The Anatomy of a Perfect Newsletter
When it comes to creating a newsletter, “Done is better than perfect.” – Sheryl Sandberg
The internet is littered with blog posts sharing this article’s title. Everyone wants to know what makes a newsletter perfect. And most people share this trait with our clients: they won’t start until they know they can create and send perfect emails.
Today we’re going to share a little-known secret with you:
There’s no such thing as a perfect newsletter.
There are good newsletters. There are great newsletters. And (of course) there are truly terrible newsletters. Curse you SPAMMERS!
But there are fewer terrible emails than you’d imagine. Anyone can write a newsletter with a few basic tools. And here they are:
4 Keys to Great Newsletters
1. Write your Newsletter clearly
The very best way to ruin your email marketing – or any marketing you do … or even any relationship at all, really – is poor communication. When your newsletter looks slapped together, your readers will get the impression that you don’t really care what they think. Which means you don’t really care about them.
People buy from people they know, like, and trust. No one will take the time to get to know someone who doesn’t care about them.
Show you care by making sure you get these fundamentals right:
- Spelling – there’s really no excuse for poor spelling. Every tool we use has a built-in spell check. Use it! Better yet, download Grammarly’s free Google Chrome extension and never make another spelling or grammar error again! Which brings us to …
- Grammar – sometimes you can spell something right … and still be totally wrong. Yes, their IS spelled t – h – e – i – r. But when you say “the book is over their” in a sentence, you look pretty silly. The web is bursting with great resources for getting this right, including the aforementioned (and totally awesome) Grammarly extension. If you have even the slightest ounce of doubt, run your sentence through one of the tools, look it up on one of the websites, or ask a professional proofreader to give it a once-over. (We have a very reasonably-priced tame proofreader in stock if you need any help!)
- Be human – you’re a person. You’re writing to people. Be human. So often, we think that writing every word in our vocabulary, and using the most convoluted sentence structure since the King James Bible was authorised in the 1600s, makes us sound smart. It doesn’t. It makes us sound pompous. If you find yourself aligning your synergistic strategies … you’re going off course. Stop. Breathe. Write like you speak. And be a person.
- Logical flow – We’ll look at flow in more depth in just a bit, but it’s good to keep it in mind from the start. Know what you’re going to say, and build up to it logically.
2. Have a goal in mind
Know where you’re headed. Before you start composing your newsletter, decide what you want your readers to do as a result of the email.
- One goal per newsletter – the more things you ask your readers to do, the fewer they’ll do. If you have just one call to action in your email, and no clickable links, your potential conversion rate (how many people do the thing you want them to do) can increase by up to 42%.
- Get to the point – Most of us (including the Mind Map Marketing team) love to set the scene when we write. Even this article has a couple of lines in the opening that provide a little context to the piece. Here’s the thing: warm up text is often a waste. None of us has much time available. If we spend any of it on your content, we want to know – as soon as possible – that it’s worth the investment. Don’t be scared to tell your readers – up front – why they are reading what you’re writing.
- Don’t waffle – Again, get to the point. In the next section, we’ll look at a concise sequence for sharing your message without wasting time waffling.
Engaging written material should flow. It should move smoothly from beginning to end, drawing the reader’s attention with it. We use FLOW as an acronym to remind us of the most important elements in each email we create for our clients (and ourselves):
- Flag them down – grab your readers’ attention with a well-crafted headline.
- Lead them into the second paragraph – the whole point of the first paragraph is to pique the reader’s interest to the point that they want to read the second paragraph.
- Onward to the third – paragraph two will contain the bulk of your message and should encourage readers to go on to paragraph three.
- Win them over – the last paragraph leads to the call to action, and should persuade your readers to take the action you want them to take.
Finally, tell your readers what you want them to do. Whether it’s clicking a link, replying to a question, or some other goal you have in mind, make it easy. And make sure there’s just one call to action per email if you possibly can.
Types of emails
Email marketing is one of the most effective tools in any marketer’s arsenal. Part of the reason for this is that it is versatile, and can serve a number of different roles.
Some of the most common examples include:
- Sales emails – essentially, this is cold calling. Sales emails allow you to introduce your solutions to the people who need it.
- Relationship-building emails – regular emails that consistently offer value to your readers will build your readers’ trust in the solutions you offer, and your ability to deliver them.
- Sales funnels – email marketing can be used effectively to guide readers along the path from prospect to raving fan. Modern marketing technology allows these funnels to be automated. Since over 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns, rather than one-size-fits-all campaigns, and automated email campaigns account for 21% of email marketing revenue, it makes sense to use it well for this purpose. (Read more about this here.)
Are you using email marketing as effectively as you could? If you need help setting up and running your email marketing campaigns, drop us a line. We’d love to help.