I’m a big fan of email newsletters. I think they are a great way for companies to keep in touch with customers and prospects. Sophisticated, and often free, mailing platforms provide you with data on what readers like, and maybe don’t like, and if they are opening, reading, forwarding and clicking, and at what time. It’s a no brainer to use newsletters as part of your marketing efforts in my opinion.

I’m very free and easy when it comes to signing up for newsletters. I like to see what people are up to and I like to see how they do it. I’m also free and easy when it comes to unsubbing. I take no prisoners. Some of my most recent unsubs have been due to:

  • Salesy content instead of the tips I was promised
  • People SHOUTING
  • Too many colours, fonts and italics in the copy
  • Use of hun
  • Use of kickass
  • Ending on x (now that is being free and easy)

I wrote a 12 step programme on what makes a good newsletter 6 years ago and I’ve revisited it for this. Read on.

1. Timing
Accept that you need to send it out at a time when your customer would like to receive it, not when it’s convenient for you. Friday afternoon is a rubbish time in my opinion.

2. Content
Reflect on why you decided to send a newsletter and stick to your principles and core messages. Make it interesting for the reader, and relevant to what you do, and the product or services you offer.

3. Grammar and punctuation
Speak clearly. Double and triple check your spelling and grammar before hitting send.

4. Subject line
Be mindful. Make sure your subject line has the click-thru factor, and make sure the reader knows it’s from you. Avoid trigger words that might get it caught in a spam trap, such as free, sales, and swear words

5. Data
Respect your audience. Have the people on your list opted in? Have they asked for the newsletter? Don’t assume, explicitly ask for permission. See ICO guidance.

6. Frequency
Stick to your promise. If you state you will send a newsletter daily, weekly or monthly, then honour that commitment, people will expect it. Same time, same day, regularly.

7. Easy unsubscribe
Honour those that want to walk away. Easy in, easy out. Captchas are annoying – FACT. One click unsubscribes are not. If you are using a manual system make sure you honour the unsubs and take them off your list, again see ICO guidance.

8. Size
Respect readers’ space. Don’t overload with large images (file size) that take an age to download. A lot of people access emails on the go, on smartphones and tablets. Sluggish, slow newsletters won’t cut it.

9. Sent from address
Be open about who you are. There is no need for anonymity with your email address. You want readers to see who is sending them a newsletter. A user friendly email address looks much more appealing than Xc5674GhCC7799BGO@xxxxxx.co.uk

10. Reply to address
Be open to feedback. Ideally your ‘reply to’ email should be the same as the ‘sent from’. Think of the reader, not of your ability to manage the replies

11. Check your stats
Examine past behaviour. Do people open your newsletter? What are they clicking on? How do your open rates compare to industry norms.

12. Watch and learn
Learn from others. Seen a brand or business that you admire or connect with? Sign up to their newsletter and see how they do it.

* New for 2019 *

13. Sign up to my monthly ‘Not too wordy but definitely dead good!‘ newsletter for a snapshot of my month and things that have caught my eye in the world of copywriting and PR.