Right now, there are probably a hundred thousand people hovering over the ‘unsubscribe’ button. If you’re considering starting (or improving) your email marketing newsletter, this isn’t mean to scare you off, but simply to put things into perspective.

Newsletters have bombarded and seriously spammed our inboxes, with brands thrusting special offers, updates and discount codes in your face via the smartphone in everyone’s pocket. So, how do you stand out? Is it even worth embarking on a newsletter that keeps your audience up to date? It sure is, but consider the following:

Live or Die by the Subject Line

It doesn’t matter what the body of your newsletter is, you need to absolutely nail the subject line. Because just because it lands in someone’s inbox doesn’t mean it’s going to be opened. No, you have to work a little harder than that. This is where a wordsmith is essential, someone on your team who has a great wit or way with words, this is where they need to shine in about ten words or fewer. Make it funny, make it cheeky, make it with an emoji or two, or simply make it memorable. Whatever way you do it, you should agonise over the subject line way more than any other element.

Few Words (or Less)

Keep it brief. You might feel like you need to hit the point home or give as much enticing information as possible, but often it’s the less said the better approach that works best. If you can say it in fewer words, you should.

Your Shop Window

Think about it – a newsletter into someone’s inbox is akin to walking by a store and being enticed by the shopfront or what’s in the window. It’s a suggestion and an attention-grabbing insight into what’s housed in-store. A busy-looking shop window that’s all over the place and has no clear vision won’t inspire someone to go inside, but a beautifully designed, well thought-through department store street-facing installation will always get people interested. The dressing on the window is really greater than the sum of its parts, so it’s less about what you say and more about how you showcase it.

Eye for Design

Consider Lots of white space (which the publishing industry lives for), eye-catching visuals will help sell the point that lines and lines of text. Everyone’s attention span is seconds, especially where a marketing email or newsletter is concerned, so you need to be visually easy to digest. Minimal, monochrome or Millennial pink, these can all work to your favour. Or, go the complete opposite way, use flashing graphics, embedded gifs or bright, crazy colours to get eyes on the prize!

Call. To. Action.

You also need to be clear on a call to action. What action do you want the reader to take? Don’t expect to link to 15 different pieces of content and hope one of them lands a lucrative click, zone in on the message for this particular mail-out. Do you want them to ‘shop all’ on your newly-launched sale range? Do you want them to tweet out a message in support of signing a petition? Do you want to fill their day with happiness and share something meaningful, cute or funny just to grab attention? Be clear with what the point of the email is… and what you expect in return in terms of clicks or action.

Consider a Niche

Think about the industry you operate in. You probably subscribe to some of your competitor’s mails and it may have even inspired you to get a piece of the action. But industries cannot sustain endless marketing-fuelled email newsletters of the same ilk, so stand out by being different. Consider a niche – Buzzfeed has newsletters aplenty, but one of their weekly ones is all about cats. Now, cat lovers will be all over that and it hits on that captive audience brilliantly. So think like that, try tailor a list to a certain niche for maximum impact.

Ear to the Ground, Check your Frequency

How often are you going to send mails? Some brands send them daily, which is annoying but people still subscribe and still click in to every couple of mails for different reasons. This is a risk, but in those brands’ minds it’s worthwhile. Maybe you won’t send out mails daily, but is monthly enough? Will people be that interested if it’s only a once a month thing? Weekly could be better, but will you have enough content to share? Think about your frequency.

Don’t Strive for Perfection

You won’t get a 100% open rate and certainly won’t get a 100% click-through rate, so don’t aim for that. Aim for something more specific and direct. This is only one newsletter, not a PHD on a tricky subject, so you can allow yourself to be imperfect. Instead of focusing on the numbers in the background, make each newsletter the best, most fully realized it can be.


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