According to Content Marketing Institute, 83% of B2B marketers use email newsletters as part of their content marketing strategy. But what makes the best email newsletters so successful?
A regular email newsletter is an important tool for staying in touch with your audience and providing consistent value in order to keep them interested in your business, products and services.
Emails are a great way to keep in touch with prospects as they move through the sales funnel (the sales funnel is best explained here), sharing insightful blogs and downloadable content, giving them special offers and customer-only discounts.
Content marketing can be seen as a fairly passive medium, with the customer in control of what they search for. You are only able to affect the content that you put out – making it valuable enough to draw their attention if and when they find it.
Email newsletters are important for those who prefer to take more control over their marketing approaches as it allows them to deliver targeted content to their audience and generate leads and sales.
What are email newsletters?
Email newsletters are the most common type of email marketing content.
Although they are used for marketing, email newsletters are more about informing your audience about your business, products or services than they are about selling.
The best email newsletters build trust and loyalty among your customer base by giving them something interesting and valuable that they can actually use.
There are plenty of angles for email newsletters to take but the most important thing to remember is that your prospects and customers only want to receive content that adds some form of value to their life.
You might use your newsletters to:
- make customer-only offers,
- give customer testimonials and case studies,
- explain industry news and new developments,
- share thoughts, quotes, top ten lists or surveys,
- share your company’s story, or
- announce new product/service launches.
The central objective of email newsletters is to connect with your clients and prospects and keep them engaged and informed so any combination of the above would be a great strategy.
More Than Words note – a “prospect” is someone in a personal or professional capacity who has left their details with you but who has not yet purchased from you.
When is the best time to send email newsletters?
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if your email newsletter is interesting, beautifully designed, and has an intriguing subject line that your prospects will be inclined to open them.
While these elements help, much of successful email marketing campaigns comes down to logistics.
Think about when you head into your own email inbox and how quickly you relegate messages to your junk folder.
Any email newsletter that appears during a busy time or just after runs the risk of being missed by your customers simply because they can’t see it through the noise of their busy inbox.
The best email newsletters consider the interests of the people receiving them emails and they are sent at a time when they’re most likely to be noticed.
Data shows that most email opens occur within one hour of your email being sent so it is important to get this timing right.
Think about who your target audience is and when they are most likely to look at their emails.
Take into account that the majority of people browse their personal inboxes on their phones when they have free time.
A B2B audience is most likely to check their emails between 9am and 10am, after they get to work, or at 1pm on their lunch.
Research taken from 10 studies, including those carried out by MailChimp and Wordstream found that Tuesday is the best day to send an email, with Wednesday and Thursday close behind.
According to a study by GetResponse, there are three main times of day that people are most likely to open email communications – around 10am, 1pm and 6pm.
These tend to correlate with most people’s regular work hours.
So, at 10am, most people are settling into the workday, have dealt with anything that needed their immediate attention, and they are ready to browse through their emails with a coffee.
1pm could signal the beginning or end of lunchtime, meaning that your email pops to the top of the list just as people are interested in browsing their emails again.
Finally, after 6pm, emails are being looked at on the commute home from work.
Email can be picked up anywhere – in the office and on the move – so your email must be mobile-compatible to achieve maximum impact.
What is the average open rate for email newsletters?
The average open rate for email newsletters, although appearing fairly self-explanatory, does not actually refer to how many people opened your email.
Instead, an email is counted as ‘opened’ when:
- the recipient enables any images contained in the email to be displayed, or
- the recipient clicks a link in the email
According to these metrics, MailChimp’s research found that the average open rate for all industries is 21.33%
Furthermore, 1 in 5, or approximately 20% of marketing emails, don’t make it to the intended recipient’s inbox in the first place.
A low email open rate indicates one of three things:
- your target audience is too broad,
- you are sending too many emails too close together, or
- your subject lines aren’t resonating with your audience.
Targeting just the right audience and communicating to them on topics of interest to them are key features of the best email newsletters sent out by companies.
More Than Words’ email marketing databases are separated by sector and a range of other variables that can help you to target your marketing campaigns to your specific audience, ensuring that the content you send is always relevant to the recipients.
You can speak to your More Than Words account manager to get help sourcing a specialist data list if you don’t yet have one. This should significantly improve your open rates.
How to create emails that people want to open
The first thing to think about when creating the very best email newsletters which deliver the highest return on investment is what sender name you are going to use.
It may be tempting to simply put the name of your company, as this is where the email is coming from, but studies have determined that using a specific person’s name can increase open rates by up to 35%.
Furthermore, with 89% of email marketing campaigns sent from a company name, this could also be a good way to separate yourself from your competition.
You should spend as much time writing your subject line as you spend writing the content of your email newsletter.
This may seem excessive but when you think that your subject line is what stands between you and your prospects it is clear how important it is.
A report by Retention Science found that the subject lines that achieved the highest open rates were between 6 and 10 words in length.
Your subject line should be intriguing and persuasive, directing your audience to open your email in order to receive something that will be valuable to them – whether this is an offer, information or even just something entertaining.
