Tuesday Tip: Remove and replace these 5 traits that are hurting your email newsletters

By Chloe Mark | June 2017


Marketers have lost a lot of faith in the power of email marketing, but the truth is, it's just as powerful as ever, as long as you're continually improving your methods. Just like any tool, you can't use it year after year without maintence— you need to replace a few parts of it and clean it up. This week's tip will help you understand why your email newsletter is less desirable than it once was and how to get it back on track. Tuesday Tip: Remove and replace these five traits of your email newsletter.

1. Remove: Inactive subscribers. Replace with: A smaller, higher converting audience

Like anything in marketing, profitability lies in how well you speak to your audience. For email newsletter success, it all starts with to whom you're sending your message. If your metrics aren't looking great—as in, low CTR's, low open rates and high unsubscribes— it's likely that some of these recipients aren't interested in your content. This doesn't necessarily mean your content is bad, but rather that it's reaching the wrong people.

It's distracting to see these numbers as they aren't accurately conveying what your target audience thinks of your content. To ensure you're sending your email newsletter out to the right people, take time each month to go through your list. If you're using a CRM, it'll be easy to see who has opened emails, visited your site or been an active customer in the last six months or so. If you don't have a CRM, look through email open rates. If they haven't even opened an email in the last six months, it's unlikely they will start now. 

Yes, it's sad to let your subscriber count drop, but once you let go of these folks, you'll see higher open rates and CTRs. Through this greater focus on active recipients, you will be honing in on their desires. You'll be able to understand what your target audiences' preferrences are for send times, subject lines and content.  

“In general, there is a lower volume of triggered emails, but higher engagement and conversion rates thanks to better timing and contextual relevance.” – Email Monday


2. Remove: Your master list. Replace with: Segmentation

“If you’re still sending unsegmented newsletter blasts to your entire list, then it’s only a matter of time before your customers start tuning you out.” – Rejoiner

You might like the simplicity of having one master list to contact each month, but you would love the high ROI of a segmented list. By segmenting out your contacts by interest or type, you'll be able to cater to even more specific needs. To get some help here, reference the helpful graph below from Rejoiner and our post on "Contact list segmentation for improved email marketing."



 Image source: Rejoiner


3. Remove: Bland subject lines. Replace with: Creativity + a/b tests

How can you tell if your subject lines are bland? A couple ideas for you.

First, subscribe to your competitors' email newsletters. Then pay attention as they come in. What makes you want to click vs. quickly hit delete. It can be challenging to judge how interesting your subject lines are as you know what's inside the email, but by evaluating emails without knowing their content, you can get a general idea.

Secondly, test them on your audience. One month, craft a subject line that's highly specific to your content. The next, be a bit more clever and playful. Send these emails at the same time and to the same list and compare open rates. 

For more on email newsletter subject lines, take a look at SumoMe's formulas for high open rates


4. Remove: The multitude of options. Replace with: One or two specific goals

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with the actual copy of the email is including several goals, calls to action and links.


You should have fewer...

  • Goals: It's easy to get excited by the potential of an email newsletter and to try to get many things done at once. But when you are attempting to juggle too many goals, they all become less clear. Craft your subject line, body content and layout under one goal. Is it to drive traffic to an offer? Or to get people to an event?
"If you include links to every topic under the sun, readers are likely to get confused or annoyed by your newsletter and unsubscribe." – Hubspot.
  • Links and calls to action: You've seen those emails. They're practically covered in highligher colors. Be tasteful about it and attempt to only include a few links, preferably attached to a well-designed CTA button. This will also help you better understand what users are interested in each time you send; you can compare if last month's newsletters got more clicks vs. this ones and draw deeper conclusions about preferences. 


5. Remove: Lackluster content. Replace with: News highlights, offers & some fun

You spend a whole lot of time getting people to subscribe to and open your emails, but what about their enjoyment of them? Hubspot states that you can help identify if your content is lackluster by asking yourself this one question:

"'So what?' As you’re going through every link, every headline, every feature, try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and question whether or not someone would care. Is it timely? Is it relevant to the audience at hand?" – Hubspot


A few ideas to help you get this newsworthy, interesting content:

  • Blog more: If you are blogging 2-3 times per day, at the end of each month you'll have a solid handful of interesting pieces to share in your newsletter. You can measure the success of the pieces throughout the month and only share those that have received more views and / or conversions. 
  • Track good sources: If you're already blogging, this will come naturally as you do your research, but if you ever find a time where you've run out of engaging content, use my go-to resources for content marketing inspiration. These include content curator and keyword tracking tools that help you find which content your audience is already seeking. 
  • Stay in the know: And if you're already tracking good sources, this will also come naturally. Be the first to update your audience on what's happening in your industry and emphasize how you're a thought leader. 
  • Extend an offer: Your newsletter is a great opportunity to give things away. Make your subscribers feel like they are part of something exclusive. 
  • Study & repeat: You don't always have to start from scratch. By looking over the last 5 to 6 newsletters' you've sent and studying which content received clicks, you will know what your audience prefers. That way you can both hunt for and produce content they'll like. 

Successful email marketing down to staying vigilant about who you're talking to, what you hope comes out of this interaction and making sure your audience is benefitting. Still feeling stumped with your email newsletter marketing? Take a look at our resources or message us with questions. 

Topics: Marketing Strategy, Tuesday Tip, Email Marketing, Digital

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