How to Create a Newsletter that Actually Converts

7 minute read

Upland Admin

Email marketing is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing available to you—provided that you do it right. According to ExactTarget, 91% of consumers check their inbox daily. McKinsey & Company will tell you that email is almost 40x more effective than Facebook or Twitter when it comes to acquiring customers.

The thing is, you’ve got to get it right. In a world where marketers of all kinds are vying for people’s attention, grabbing that attention is not such an easy task. The challenge is to make your email newsletters irresistible to your audience. They need to see your email and perceive it as something worth spending time on.

Your email software analytics will let you know how many people are opening your emails and clicking through to your site. More importantly, if there are no conversions, no matter how readable your content is, you haven’t nailed it yet.

If you want to write perfect email newsletters that actually convert, you should take on board these six tips:

1. Ask Your Audience Why They Signed Up

If you send every new sign up an email that asks them why they signed up to your list, you’re going to get some useful insights from them. If you can understand their reasons for connecting with your business, you can also understand what type of content they want to receive from you.

Try to find out what kind of problems, challenges, and goals your audience has. This gives you an instant inroad, as your newsletters can then be tailored toward solving issues or helping them to reach their goals. It also helps you to understand more about who your audience is so you can address them in more appropriate ways.

By asking them why they wanted to connect with you and responding with tailored content, you’ll build much stronger relationships with them, much more quickly.

2. Make Your Emails Aesthetically Pleasing and Easy to Read

Simplicity is a good start, but consistent and attractive style are really what create engagement. Reams of text, bad positioning or unnecessary information will turn readers off straight away. Always include space in your emails to make them look less busy.

Design your emails with a hierarchy in mind. The fact is, people skim when they read—so they’ll probably miss important details. You can use typography to feature different areas in the body of your mail, effectively highlighting the most important parts using font size, type, and color. Use simple but attractive fonts that are at least 14px but no larger than 16px.

Always include quality, relevant images to balance out the blocks of text. If you can take your own, this is always going to look better than generic stock photos.

Another thing to note is that you’ll need to make it easy for your readers to scroll through whether they’re on desktops or mobiles. Be sure to optimize your emails for mobile as most people will open them this way.

There are some useful tools that can help you optimize your newsletter’s appearance.

MailChimp has a design guide that will go a long way to helping you perfect your email presentation.

Another useful—and free—tool is the Hemingway App which shows you where your sentences are too complicated or long, your grammar is off, and repetition is present. You can paste your content to get a quick overview of readability. Using this before you send emails out can work wonders for your click-through rate.

3. Make Your Emails Entertaining

Email is not all about information and sales. Entertainment features highly on most people’s agendas. Not enough brands embrace this, costing them plenty of revenue and unsubscribes over time.

Savvy brands use emotion, humor, and engaging stories in their newsletters. You could put in funny links, a gif, or an entertaining personal or user story.

These simple details can transform your relationship with your audience, giving the impression that your brand is fun. They’re much more likely to look forward to your newsletters.

4. Address Your Audience in an Appealing Way

Your emails are like a virtual knock on the door. Stuffy, formal communications will seem impersonal and will lose people fast. Obviously, you don’t want to come across as overfamiliar either; that may seem contrived or insincere. There is a balance you can find.

A friendly and natural approach is best. A newsletter is no place for overly intellectual rhetoric or excessive wording. Say what you mean, concisely. Humor and slang can work too. Chat to your audience as if they were the only one you were writing to, by regularly referring to them as “you” and refraining from “you all,” “guys,” etc.

Figure out who your ideal customer is and talk to them in a language they understand. What does success looks like to them? Coming from this angle will make much more of an impact.

Your audience will respond much better when you talk about them rather than yourself. Similarly, a long list of product features will turn them off quickly.

Segment your email lists according to specific preferences or demographics so that your emails will be more personal to each audience. Before you send something, read it through to be sure it flows well and sounds natural and positive.

5. Use Analytics for Resending Unopened Newsletters

Don’t be afraid to resend your newsletter to those who didn’t open it the first time. Using your analytics panel, find out who didn’t open—the email very well got lost in their inbox. Wait for a week, and then tweak the subject line to .

Use one or two of the following aspects in your new subject line:

  • Offers
  • Humor
  • Compelling questions
  • Benefits (i.e., useful information for your audience)
  • Positivity
  • Urgency
  • Something recognizable (e.g., celebrity or top brand reference)
  • Intriguing stories
  • A personal touch (i.e., words that relate to the individual reader)

You can leave the newsletter content unchanged. Having said that, if your new subject line conveys something slightly different, ensure that thing is covered in the content. You must always deliver what you say you will. Check out what your subject lines might be missing.

Send this out only to those who didn’t open your mail the first time. On average, over 50% of people are not opening your emails. If you resend the same email out with a new subject line one week later, you’ll give that section of your list a second chance to engage with your content.

Marketer Noah Kagan of AppSumo/SumoMe claims that a further 7028 people opened his second email when he first used this approach. It only takes a couple of minutes of your time, so it’s worth a try.

6. Run Split Tests on Your Campaigns

Split testing is a good idea, as it gives you the ability to find out which elements achieve the most engagement. Also known as A/B testing, you can run a split test for different times of day, different kinds of subject line, and so on.

For example, you might send five or ten emails with different subject lines but the same email content. Your analytics will tell you which one had the highest click-through rate, so you’ll know which kinds of subject lines to apply to your next campaigns.

You might also send out the campaigns on different days and at different times to see which times people are most likely to open them. In this way, you can gradually perfect your email marketing strategies to get a consistently better open rate—and hopefully, more conversions.

Your communications are ready to go.

If you have done your due diligence in understanding your audience, tidying up your content and presentation, addressing people appropriately, and analyzing and testing your methods, there’s no reason why your click-through rate shouldn’t soar. The higher it soars, the more conversions you’ll get. Of course, the more conversions, the more often your content gets into the right hands.

Ready to streamline your content operation, and go from chaos to calm? Get this guide.

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