Look at Campaign Monitor’s guide to what makes a good subject line and what to avoid for further help. The guide also includes some examples from businesses that get it right.
How to create compelling email newsletters
Just getting your prospects and customers to open your emails isn’t enough.
You need to use this opportunity to show recipients that your business, products or services can offer them something unique and useful.
The best email newsletters build a sense of community among your subscribers and prospects.
So, instead of simply linking to a new blog post, offer or social media page, include some housekeeping.
Give the latest news from your company, anecdotes from your staff and customers or even your own thoughts on news affecting your industry.
You won’t always have something new to say on your blog – which is where evergreen content comes in.
Evergreen content refers to blogs and articles written on subjects that are always relevant to your target audience.
A backlog of timeless content is an essential tool for successful email marketing newsletters as it allow you to quickly provide value when you don’t have a lot to say.
Some examples include:
- how-to guides or video tutorials,
- company histories or the background of your industry,
- thought leadership articles,
- reviews of your products/services, and
- a glossary of terms or index of useful resources.
How to send email newsletters
Theoretically it is free and simple to send HTML emails as all you need to do is open your email programme, write an email and send it to your contacts.
In practice this is not quite so easy.
While it is free to send HTML emails in Outlook and other email programmes, it can be quite difficult to design them there. These programmes also don’t provide analytics tools and can monitor and mark emails as spam when they are sent to a lot of people at once.
The best way to send email newsletters is through an email marketing service such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or GetResponse.
These platforms are low-cost (and most offer a free option for smaller mail-outs) and contain a variety of features to help you to create professional emails with ease – even if you don’t have much experience.
You can use the analytics tools included on these platforms to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and test different subject lines and email content so that your email strategy is refined over time.
How to send email newsletters in Outlook
Although Outlook is not the easiest tool to use for email marketing campaigns, it is still the 5th most popular email client of the 3.7 billion email users worldwide.
Outlook is not built for HTML newsletter design, and there is no way to create a staggered email send schedule that will ensure your email avoids spam algorithms.
However it is free and integrated with your Office programmes so it is worth considering.
To send a simple HTML email using Outlook you should follow these steps:
- open the Microsoft Outlook application,
- choose ‘Distribution List’ from the options available under ‘New’,
- add your contacts to the distribution list, then save and close,
- create a new HTML email using the ‘Insert’ tab to add your images, links etc,
- click ‘To’ and then choose the distribution list you created earlier,
- save your email as a Microsoft Outlook template and then click ‘Send’
Sending from Outlook means that you will want to perform as many tests as possible before you send your email newsletter to your list, so try sending it to yourself first.
That way you can deal with any issues and make sure that it looks good before you send it to your prospects.
Why email newsletters are so valuable
Whilst many marketers feel that email should be deprioritised and more budget allocated to newer forms of marketing like social media, research continues to show that email has a far better success rate than all other types of marketing.
So why are newsletters effective?
Emails are better at customer acquisition and retention
Whilst social media is unbeaten when it comes to building and strengthening relationships between businesses and customers, email marketing performs much better in both obtaining new customers and retaining existing ones.
According to this study, whilst 60% of consumers subscribe to emails in order to stay up to date with brands, only 20% will do the same on social media.
Email is cost effective
Even when paying for email marketing services, the cost of email marketing versus more traditional methods of advertising, such as TV, radio or direct mail, is miniscule.
Email allows brands to reach out directly with a specific message, for almost no money at all, creating a truly useful method of marketing for smaller brands.
Emails offer a personal approach
Because emails offer the opportunity to segment subscribers into lists, it is possible for brands to send each targeted list emails which specifically tailor to their interests and previous activity, thus making them more valuable to the recipient.
When putting out blogs, social media posts etc, you are addressing your audience as a whole, meaning that communications will be more ‘one-size-fits-all’.
Email is action-oriented
Rather than simply scrolling past, email communications are designed to elicit some kind of response from recipients, even if this is just deleting it.
This means that you get a far better chance of your audience paying attention to your emails, and it is far more likely that they will reply, sign up or even buy something.
Should you use email newsletter templates?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using email newsletter templates in order to build emails that are attractive and interesting to subscribers, and many email marketing services have these already available.
If you have decided to go without a service, or have chosen one which doesn’t provide templates, there are a host of templates online that you can take advantage of.
This HubSpot blog is an excellent resource for email newsletter templates with some of the most interesting and attractive examples currently out there.
Work with More Than Words email newsletter copywriters
How many customers do you have? How many prospects’ email contact details do you hold which you’ve not pitched lately?
Let More Than Words unlock the value in both by planning the very best email newsletters to both your clients and prospects with a view to generating as many leads and sales as possible.
If you target businesses, we can even include decision makers within your target audiences on your email newsletter campaigns.
Our team is made up of sales and marketing professionals with decades of collective experience, allowing us to understand how best to approach your existing client, prospects, and cold contacts and implement your campaigns effectively.
Find out more about sending the best email newsletters to your clients, prospects, and cold contacts by calling us on 0330 010 3495, or you can click here to email our copywriting team.