of the easiest and quickest ways to improve your newsletter email is to keep your paragraphs short. Just a couple of sentences per paragraph is enough.
Very often, you can massively improve your newsletter email by simply cutting every paragraph into two paragraphs.
But if you want to take this a step further, you can. Write your email with short paragraphs in mind, and you will massively improve your style. The point here is to develop an informative writing style and not try to write endless beautiful sentences.
You’re not writing the next Moby Dick. You’re trying to convey information quickly.
Below is one of our newsletter emails (part of our Pinterest Email Course) that ConvertKit highlighted as a prime example for excellent readability because of short paragraphs:
#5 Practice Your Style – And Maybe Use Grammarly For Your Newsletter Emails
Style is vital for writing great newsletter emails. While keeping your paragraphs short like I described in the last point is a good start, that’s not where good style ends.
When you’re writing newsletters to your email subscribers, you should work on your tone: you should appear confident, conversational, and optimistic. You shouldn’t just stay away from long paragraphs, but also from wordy and hard to read sentences. You should use relatively few uncommon words; you should use clear language, and …
You can do 100s of things to your text to improve your style in your email newsletters.
But no, I don’t want to list everything here. I’ve got something better.
A tool called Grammarly.
Grammarly is a spell-checker and a grammar-checker, but it’s more than that.
Grammarly is a tool that will improve your style. If a sentence is too wordy, it will tell you and make a suggestion. If your text isn’t engaging enough, it will tell you.
You can even select a target audience and get specific suggestions for that audience. And most importantly, you can choose goals for your text.
Grammarly is a fantastic tool that will improve your writing style massively – and that is important for your newsletter.
By the way, we have a free Grammarly Tutorial. You can get it here: GET OUR FREE GRAMMARLY TUTORIAL.
#6 Talk To A Friend (Not An Audience)
With all this talk about improving your style, there is one specific element of email newsletters that will give you an edge over most of your competition.
And that element is: Write your newsletter as if you were writing it for a friend – a good friend – instead of writing it for a nameless crowd of subscribers.
If you talk to people in a more friendly way, their feelings will automatically be more friendly towards you.
But how does this change your newsletter? Well, it changes your tone.
Example: It often starts with the first word in a newsletter. Many people start their newsletter with…
Hello <NAME>, …
…but think about it, do friends really talk this way to each other? If you were writing this email to a good friend, wouldn’t most people start that email with, …
Hey, How are you? …
Keep in mind that it is about how YOU would write to a friend – and that there aren’t preconceptions about how you should talk to friends. This point is about how your personality works – and how you can better bring your likable character into the minds of your readers.
To practice this, you can imagine that you would be writing your next newsletter to a good friend. Thank me later 🙂
#7 Provoke A Reaction And Emotions
A good newsletter shouldn’t leave any reader cold. You want emotion, you want to provoke anger, you want to invoke a smile, or even sometimes a bit of confusion.
That doesn’t mean that all those emotions should be targeted towards you, but your content should spark emotional reactions.
Because whenever someone allows us to feel something, that is a person we cannot ignore.
But how can you create emotional reactions in your readers’ minds?
For instance by telling stories. Tell your subscribers how you felt when a competitor took a big client from you and how your reaction to that improved your business. Tell them how you felt when you gave your seat to an older woman in the subway. Tell them how you felt when your dog needed an operation.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you need to relate these stories to your readers, and they need to connect to the value of your email, but that is easy to do.
#8 Track Your Replies
This is a very short hint: When you write newsletter emails, make sure to track replies. This is important for a few reasons:
- How many responses you get is an indicator of how much of a reaction your newsletter provoked.
- The replies’ content will allow you to learn how people really react to your writing and what you should improve with your next newsletters.
This is valuable data you can use to write better email newsletters in the future.
#9 AB Test Your Subject lines
AB testing is used to improve user interfaces, user experiences, marketing materials, etc. It’s a process where you test different versions of specific elements against your audience simultaneously. You then track the results and make the final decision after comparing the results.
You use AB testing to make gradual improvements to products based on user reactions, for instance. One basic example is the call to action button on landing pages: If you want to find out whether a red or a green button converts better, you can AB test this (many landing page tools have AB testing built-in). In the end, you select the variant that leads to more clicks.
What does this have to do with email marketing and newsletters?
One key performance indicator for newsletter emails is the open rate (percentage of subscribers that open the email). And the open-rate is directly dependent on your subject line. Do you have a great email, but the subject line doesn’t click with your subscribers? That leads to a low open rate and bad results.
Modern email marketing software (we use ConvertKit) has a feature that allows you to drastically improve your open rates: AB testing subject lines on the fly.
Instead of one subject line, you can enter two different ones. ConvertKit will then send both versions to a small segment of your list, track the open rates for a couple of hours, and then select the better performing subject line and use it for your remaining subscribers.
#10 Increase Your CTR By Having More Than One Link In Your Newsletter Emails
Usually, you will write an email newsletter with a focus on one goal. This goal may be to sell a product or to inform your subscribers about a specific topic. Or maybe just to let them know that you have a new article on your blog.
This goal will, most of the time, include making your subscribers click a specific link in your email.
Results are then measured by tracking the percentage of subscribers that click on that link. That’s called the Click-Through-Rate (CTR).
Your overall goal for your newsletters is to achieve a high CTR. The higher the CTR, the higher the percentage of users that interact with your email.
And that’s where many marketers make a big mistake: They write their email, put the link below that email, and then hit send.
The key to improving your CTR is to have more than one link. For instance, if you’re writing a product sales letter email, why not have the link once close to the start, once somewhere near the middle, and once below the email?
Not every subscriber will read the complete email. Some might be in a rush but might click the first link. Some will read until the middle and then find that they now know enough but might click a link there.
Only a small fraction will read until the end and then click.
#11 Segment Your Lists
Not every subscriber needs to see every email. Especially when you are monetizing, there is no need to offer an online course to a subscriber who has already bought that course (as an example).
So it makes sense to create a segment of subscribers who have already bought your course and one that includes those who didn’t.
This can be done in any suitable email marketing software.
You can also build segments around specific interests. Did a subscriber click a particular link? Did a subscriber click on that link more than once?
In most email marketing tools, you can use tags to track this type of subscriber’s actions. This will allow you to send emails to specific targeted segments of your list.
What can you do with this? You can send specific newsletters to specific segments. Offer an upsell product to those who bought your course, make a special offer to those interested in your course but didn’t buy yet, etc.
You can also use advanced automation that triggers when subscribers enter a specific list segment. For instance, when a subscriber bought your course, you can send an automatic sequence of emails that offer various upsells.
#12 Vary Your Email Types For Newsletter Emails
Don’t become the repetitive kind of online marketer or blogger who sends the same email every time.
“Hey, just wanted to let you know that I have a new article published…”
When people already know what the email will look like, they are less likely to open that email.
Vary your email types and randomize how and when you send them.
For instance, one type of email could be the “new article” email. Another type could be for small hints and tips that you send, and another could be sales emails, products, special offers.
Randomly sending different types of emails can improve your results massively.
These were 12 ways to increase your newsletter email results massively. But I’m interested – what tactics do you use to increase your newsletter email results? What are your results?
Let me know in the comments.