Imagine a world where every email newsletter you sent out directly impacted the results of your organization.
A world where open rates are high, readers are interested, and each new send resulted in more calls, more donations, and more people signing up to support your cause.
It’s closer than you may think…
If you’re already sending an email newsletter for your organization, you’ve hopefully seen how rewarding effective email newsletters can be.
And while you may have room for improvement, with a few simple tweaks you could soon be on your way to better email marketing results.
These five features can serve as a guideline for your own email marketing and help to identify areas where you can make improvements.
1. Effective Email Newsletters are Relevant
People have gotten incredibly efficient at filtering out messages that aren’t relevant to them. Think about your own experience. If you’re like most people, you scroll through your inbox, ignoring a great deal of the information you see, until something pops up and catches your attention.
If you want people to open and engage with your email newsletter, you need to make sure the information resonates with them. This starts with the subject line you use to hook them in, and should also be reflected in the content and images you decide to include.
Before you hit send, ask yourself — is this information my audience will care about? If you can’t answer with a definite YES, you have more work to do.
2. Effective Email Newsletters are Useful
Relevancy will draw people in and open them up to receiving your messages. Usefulness will keep them coming back, and inspire them to continue to pay attention each time your name shows up in their inbox.
In most cases, a useful email newsletter will simply provide your reader with relevant information that they didn’t have before. A well-timed message about an upcoming event or new development can go a long way in keeping your audience engaged.
In addition to the content you create, you can also look to share content from outside sources that you think your audience would enjoy. This will help position your newsletter as a go-to resource for helpful information that people won’t want to miss.
3. Effective Email Newsletters are Readable
53 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device. If you’re not designing your newsletter with mobile in mind, you could already be making it difficult for a growing number of your subscribers to read and engage with your content.
Creating mobile-friendly emails starts by choosing the right email template. Using a single column template will make your content much more accommodating for all screen sizes.
You also want to think about the amount of content you include. Constant Contact recently analyzed 2.1 million Constant Contact customer emails, and found that — with some industry-specific exceptions — emails with three or fewer images and approximately 20 lines of text result in the highest click-through rates from email subscribers.
4. Effective Email Newsletters are Consistent
Consistency is important — both in the look and feel of your messages, and in the frequency that you communicate with your list.
How often you send out emails will depend on your organization and the type of information you want to share. At a minimum, you should be reaching out to your audience at least once a month so that you can stay top of mind.
You’ll also want to think about when to send your message. In a recent analysis of nonprofit emails, Constant Contact found that organizations saw the highest open rates on Monday mornings.
You can test different days and times, and use your email reports to track your results. Once you determine the times that get you the highest open rates, stick with it. Over time, people will start to anticipate your newsletter and will be more likely to click to open.
5. Effective Email Newsletters are Actionable
Every email newsletter should include an action you want people to take.
Sometimes this will be something simple — like to visit your website or blog to learn more. But you also want to drive people to take more meaningful actions — like making a donation, signing up to volunteer, or getting involved in an upcoming event.
When you sit down to create your next email newsletter, think about the most important action you want people to take. Tell your readers what you want them to do, and make it really easy for them to do it.
Don’t be afraid to start small
When done right, your email newsletter will become one of your most valuable tools for reaching the people who matter most to your organization.
Don’t be afraid to start small. Focus on one area of your newsletter you’d like to improve on this month. Try it out and see how your audience responds. With each new improvement you should see more opens, higher click-through rates, and more meaningful results for your organization.